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SEALs Swift Boating Obama?

Some Navy SEALs are weighing in on the brouhaha over President Obama’s campaigning on the raid that got bin Laden.

Toby Harnden reports (“SEALs slam Obama for using them as ‘ammunition’ in bid to take credit for bin Laden killing during election campaign“):

Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign.

The SEALs spoke out to MailOnline after the Obama campaign released an ad entitled ‘One Chance’. In it President Bill Clinton is featured saying that Mr Obama took ‘the harder and the more honourable path’ in ordering that bin Laden be killed. The words ‘Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?’ are then displayed.

[...]

Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call. ‘I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice – it was a broader team effort.’

Mr Zinke, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that MR Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid. ‘The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.’

[...]

A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart. ’But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’

Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: ‘The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it. ’But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot. ’In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.’

There are many more examples in Harnden’s piece, almost all former rather than serving SEALs.

Michael Hastings wonders, “Will The Navy SEALs Swift Boat Obama?

What was supposed to be an easy win—a victory lap on the anniversary of Bin Laden’s death, trumping up the president’s most militant moment—appeared to be slipping away.

The frustration—or, even anger—within the SEAL community is real, and has been brewing for months, particularly among a politically conservative core of operators. It started immediately after the raid, with questions among the Special Forces and intelligence community of whether the president should have waited to announce the kill to exploit the intelligence cache at Osama’s compound. It simmered after a Chinook helicopter was shot down, killing 30 Americans, 22 of them Navy SEALs from Team Six.

Was it a coincidence, SEALs asked themselves, catastrophe hit Team Six so soon after being named as the team responsible for the killing? [Almost certainly. -jhj]

[...]

Over the past few days, I’ve reached out to a number of SEALs, both active duty and former. Most active duty SEALs were reluctant to go on the record venting or praising their boss, but one of the most interesting responses I received from an operator was to direct me to Leif Babin, a SEAL who left active duty last year.

Babin, who runs the consulting firm Echelon Front, wrote a little noticed op-ed in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal four months ago. The headline: OBAMA EXPLOITS THE NAVY SEALS. Babin took aim at “the president and his advisors, writing: “It is infuriating to see political gain put above the safety and security of our brave warriors and our long-term strategic goals.”

While I think the Swift Boaters ultimately made some charges that stuck–namely those about John Kerry’s anti-war activities after coming back from Vietnam–I thought their initial attacks and general disregard for the truth were slimy and libelous. While I opposed Kerry’s election as president, he served honorably and heroically in service of his country and lies to the contrary were outrageous.

In this initial volley, at least, the former SEALs pushing back on Obama here aren’t engaged in anything of that sort. While I don’t think the attention given to SEAL Team Six (or DEVGRU, or whatever name they’re going by these days) actually put men’s lives in danger, I understand enough about the culture to believe the concerns genuine.

Nor, for that matter, do I see Obama touting his own command decision to order the raid as in any way claiming personal credit for the physical courage and tactical competence of the operators. Sure, he’s hoping some of that attaches to him, but the real point is to disprove the “3 o’clock” thesis that Hillary Clinton trotted out in 2008, variants of which John McCain and other Republicans have used. Obama is just saying that he’s got the balls to be a wartime commander-in-chief. But, again, I can see why a number of SEALs would take umbrage.

And, it should be noted, SEALs are, like most in the combat arms community, a Republican-leaning group. So they’re likelier to be annoyed when a Democrat is seen as taking a victory lap than when a Republican does the same thing.

Whether this “SEALs against Obama” thing is a one-day story or one that’ll have legs, I haven’t the foggiest–although my guess is that it’s closer to the former. But the Republicans clearly see this as an issue worth flogging some more.

Bush attorney general Michael Mukasey takes to WSJ’s editorial pages. It begins with a cheap misreading of the mission orders that others have employed, claiming that “if the mission went wrong, the fault would be Adm. McRaven’s, not the president’s.” That’s both silly and outrageous. But this much is reasonable:

Abraham Lincoln, on the night after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender ended the Civil War, delivered from the window of the White House a speech that mentioned his own achievements not at all, but instead looked forward to the difficulties of reconstruction and called for black suffrage—a call that would doom him because the audience outside the White House included a man who muttered that Lincoln had just delivered his last speech. It was John Wilkes Booth.

