Vice President Joe Biden confessed this weekend that he advised President Obama not to launch the mission that ultimately killed Osama bin Laden last spring.
During remarks at a Democratic congressional retreat this weekend, Biden explained that when it came time to make the final decision, he had some lingering uncertainties about whether the 9/11 mastermind was in the suspected compound in Pakistan.
When the president asked his top advisers for their final opinion on the mission, all of them were hesitant, except for the former CIA director, now Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Biden said.
“Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta. Leon said go. Everyone else said, 49, 51,” Biden said, as he offered the unsolicited details of the decision-making process.
“He got to me. He said, ‘Joe, what do you think?’ And I said, ‘You know, I didn’t know we had so many economists around the table.’ I said, ‘We owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go. We have to do two more things to see if he’s there,’” Biden recalled.
While the vice president did not explain what those two more things were, the next morning the president gave National Security Adviser Tom Donilon the “go” to launch the SEAL raid of the compound.
“He knew what was at stake, not just the lives of those brave warriors, but literally the presidency,” Biden said.
I call bulllshit on this. As I've noted before, any President, faced with the same facts, would have authorized the mission to get Osama bin Laden. In fact, practically any reasonably well-informed citizen would have made the same decision. It wasn't a hard call; it wasn't heroic; it was simply a decision that happened to fall to Obama. This is all just a story that the Democrats are trying to hype to convince the public that Obama has been a strong President on foreign policy, when the truth is that he has retreated from Afghanistan, retreated from Iraq, allowed Iran to get closer to nuclear weapons, affronted our best allies (Israel and the UK), and generally made a hash of foreign policy. Are we stronger today than we were four years ago, or weaker? It's an easy question.