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Washington, U.S.A. - As the first anniversary of bin Laden’s death approaches, Robert Weiner, a former Clinton White House spokesman and former communications director for the House Government Operations Committee, and Senior Analyst at Robert Weiner Associates Richard Mann, prove wrong the statements by Mitt Romney, Carl Rove, and other critics that “any president” would have given the order that launched the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year.
They contrast Bush’s 2001 outsourcing a raid on Bin Laden’s 2001 Tora Bora location to the Afghanis who failed — on purpose or through ineptness — to Obama’s U.S. solo action in Abbottabad, Pakistan that succeeded when Obama did not reveal or leak the strategy.
Weiner and Mann document their claim with information from a 2009 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report, “Tora Bora Revisited: How we Failed to Get Bin Laden.”
Weiner and Mann say, “When placed in a similar situation with parallel choices, George W. Bush, Obama’s predecessor, failed to succeed because he made the opposite decision. In December 2001, Bush had the chance to capture Bin Laden in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, was faced with the choice of doing it ourselves or involving a foreign government, and asked the Afghanis to do it. Whether by ineptness or intent, the Afghani troops allowed bin Laden to escape.”
Weiner and Mann show how Obama’s approach was totally different: “When Obama was questioned as why he did not inform the Pakistanis in advance about Abbottabad, he said, ‘I didn’t tell most people here in the White House. I didn’t tell my own family. It was that important for us to maintain operational security.’
When asked during the 2006 presidential campaign debates what he would do with ‘actionable intelligence’, he said he would have the United States ‘act unilaterally’ rather than in consort with foreign intelligence if necessary to capture bin Laden. That’s precisely what he did, as the President restated at a White House news conference.”
Weiner and Mann cite the 2009 Senate Foreign Relations Committee report: “The Committee says its review ‘removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora Bora.” The Committee Chair expressed the “hope that we can learn from the mistakes of the past.” “Obama did,” say Weiner and Mann.
“Obama recognized that bin Laden’s compound could not exist without local and likely some kind of government cooperation.
“During the years after the Tora Bora debacle, the Bush administration went even further in the opposite direction from Obama’s later actions. Bush closed the CIA’s unit on bin Laden. In contrast, Obama reprioritized the search for bin Laden. Bush said, ‘I truly am not that concerned about him. I am deeply concerned about Iraq. I really don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.’ Likewise, Governor Romney said he ‘would not move heaven and earth’ to get bin Laden.
“The notion recently raised by Carl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, and Dick Cheney that Bush deserves a share of the credit for Obama’s bin Laden operation is ridiculous and should be recognized as sour grapes.
“Obama’s team had as key players Vice President Joe Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a former Senate Armed Services Committee member, and their emphasis on using intelligence and special operations over a large military footprint ultimately proved successful. Despite 100,000 troops and another 100,000 contractors, the Taliban actually grew stronger.
It was the surgical raid by a small team that defeated the man behind the 9/11 attacks. “It is time to ask the Republicans and other critics if they have any real alternative that would have succeeded as Obama did in taking down Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, or Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi or for that matter, on domestic policy, where Obama reversed the Bush bleeding of 750,000 jobs per month, rescued the auto industry and the nation’s financial institutions, and put the country back to 26 straight months of increased jobs and GDP.”