The man from whom President Obama has sought incessantly to distance himself, George W. Bush, also had occasion during his presidency to announce to the nation a triumph of intelligence: the capture of Saddam Hussein. He called that success “a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq.” He attributed it to “the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator’s footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers. . . . Their work continues, and so do the risks.”

He did mention himself at the end: “Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate them.”

That is not to say that great leaders, including presidents, have not placed themselves at the center of great events. But generally it has been to accept responsibility for failure.

Lincoln took responsibility in August 1862 for failures that had been attributed to General George McClellan—eventually sacked for incompetence—and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Lincoln told a crowd that McClellan was not at fault for seeking more than Stanton could give, and “I stand here, as justice requires me to do, to take upon myself what has been charged upon the Secretary of War.”

Dwight Eisenhower is famous for having penned a statement to be issued in anticipation of the failure of the Normandy invasion that reads in relevant part: “My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

A week later, when the success of the invasion was apparent, Eisenhower saluted the Allied Expeditionary Forces: “One week ago this morning there was established through your coordinated efforts our first foothold in northwestern Europe. High as was my preinvasion confidence in your courage, skill and effectiveness . . . your accomplishments . . . have exceeded my brightest hopes.

Eisenhower did mention himself at the end: “I truly congratulate you upon a brilliantly successful beginning. . . . Liberty loving people everywhere would today like to join me in saying to you, ‘I am proud of you.'”

The man who lost the presidency to Obama in 2008 was more succinct, if perhaps lacking in self-awareness*:

I’ve had the great honor of serving in the company of heroes.  And, you know the thing about heroes, they don’t brag.

That, to me, is the real story here. While I’ve criticized President Obama for spiking the football on killing bin Laden and questioned whether giving the GO order on the bin Laden raid was as risky as claimed, I simply think Obama is misplaying his hand. It’s unseemly, not outrageous. And mostly unnecessary; to the extent foreign policy is a factor in this election, Obama is likely the beneficiary.

Still, I’m not sure the Eisenhower comparison, in particular, is fair. Obama is a politician running for re-election, not a general. And it’s 2012, not 1944. The 24/7/365 battle for public opinion is a new phenomenon and, while I don’t approve, I at least understand why Team Obama is trying to remind people of his role in the bin Laden op.

And, yes, while Bush played the Saddam capture perfectly, he clearly overplayed the whole “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”** thing in prematurely declaring the end of major combat operations in Iraq. My recollection is that Bush Senior was reluctant to play up the Desert Storm victory, seeing it as unseemly, but I could be mistaken; it’s been a long time. Then again, he lost his re-election bid.

__________

*In fairness, John McCain showed the traditional reluctance to brag about his war hero status until late in the 2008 race, at which point desperation seems to have set in.

**Until it came up in discussion the other day, I had believed the initial story, that the banner was put up by the sailors of the LINCOLN in recognition of the end of their tour.  That’s almost certainly not the case.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Paul L. says:

    I thought their initial attacks and general disregard for the truth were slimy and libelous.

    Such as?
    Of course, the Swiftvets were debunked after John Kerry released his full Military Records.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  2. Jen says:

    Killing bin Laden might have been a “no-brainer,” but leaving Pakistan–a “key ally in the war on terror” according to Bush and many others–out of the loop certainly was a gutsy call. And no, I don’t think it’s a given that any President would have made a similar decision.

    Does it look easy in hindsight? Yes. But this very easily could have gone very badly.

    It seems to me that there are a lot of people who feel that they “owned” the war on terror issue who are now loathe to give the President any credit at all for this. It’d be nice if we could all just say “awesome job to all involved,” and move on and not politicize the issue. I’ll go clean out my pet unicorn’s stable now.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  3. anjin-san says:

    Republicans have tried to attack Obama on his record, and largely failed. Faux outrage du jour and swift boat attacks are a logical next step.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 4

  4. Andy says:

    A very good post James, I think you highlighted the important issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  5. mantis says:

    I see the Swift Boat dead-enders are on the case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  6. @Jen:

    Pakistan–a “key ally in the war on terror” according to Bush

    Of course, he never said exactly whose key ally they were.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  7. Chad S says:

    McCain brags about his time/sacrifice in Vietnam(which happened long before 2008 btw) to be criticizing anyone over it. He based his congressional campaigns on his service in war.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  8. PD Shaw says:

    What Lincoln said:

    I myself was near the front, and had the high pleasure of transmitting much of the good news to you; but no part of the honor, for plan or execution, is mine. To Gen. Grant, his skilful officers, and brave men, all belongs.

