Obama partisans are quick to credit him for the spectacular SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Fair enough. Obama is the commander-in-chief, and the mission happened on his watch.
Never mind that our military and intelligence agencies had been gunning for the world’s most wanted terrorist ever since September 11, 2001 — well before Obama was even a United States Senator, let alone President of the United States.
Indeed, the raid was the culmination of nearly a decade of careful military and intelligence work that spanned two administrations, Bush’s and Obama’s. And, in this sense, it really occurred — and would have occurred — irrespective of who was in the White House.
Nevertheless, Obama made the right decision to carry through on the raid; and he wisely opted to kill bin Laden through the use of ground troops rather than aerial bombardment. (Ground troops increased the likelihood that we would actually kill bin Laden, decreased the likelihood of collateral damage, and showed Islamic terrorists and the world that we are not afraid to risk American blood in the pursuit of victory.)
But will Obama partisans be as quick to fault their man for tying the hands of future commanders in chief? Of course not. However, they should, because, as I explain in a piece over at the Daily Caller, Obama wants to undo military and defense investments that enabled our forces to get bin Laden. Thus, he is
irresponsibly calling for a wholesale gutting of the U.S. defense budget. He’s calling for a massive and unconscionable $400 billion in cuts to current and future defense spending. This after he already cut the defense budget by that same amount during his first two years in office.
This is bad public policy and must be resisted. Otherwise, Obama’s successors in the Oval Office may be as hamstrung and embarrassed militarily as too many of his predecessors were.
Jimmy Carter’s failed “Desert One” hostage rescue attempt, for instance, floundered because of our lack of forward operating bases and state-of-the-art helicopters. And, in response, the Marine Corps developed and procured the revolutionary V-22 Osprey “tiltrotor” aircraft. This to address limitations in aircraft speed, range and survivability identified in the failed “Desert One” operation.
Yet, in the wake of the bin Laden killing, many Obama partisans are urging for a wholesale withdrawal from Afghanistan and Eurasia, and even for cancelation of the V-22.
This makes no military sense and is bad public policy which must be resisted. Gutting the defense budget and reverting to Fortress America may play well on the Left, but these are dangerous and half-baked ideas that will inevitably and rightly undermine Obama in the eyes of history.