Oh, we bad! Our big-boy president takes to trash-talking al Qaeda
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:56 AM ET
In his compelling and revealing new memoir, "Duty," former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates describes that tense evening in the White House situation room when the Obama crowd watched the assassination of Osama bin Laden real-time.
When the world's most wanted man had been popped, bagged and was enroute to the bottom of the Indian Ocean, the in-crowd rose to disperse. Obama would soon announce the news, igniting spontaneous street celebrations.
Gates worried about leaks of operational details revealing how Special Ops conducts such raids nightly in the world's deadliest corners. He asked everyone to promise to reveal nothing more of what they saw than the bare facts. We got him. He's dead. All raiders are safe. Everyone agreed.
"That lasted about five hours," Gates recalls sadly.
So intense was the Obama administration's need to gloat, brag, spike the football, chest-bump, end-zone dance that within hours officials, on background without identification, provided reporters the "tick-tock." That was the beloved minute-by-minute account of the raid, the number of raiders, stealth helicopters, refueling stops, radar-jamming, the hard-drives and documents seized, even the name of the SEALs dog, everything, each detail designed to make the campaigning president look good.
And if all this empty braggadocio made life more dangerous for the real combatants, well, that simply wasn't a consideration.
Everyone agrees Obama sat and watched the bin Laden raid with tremendous courage, as the SEALs did their deadly duty half-a-world-away that night. Soon, Obama was repeatedly describing al Qaeda as on the run and decimated by military and drone strikes.
A year later this clearly-crippled and no-longer-effective terrorist organization and its affiliates sacked and burned the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing four Americans, including the ambassador. The Obama response was to fabricate a tale about an obscure video as the cause and stick to it, even after documented debunking by his own experts.
Last May in a major national defense speech, trying to pivot from his growing scandals, Obama naively proclaimed this country could not be perpetually at war -- as if that's a unilateral decision he can make regardless of actions by others.
Now comes another stunning example of Obama's Amateur Hour. He had a recent conversation with David Remnick of the New Yorker. Now Remnick, like Bob Woodward, is a master at getting subjects to talk.
But Obama has just begun the 62d month of his presidency as commander-in-chief of the world's most powerful military. He didn't just fall off the sweet-potato truck. Yes, the Super Bowl looms near, prompting all kinds of inappropriate sports metaphors and analogies.
However, as he sought to explain White House thinking to his journalist visitor, Obama should know better than to stoop to the inflammatory, trash-talking level of a Richard Sherman.
“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a J.V. team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”
Forget for a moment, Mr. President, the fact that the hobbled Bryant has been out since late last year with no return date is set. So, right now in basketball warrior terms, Kobe Bryant is useless.
Al Qaeda, on the other hand, has never controlled more territory. Thanks to Obama's impulsive overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi with no replacement at hand, those terrorists now control most of Libya. They're on the winning side of Obama's vanished red line in Syria.
And they came within a few days of taking over Mali, but for a U.S. airlift of French troops. A reinforcement rescue the Obama administration was completely unprepared to undertake on 9/11/12 to save embattled Americans in Benghazi.
Remember Obama's misplaced concern over bin Laden's death photos? Never mind giving 317 million Americans the satisfaction of seeing that satanic symbol of murderous evil brought to final justice.
Instead, Obama's ruling worry was over inciting crazy people to still do crazy things. As if sparing their delicate eyes from a bullet-riddled bin Laden would somehow cause terrorists to go easy on the next vest laden with C-4.
But now suddenly it's OK for a dismissive Obama to flippantly liken the homicidal remnants of al Qaeda to pimply teen-aged boys who can't make the varsity basketball team? Seriously? You can bet before the next game this clipping will go up on the bulletin board in al Qaeda's locker room.
Thank goodness, though, Obama finally appears to have gotten his priorities straightened out. Yes, he did vow that 2014 would be a year of action creating all those promised jobs. But that's later.
Today's big issue event for both the president of the United States and the vice president of the United States is to hear recommendations from a special commission they created to reduce wait times for voters. Seriously.