    Of course Grant would later give much honor to Lincoln’s role in his memoirs, as would historians. A strong dose of modesty often produces a sympathetic chord of disbelief. Its a nice tactic.

    What strikes me about the comparison though is that nobody is sure if killing OBL means anything, the war appears to continue without end; this is not April of 1865 of May of 1945 when people storm the streets knowing the end is at hand. Killing OBL is more like killing John Wilkes Booth, it was necessary chore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  9. al-Ameda says:

    Here we are again ready to happily Swift Boat our way through another election campaign.

    Again, it seems very relevant to ask: If the mission had failed, would those guys have been blaming their fellow Seal Team members, or the President?

    This country has become profoundly dumbed down.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 3

  10. anjin-san says:

    nobody is sure if killing OBL means anything

    Speak for yourself. I am quite sure it brings a measure of justice for the Americans he murdered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  11. Vast Variety says:

    You have to admit that if the whole thing had gone south Republicans would be holding Obama’s feet to fire over it right not. The whole idea that he shouldn’t get any credit at all for it since it succeeded while potentially taking all the blame for it if it had failed is off kilter if you ask me. But i suppose it’s par for the course in Washington.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  12. Hey Norm says:

    Bottom line…those that failed to get Bin Laden are really po’ed that Obama had the audacity to actually get Bin Laden.

    “…In fairness, John McCain showed the traditional reluctance to brag about his war hero status until late in the 2008 race…”

    Huh? WTF? McCain has made a living off his record. He has suckled at the teat of the Government for decades on the alleged strength of his record. It was his own account in Newsweek that kicked off his career. His ’99 biography “Faith of my Fathers” was nothing but bragging through a paid surrogate in order to set up his 2000 run for President. To now claim that heroes don’t brag is the height of ironicalness.
    Additionally Romney made this issue fair game when he criticised Obama’s position in the campaign of ’08. They made a point of hammering Obama on it. Now they don’t like the taste of their own words.
    SEALS? I admire and respect them, but they are not politicians. And they would not have taken the blame had it all gone South.
    As Sullivan said:

    “…If Bush had done it, he would have jumped out of a helicopter in a jump-suit with fireworks…”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 3

  13. Jeremy R says:

    I like how both that British Tabloid’s current Seal source and Mukasey seem to be working off of that ridiculous Brietbart memo article that’s completely contradicted by on the record statements from the top military brass involved. It both demonstrates the reach of fringe wingnut media BS and the types of places the Daily Mail likely trawled for that source (ex: hmmm let’s reach out to everyone on freerepublic who indicates they’re currently serving).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  14. Scott says:

    Good balanced post. However, I suspect that there was going to be a Swift Boat-like attack on Obama. The Obama camp knew that and preferred to control its own narrative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  15. Herb says:

    The only time to worry about a soldier is when he’s not bitching. At least that’s what Nick Nolte said in The Thin Red Line.

    I think you’re right that this will blow over. It won’t be the one-year anniversary of the mission forever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  16. One wonders why “I got Bin Laden” could not have quietly accepted, why the conversation could not move on. It was done and done. If it was no big, that is an answer in itself.

    Where I see “Swift Boating” is that the right can’t just give it a rest. They are driving the conversation, perversely focusing on why no credit (or in the most “reasoned” swift boat attacks, “minimal” credit) should be given.

    As someone who isn’t terribly motivated by politics this month, it’s the kind of thing that just makes me feel tired all over.

    I could ask why commentators focus essays on things they insist are not important … but I guess that’s one of the purposes of the internets. We should all focus on the unimportant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  17. (IOW James, you may say Obama misplayed the campaign ad, but you might ask yourself how much blowback and cynicism attacks on it will generate.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  18. gVOR08 says:

    Whether this “SEALs against Obama” thing is a one-day story or one that’ll have legs, I haven’t the foggiest–although my guess is that it’s closer to the former. But the Republicans clearly see this as an issue worth flogging some more.

    Some Republican money will be finding its way to anyone who can claim to have ever been a SEAL, or ever overheard a SEAL, who is willing to say bad things about Obama. My guess is it will be closer to the latter. It may not stick, but I doubt it will go away anytime soon.

    On the subject of McCain, does everybody know that George McGovern was a decorated WWII bomber pilot? Few people knew when he ran for Prez. Why, because McGovern didn’t talk about it. McCain just talks about not talking about his POW record. Frequently.

