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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Navy SEALs Grumbling Over Obama’s Victory Lap?



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Well . . . I’m sure this is not the message Team Obama expected when they kicked off “Now We Can Spike the Football Week”:

Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign.

The SEALs spoke out to MailOnline after the Obama campaign released an ad entitled ‘One Chance’.

In it President Bill Clinton is featured saying that Mr Obama took ‘the harder and the more honourable path’ in ordering that bin Laden be killed. The words ‘Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?’ are then displayed.

A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart.

‘But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’

Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: ‘The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it.

‘But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot.

‘In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.’

For what it’s worth, BuzzFeed suggests some within the White House doubt this week’s strategy:

The frustration—or, even anger—within the SEAL community is real, and has been brewing for months. It started immediately after the raid, with questions among the Special Forces and intelligence community of whether the president should have waited to announce the kill to exploit the intelligence cache at Osama’s compound. It simmered after a Chinook helicopter was shot down, killing 30 Americans, 22 of them Navy SEALs from Team Six . . .

But as the stagey outrage over the politicization of foreign policy from Mitt Romney and his Republican allies gained momentum over this past weekend, White House officials started to have their doubts. Was spiking the football, again, and again, and again, in a public such a good idea? Was it necessary? Was the campaign in Chicago, White House officials wondered, going too far?

And the coverage on MSNBC this morning played up the controversial angle, according to Mike Allen’s newsletter: ““Morning Joe” lower-third graphic this a.m. (with head shots of bin Laden, Obama and Romney”: “Bragging Rights . . . SPIKING THE FOOTBALL? OBAMA CAMP TRUMPETS BIN LADEN RAID.”


Tags: Barack Obama


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