A report out today includes a “highly placed source” as saying that part of the reason George W. Bush is not appearing with President Barack Obama at ground zero is that he feels he is not getting part of the credit in the killing.
The source stated “Obama gave no credit whatsoever to the intelligence infrastructure the Bush administration set up that is being hailed from the left and right as setting in motion the operation that got Bin Laden. It rubbed Bush the wrong way.”
Of course, it was Bush (like Clinton) who ignored warnings of the possible attacks and then it was Bush Administration that let Bin Laden slip out of Tora Bora. Bin Laden was nailed years after the departure of Bush and based on recent intelligence hits on the surveillance net. As noted earlier, I am not sure why there is not more discussion of the alleged failure of this and the prior administration to locate Bin Laden in such a conspicuous setting after alleged leads from Pakistan and India. It appears that much of our intelligence estimates on his location may have been wildly wrong.
Clearly, many of the people outside of the Administration (joining some Obama officials) citing torture as part of the success in this story are Bush officials — trying desperately not only to claim part of the success but to legitimate an act defined as a war crime.
This is all part of the spasm of celebration over the killing. I must confess a bit of unease in the scenes of people dancing in the streets and presidents fighting over credit for the killing. I have the same unease when people assemble outside of prisons with frying pans and signs to celebrate the execution of a murderer. Some scenes this month looked uncomfortably like images we saw in the Middle East after the 9-11 attacks. I am also glad that Bin Laden is dead. I will not deny it. However, all of these celebrations only elevate the importance of the man.
As I stated earlier, I have always found it bizarre that we give presidents personal credit for such operations. Whether it is Bush parading around on the aircraft carrier in his flight suit or Obama at ground zero, presidents claim credit for successes by others. Obviously, this order would have been given by Bush and Clinton once Bin Laden fell into our surveillance net. Ironically, presidents are very successful in basking in such glory of others, but do not feel the full brunt of their mistakes like Tora Bora or, more importantly, ignoring the warnings about an attack using aircraft. Those are simply dismissed as missed opportunities or confused circumstances.
What is equally fascinating is that we continue to define victory by Bin Laden’s death while insisting that nothing will change in light of it, as discussed in this week’s column.
Source: NY Daily News