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  19. Wayne says:

    Next, we will see NFL owners running out onto the field and doing end zone dances and spiking the football after one of their team players scores a touchdown. Same concept and liberals would probably be fine with it if the owners did unless it happen against their team.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 26

  20. @Jeremy R: I am trying to figure out how exactly someone at the Daily Mail proves someone they are talking to is a member (current of former) of the SEALs. Frankly, this is the first thing that popped into my head:
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/rate-of-uninformed-conversations-about-navy-seals,20371/

    And what exactly is the threshold for someone who is actively serving getting in trouble for these types of comments?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  21. al-Ameda says:

    @Wayne:

    Next, we will see NFL owners running out onto the field and doing end zone dances and spiking the football after one of their team players scores a touchdown. Same concept and liberals would probably be fine with it if the owners did unless it happen against their team.

    I’m surprised that the same conservative crew that applauded the “Mission Accomplished” extravaganza, sees what Obama has done here as somehow upstaging THAT.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  22. Hey Norm says:

    “…Same concept…”
    What planet do you live on?
    It’s not even remotely the same thing.
    It’s apples and chimpanzees.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  23. mantis says:

    @Wayne:

    Next, we will see NFL owners running out onto the field and doing end zone dances and spiking the football after one of their team players scores a touchdown. Same concept and liberals would probably be fine with it if the owners did unless it happen against their team.

    Yeah, if only Obama had the humility and grace to land on an aircraft carrier in full military uniform and declare an end to the War on Terror.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  24. Moosebreath says:

    “Yeah, if only Obama had the humility and grace to land on an aircraft carrier in full military uniform and declare an end to the War on Terror.”

    And to have as a backdrop at his renominating convention a projection of the Twin Towers burning. Sheesh — is it too hard for people to remember the actions of the prior president?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  25. Nikki says:

    @Wayne: But you do see the owners when the their team wins the Super Bowl…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  26. Dazedandconfused says:

    It seems to me the “Mail Online” article by Toby Harden has all the negative things attributed to un-named “SEALS”, and sprinkles between them quotes from named SEALS which are not critical at all.

    I believe this is the same publication which spread the Egypt “sex after death” story. Mail Online appears to be producing Breitbart level material of late.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  27. the Q says:

    I love all the wingnuts with the “it doesn’t really matter that we killed OBL” response.

    Lets do one of those wavy screen, go back into time screen shots……imagine the night of 9-11 and every American going to sleep that night had the indelible images of the towers’ disintegration into dust and smoke fresh on our minds.

    Now think if a politician or pundit said on that night, “America, don’t worry about killing OBL he is meaningless in the war against terror.”

    What are the chances that this person would have been labelled a communist or muslim sympathizer or a blame America firster?

    I’d say the chances are 100% that this person would have been duly demonized as some kind of liberal pansy and hung in effigy and the ones leading the charge would be the same wingnuts in this thread now gainsaying the killing of OBL.under Obama’s command.

    Admit it hypocrites, ten years ago such thoughts would be apostasy to the wingnut base, yet now they cry a different tune, all in the name of blindly cheering for their “side”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  28. legion says:

    @Moosebreath: Seriously. If the GOP really wants to try and make this farce last longer than a single news cycle, sooner or later someone’s going to ask one of these so-called SEALs (I’m not convinced their sources are anything other than Breitbart wannabes):
    “So, what was your opinion when Bush used an aircraft carrier to trumpet ‘Mission Accomplished’? Did you mouth off about your sitting Commander-in-Chief back then? No? Then fuck you.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  29. PD Shaw says:

    @the Q: If your referring to me, why don’t you quote what I actually wrote and identify me by name. Otherwise, it makes you look kind of cowardly, castigating imaginary wingnuts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  30. the Q says:

    PD Shaw, please.

    “Castigating imaginary wingnuts”… oh, of course, they don’t exist, how foolish of me not to
    go back and tediously quote some of the comments verbatim from 10 years ago.

    Instead I will direct the reader to any of the recent threads here regarding this topic and the wingnuts debunking of the importance of killing OBL when that line of thinking on the night of 911 would have been met with universal derision by this same “wingnut” faction.

    And you are going to actually deny this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  31. @PD Shaw:

    As a casual reader, I’m amused that you think “it doesn’t really matter that we killed OBL” might apply to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  32. BTW, that meta-level thing is what I was talking about when I said “blowback and cynicism.”

