SEALs slam Obama for using them as ‘ammunition’ in bid to take credit for bin Laden killing during election campaign
By TOBY HARNDEN
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.
Besides the ad, the White House is marking the first anniversary of the SEAL Team Six raid that killed bin Laden inside his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan with a series of briefings and an NBC interview in the Situation Room designed to highlight the ‘gutsy call’ made by the President.
Mr Obama used a news conference today to trumpet his personal role and imply that his Republican opponent Mr Romney, who in 2008 expressed reservations about the wisdom of sending troops into Pakistan, would have let bin Laden live.
‘I said that I'd go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did,’ Mr Obama said. ‘If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they'd do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it.’
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.’
Mr Obama has faced criticism even from allies about his decision to make a campaign ad about the bin Laden raid. Arianna Huffington, an outspoken liberal who runs the left-leaning Huffington Post website, roundly condemned it.
She told CBS: ‘We should celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It's one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room... all that to me is perfectly legitimate, but to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.’
Campaigning in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mr Romney responded to a shouted question by a reporter by saying: ‘Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.’
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.’
Continued. . .
Senior military figures have said that Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL who was then head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the decision to take bin Laden out. Tactical decisions were delegated even further down the chain of command.
Mr Kyle added: ‘He's trying to say that Romney wouldn't have made the same call? Anyone who is patriotic to this country would have made that exact call, Democrat or Republican. Obama is taking more credit than he is due but it's going to get him some pretty good mileage.’
A former intelligence official who was serving in the US government when bin Laden was killed said that the Obama administration knew about the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts in October 2010 but delayed taking action and risked letting him escape.
‘In the end, Obama was forced to make a decision and do it. He knew that if he didn’t do it the political risks in not taking action were huge. Mitt Romney would have made the call but he would have made it earlier – as would George W. Bush.’
Brandon Webb, a former SEAL who spent 13 years on active duty and served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: ‘Bush should get partial credit for putting the system in place.
‘Obama inherited a very robust package with regards to special ops and the intelligence community. But Obama deserves credit because he got bin Laden – you can’t take that away from him.
‘My friends that work in Special Operations Command (SOCOM) that have been on video teleconferences with Obama on these kill or capture situations say that Obama has no issue whatsoever with making decisions and typically it's kill. He’s hitting the kill button every time. I have a lot of respect for him for that.’
But he said that many SEALs were dismayed about the amount of publicity the Obama administration had generated about SEAL Team Six, the very existence of which is highly classified.
‘The majority of the SEALs I know are really proud of the operation but it does become “OK, enough is enough – we’re ready to get back to work and step out of the limelight.” They don’t want to be continuously paraded around a global audience like a show dog.
‘Obama has a very good relationship with the Special Operations community at large, especially the SEALs, and it’s nice to see. We had the same relationship with George W. Bush when he was president.’
It was ‘stretching a little much’ for Mr Obama to suggest only he would have made the decision. ‘I personally I don't think Romney would have any problem making tough decisions. He got a very accomplished record of making decision as a business professional.
‘He may not have charisma but he clearly has leadership skills. I don’t think he'd have any problem taking that decision.’
Clint Bruce, who gave up the chance of an NFL career to serve as a SEAL officer before retiring as a lieutenant after nine years, said: ‘We were extremely surprised and discouraged by the publicity because it compromises the ability of those guys to operate.
‘It’s a waste of time to speculate about who would and wouldn’t have made that decision. It was a symphony of opportunity and intelligence that allowed this administration to give the green light. We want to acknowledge that they made that decision.
‘Politicians should let the public know where they stand on national security but not in the play-by-play, detailed way that has been done recently. The intricacies of national security should not become part of stump speeches.’
Linda, how many times have I stated that Barack Hussein Obama HAS NO SHAME? a SOCIOPATH never experiences shame because they don't care about anything or anyone but themselves. As Obama lives and breathes he demonstrates more and more what a narcissist he is and by golly if he needs to use the death of Bin Laden to enhance his troubled campaign for re-election that's exactly what he'll do.
Intelligent people will not vote to re-elect Obama in November.
Yesterday I read a comment from a Care2 member in regard to bin Laden and the Navy Seal Team 6 in which the person actually named the name of the "sniper" that killed bin Laden.
I would like to address this if I might. First, people need to realize that when they hear Seal Team 6, it is not a simple unit of so many members; it is a larger group of which they can select unit-sized contingencies to go out on a mission.
Second, there is no indication that bin Laden was killed by a sniper; in fact the account of the mission said that seals entered the room behind bin Laden as he was first seen outside of his room. When they encountered him in the room, he was hiding behind two of his wives; one started to berate the Seals in Arabic and she became hostile and was shot in the leg or foot; the Seals then moved both women away from him and he was shot first in the chest and then the head. They found both a rifle and a hand gone close to him but he was not able to get to them before he was shot. It will never be revealed who actually shot him.
