Credit Where Credit is Due

In the wake of the truly monumental news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed by US special forces in Pakistan, there have been numerous reactions from the media. Not surprisingly, much of the commentary has to do with the political metrics and who deserves credit. Notice any name missing from the statements of some leading GOP hopefuls? Now, with the glaring omissions out of the way, let’s turn to the statements from a few other notable figures:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:

“I commend President Obama who has followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing Bin Laden to justice.”

Minnesota governor and GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty:

President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice — and we did. I want to congratulate America’s armed forces and President Obama for a job well done,” he said in a statement.”

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:

“All of this was made possible by the relentless, sustained pressure on al Qaeda that the Bush administration initiated after 9/11 and that the Obama administration has wisely chosen to continue…”

Hmmm.I guess the fact that the mentioned Obama’s name is something. And, since Bush was president when the 9/11 attacks happened, I guess it’s fair to tie him to the effort to bring Bin Laden to justice.  But I seem to remember some words and deeds from the administration not long after the attack that don’t really jibe with Rummy’s assessment. Anybody recall what was going on at the time?

President Bush, March 13, 2002:

“And, again, I don’t know where he is.  I  —  I’ll repeat what I said.  I truly am not that concerned about him.”

Well, ok. Shrub never was the intellectual type. But surely, the military and intelligence communities were instructed to make it a priority, right?

New York Times Headline, July 4, 2006:

C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden

Well, that’s weird. But, obviously, if they’d had an opportunity to nab him, the order would have been given!

Washington Post, April 17, 2002:

U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight; Failure to Send Troops in Pursuit Termed Major Error

With a track record like that, it’s easy to see why some on the right want to give Bush credit. Steve Benen, speaking specifically of Rumsfeld, sums it up nicely:

“He either has a very short memory, or he’s lying and hopes you have a very short memory.”


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