    I mean, even if you think OKing the raid was no big, and that it gives Obama no great benefit, stop to consider how harping on it sounds.

    To name names, Wayne’s “next, we will see NFL owners running out onto the field and doing end zone dance…”

    To quote my favorite segment on SNL … Seriously?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  33. the Q says:

    On second thought PD, lets scrutinize your quote above, “Killing OBL is more like killing John Wilkes Booth, it was necessary chore.”

    If you would have uttered this sentiment on 9-12, even your fellow wingnuts would have questioned your sanity.. You would have been mistaken for some kind of 18 year old hippy liberal douchebag…soft on Muslim terror and perhaps someone to be “kept track of” by the citizen storm troopers in your neighborhood…or have you wingnuts forgotten just how insane and rabid you and your cohort were at the time….just ask the Dixie Chicks or Michael Moore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  34. PD Shaw says:

    @the Q: You specifically refered to “wingnuts in this thread now gainsaying the killing of OBL,” not wingnuts in various threads over time. But if you weren’t referring to my comment, then I have nothing to say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. PD Shaw says:

    Oh, so you are calling me a wingnut; why don’t you make up your mind?

    Hint: comparing OBL to John Wilkes Booth is not a complimentary comparison, nor does it imply any remorse at his death.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  36. mantis says:

    @the Q:

    even your fellow wingnuts….or have you wingnuts forgotten just how insane and rabid you and your cohort

    You shouldn’t be so quick to pigeonhole PD as a wingnut. This ain’t RedState, you know. In short, you’re out of bounds and attacking people without even knowing with whom you are talking.

    And I’m one of the resident liberals here, in case you were wondering.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  37. Vast Variety says:

    @Timothy Watson: They hack their phones?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  38. the Q says:

    OK, PD is only a wingnut on this thread. Everyone happy?

    Yes, Mantis and I am a liberal too, a much older one who has witnessed in the last 30 years a destruction of this society on the part of wingnuts who have decided to debase history, distort reality and engage in clever subterfuge against the very policies which made this society function pretty well for the vast middle class up until the great swindle of the supply siders and oligarchs.

    Sorry for any offense here, but it pales in comparison to the very real damage of this cohort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  39. Davebo says:

    A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart. ’But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’

    I’d give it less than a 10% chance the person that said this is a serving Seal. But if it really is he has some serious misconceptions of how things work. It could also reflect the damage done to our military over the past 12 years or so.

    Fortunately I don’t believe it, even from such a heralded news source as “The Mail”. An infamous stepping stone for serious journalists to the promised land of judging talent contests.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  40. anjin-san says:

    Next, we will see NFL owners running out onto the field and doing end zone dances and spiking the football after one of their team players scores a touchdown the President mugging on the deck of an aircraft carrier in a flight suit under a huge “mission accomplished” banner.

    Oh wait, we already saw that…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  41. mattb says:

    Seconding what Mantis said, I see nothing in PD’s comment that is particularly wingnutty.

    At best you could make something of “nobody is sure if killing OBL means anything” — however read in the larger context of what PD said, it’s clear he thinks that it means something symbolically (as did killing Booth). I suspect that PD was questioning the broader pragmatic effects of killing Bin Laden, as the damage wrought by the man was already done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  42. the Q says:

    Hey, read my scenario of saying these things on 9-12 and guess what the reaction would be from the wingnut camp at that time. Boy some of you sure miss the point of the hypocrisy of the right.

    Do any of you believe that conservatives would have taken a broader and rational view of such sentiments expressed on 9-12 as some of you do here or would they have been quick to condemn and crucify such sentiments as treasonous. Again, see Chicks, Dixie and Maher, Bill.

    Answer that much more important question before pedantically judging the “wingnuttiness” of one PD shaw comments for chrisssakes

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  43. Tsar Nicholas says:

    If I were part of Team Obama I would be hoping that a bunch of SEALs made it their business to try to “Swift Boat” the Prez. Every nanosecond that’s devoted to the bin Laden raid and related items is one fewer nanosecond that can be devoted to unemployment, layoffs, business failures, bankruptcies, foreclosures, short sales, gas prices and food prices. If Team Romney tries to run with the disgruntled SEAL football they’ll do Obama a huge favor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  44. giantslor says:

    I don’t think it’s at all unseemly to spotlight this issue on the anniversary of Bin Laden’s death.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  45. PD Shaw says:

    @mattb: My comment was made in the context of having just read the survey Professor Taylor posted on earlier: War on Terror not Over, Poll Finds. “Nobody” is sure of what killing OBL means. Its not an event comparable to Lee surrenduring at Appomatix or the succesful completion of the D-Day offensive, both of which signalled the end of the conflict was visible. The comparisons being made, which I readily entertain, are not quite apt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  46. MM says:

    @Dazedandconfused: Always remember that the Daily Mail is written with a specific purpose in mind. Namely, that the world is going to hell in a handbasket for white, working-class males mostly. and a significant reason the world is going to hell in a handbasket is due to people who are not white, working-class males.