People need to realize that active members of the Navy Seals do not make known that they are members of this group and their names will never be released due to the fact that that their identity must be protected for the integrity of their work (mission). I sincerely doubt that we will ever know the identity of the actualy man/men that shot bin Laden simply for their own protection. Think, people, what do you think would happen to a man if he were to make know that he killed bin Laden? His life and that of his family would be open season for Islamic extremists, not to mention any crazy person that would like the notoriety of killing him. The al Quaeda and other terrorists would hunt him down and eliminate him and probably his entire family.
So I sincerely doubt that anyone knows or will ever know the actual identity of the person/persons that fired those shots. Very likely we will never know the identy of the actual members of that mission, as well.
Obama will say or do anything to get re-elected. His moral compass is broken.
Romney in 2007 on whether he’d reserve the right to go after Bin Laden in Pakistan: “Of course…[but] we keep our options quiet”
April 29, 2012 by Morgen Richmond
Robert Gibbs is the latest member of the President’s re-election team to distort comments Mitt Romney made about going after Bin Laden in 2007. Via Politico:
Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs on Sunday defended the suggestion by the president’s reelection campaign that Republican rival Mitt Romney might not have ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
“Look, just a few years ago, President Obama – then a candidate – said in a speech that if we had actionable intelligence of a high-value target in Pakistan, we’d go in and get that high value target,” Gibbs said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Mitt Romney said that was foolish. He wouldn’t do such a thing. That he wouldn’t move heaven and earth to get Osama bin Laden.”
Gibbs and other Democrats have focused on comments made by Romney in April 2007, where he said “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person”. The full context of Romney’s remarks demonstrate that he was actually calling for a more strategic and expansive approach in the fight against Al Qaeda and Islamic extremism. And that the ongoing effort to capture or kill Bin Laden should not be to the detriment of the larger goals.
But there is no reason for Romney’s accusers in the Obama campaign to parse over his words from April 2007. It turns out Romney was asked directly about this very scenario in the first Republican presidential debate in August 2007. Now I wonder why they haven’t highlighted this?
Sandy, thank you for sharing this article. It substantiates exactly what Mitt Romney said on CBS Morning Show this morning; Obama is already on the smear campaign trail and that didn't work for Kerry, it didn't work for Al Gore and it won't work for him; he is a one term president.
I agree with all of your posts. Do you remember the Post I wrote about Obama's Commercials? I had stated that he is using this killing of OBL as political fodder and getting away with it in the lame stream media.
When a commercial came out by the GOP in 2004 when Bush was running for his second term showing him very pensive looking out the plane window on this way back to D.C. after 911 the press jumped all over him for politicizing the attack. The GOP pulled it, shame on them.
It was an excellent photo shoot of how he felt at that moment and many moments after that.
Yes, Obama is a one termer because the blue states will turn red. A landslide, no less.
Anita, Linda and Diane I hope you're right. Obama loses!
And I am laughing my BUTT off as this is the first I'm seeing this, but I has one lame brain lib on care two this morning who made the DUMB statement to the effect that it wouldn't have been Romney's decision if he was put in charge of that call it was Obama who was in charge.
Well, I more or less lambasted her saying that it was not either of them that were in Pakistant and putting their lives at risk. The whole deal could have been a booby trap but with the seals and their immediate superiors and backers, they were able to secure a way to sneak in and make the kill and all they had to do with Obama was to clear it, but of course they knew what he would say, as any President we've ever had would say GO TO IT. Now that I'm reading this, I just feel so good to see that it worked out exactly that way and that the SEALS are ticked off now because they are feeling like that they've been used as scapegoats, or as they say "ammunition" for a campaign. And I'd sure like to know what that SECRET is that will ultimately be coming out. It will likely be a real doozy. Whooopppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Should Obama politicise Bin Laden's death?
President Barack Obama is being accused by opponents of making political capital out of the killing of Osama Bin Laden a year ago.
That's not surprising - he is indeed making a big deal out of it.
The question is whether doing so is distasteful and whether his campaign is politicising something that should be above politics.
Vice-President Joe Biden says a bumper sticker slogan to sum up the four years could read: "Bin Laden is dead. General Motors is alive."
There is no doubt the death of America's Most Wanted is being used as an essential backdrop to Mr Obama's re-election campaign.
His team won't allow anyone to run away with the idea that the Navy Seals raid was the inevitable result of obvious decisions taken by shadowy figures within the administration.
Instead, they hammer home the view that the president made a courageous and difficult call, going against the advice of many of those around him.
This is pushed explicitly in a new campaign video narrated by Bill Clinton.
There have been several detailed insider accounts which support the idea of a tough and risky decision-maker at the top.
It is certainly true that had the raid gone wrong the political fall-out would have been huge.
This post was modified from its original form on 03 May, 8:19