    It’s not a tabloid, exactly but it’s designed to elicit a reaction from the reader as much as to inform.

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  47. the Q says:

    Hmmm,. you mean the unemployment rate which is lower than when Obama came in? Or do you mean the GDP which was negative for 6 consecutive quarters under the last 2 years of Bush, vs. the 11 straight quarters of POSITIVE growth under Obama? Or how he has made up the staggering 5 million layoffs (2% of the entire workforce) that occurred in bush’s last year?

    Or how about the Dow doubling under Obama’s rule from 6600 to 13000? And don’t forget corporate profits at an all time high.

    And the gas prices due to rampant market manipulations by speculators which the republican congress refuses to regulate? or the 21% reductions in foreclosures?

    I guess you mean all those “losing” issues that only idiots on the right would deem as “failures”

    And you wonder why you are called wingnuts?

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  48. the Q says:

    Sorry, the above post was directed at Tsar’s comments

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  49. Dazedandconfused says:

    @MM:

    Aye. Can always find a couple individuals in any organization who might say something like that. The SEALs are people too. Doesn’t mean a thing, but boy-oh-boy, that author sure wants us to think it does. A bit sneaky about it too.

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  50. ANGEL says:

    I had been in the military for over 7 years. Yes, the actual guys, the seals, did the deed but they did not order it. This sounds like a political hatchet job on the right. There is no doubt that Bush Jr. if he had been the president would had taken credit for the order as he should. If these are true Navy Seal squaking which I doubt, they need to keep thier big traps shut. There is no room for politicizing in the service and they know it. It is the civilian government that gives the order and the military that carries it out. We all know the lies of the Swift boaters that damage Kerry although I was not in favor of him for other reasons. Whether you like it or not military victories through out the history of the United States was always attributed to the standing President who gave the final order. So you so call Seals if you really true soldiers shut your trap and keep politics out of the military.

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  51. dennis says:

    My takeaway from the ad was not that Obama was bragging on getting OBL; I thought it was a contrasting answer to Romney’s and the rest of the political right wing’s accusations that Obama is weak on foreign policy.

    I must admit, I do cringe when Obama says, “I did [such and such] …” rather than “We did . . . ” But I think that is just a political calculation on his part to illustrate that he, as POTUS, takes responsibility for his decisions. What else would anyone expect the President to do in the face of blatant lies made by the right against him?

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  52. An Interested Party says:

    Sheesh — is it too hard for people to remember the actions of the prior president?

    Some people are working hard to erase George W. Bush from our collective memory…thankfully, there are plenty of other people who are quite happy to remind us of his disastrous presidency…

    “Nobody” is sure of what killing OBL means. Its not an event comparable to Lee surrenduring at Appomatix or the succesful completion of the D-Day offensive, both of which signalled the end of the conflict was visible. The comparisons being made, which I readily entertain, are not quite apt.

    Of course it isn’t comparable, as the “War on Terror” is not a conventional war like those other conflicts…much like the “War on Drugs” it is often a nebulous mess…

    I thought it was a contrasting answer to Romney’s and the rest of the political right wing’s accusations that Obama is weak on foreign policy.

    Indeed…he could have had a milquetoast response like a Kerry or a Dukakis, but he didn’t…hmm, maybe that’s why so many conservatives are pissed off with him…

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  53. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Paul L.: Sorry for coming a bit late to the conversation, but…

    Of course, the Swiftvets were debunked after John Kerry released his full Military Records.

    Just how were the Swift Vets debunked, and just when did John Kerry release his full military records? As I recall, he never released them publicly, but did to a select group of reporters — all friendly ones, including his pet biographer. But to the general public? Never.

    If you have a link showing where those records were posted, I’d be grateful.

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  54. Jenos Chinos says:

    Obama really sucks.

    Don’t try and argue with me libs, you are no match for my wit.

    I am off to do my “Victory over libs” dance, which is based on the famous “Icky Shuffle”.

    It’s amazing how cool I am.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  55. Barry says:

    @al-Ameda: Good point. And how many of these guys were criticizing Dubya? I would guess flat out f*ing none.

    It’s a standard thing where right-wing veterans lie about Democratic presidents, while going down on GOP presidents.

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  56. Brad Stone says:

    Just so you know, we love and support our service men and women. Can’t exactly say the same for our president.

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  57. mantis says:

    @Brad Stone:

    Just so you know, we love and support our service men and women. Can’t exactly say the same for our president.

    Oh really? Is that why Republicans want to cut veterans benefits?

    Just so you know, our president would veto any such attempt. Back under your rock.

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  58. borzoi says:

    some of of the derogatory info in unfit for command stuck and the book was just waiting for kerry lo those many years. The career military are kneejerk conservatives. Obama really had a concern about a potential obl mission’s failure casting him in the light jimmy carter faced after a similar iran hostage fiasco

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  59. Barry says:

    James: “And, it should be noted, SEALs are, like most in the combat arms community, a Republican-leaning group. So they’re likelier to be annoyed when a Democrat is seen as taking a victory lap than when a Republican does the same thing.”

    That’s all that it ever is, was and shall be – a bunch of Republicans sh*tting on a Democratic politician because they can, while kissing the *ss of any GOP politician, no matter how badly he screws up.

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  60. Barry says:

    James: “The man who lost the presidency to Obama in 2008 was more succinct, if perhaps lacking in self-awareness”

    McCain: “I’ve had the great honor of serving in the company of heroes. And, you know the thing about heroes, they don’t brag.”

    The man bragged through his entire career, shamelessly, while supporting every whackjob potential war that he ever heard of.

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  61. Barry says:

    @john personna: “One wonders why “I got Bin Laden” could not have quietly accepted, why the conversation could not move on. It was done and done. If it was no big, that is an answer in itself.

    Where I see “Swift Boating” is that the right can’t just give it a rest. They are driving the conversation, perversely focusing on why no credit (or in the most “reasoned” swift boat attacks, “minimal” credit) should be given.”

    Because it showed the right up. And, of course, they’re outraged to see Obama taking credit for it – that’s their perogative!!!!

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  62. Barry says:

    @Wayne: Congratulations for waking up from your coma; we’ll get you up to speed on cultural references. You can start by asking your hospital staff what the term ‘flight suit’ refers to, when discussing a president.

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  63. Stephen says:

    I don’t want to read the ignorant crap about the president. though anyone here is obliged to talk all the crap you want, because the thing is if “a SEAL” or a number of “SEAL’s” wants to pack up and call it quits – whine – distort what the president said by placing bow strings on words and trying to shoot arrows with them … whatever the case … the s**t is what lame people do.

    Maybe the SEAL’s should protest and refuse to swim rather than make themselves look like they talk the talk but love their suburban lives … too much to do anything but talk smack. The SEAL’s are made for all the wrong reasons, for instance they understand for the last 11 years – a handful of men can take over Afghanistan – they can’t do this in America and after seeing how it has been done for their AO’s – the SEAL’s have returned to biting the hand that fed them work …

    Maybe the fantasy is that they think they are KIng Leonidas’ “300” being pushed to the edge of the earth by a non Spartan – Xerxes

    Funny thing is Obama is more of a Greek than any of the last 1,2,3 … presidents and my stopping point was the tragedian president, John F. Kennedy. Which now fulfills a question: If the Bay of Pigs was a success, would’ve the CIA been angry if Kennedy said “The plan I approved was successful?”; with September 11, 1973 … who knew to support or criticize the president? When you have a new president – you lose the old one, BUSH was a family friend to the BIn Laden’s and I bet anyone a low down dirty Washingtonian dollar – defense contractors who run the DOD did not want Bush to catch a cold for the matter … but to keep making money for an active running war. The SEAL’s have a grudge – the grudge is the war is over, Bush didn’t win it – he boarded a helicopter and was like Elvis leaving the building, Obama caught Bin Laden and it was by way of his “King’s Men” … so simple even Einstein’s fart could make due rather than crapping out old Bushism’s about the new president.

    I like Obama and “his” SEAL’s – If you don’t like Obama and you don’t like being a SEAL … go become a terrorist or a pirate and have some SEAL’s blow your brains out.

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