In the run up to the 2008 elections and thereafter one of the persistent criticisms of Barack Obama was that he would be “soft” on terrorists and likely to be ineffectual in dealing with the hydra headed threat of Islamic terror. We were told again and again by people like Rudy Giuliani that if Obama were elected that “we would be hit again.” Sarah Palin warned in a speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention that Obama would “reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world” and ” Al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America … he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights?”
Once elected the criticisms didn’t subside either. Newt Gingrich said: “This administration is underestimating how hard this war is going to be. The American people should demand that we are much more aggressive in seeking data and that we are much more aggressive in stopping people.” Likewise Dick Cheney opined ” We’ve seen a lot of decisions made, especially in this administration with respect to the War on Terror, which is no longer a War on Terror, it’s an overseas contingency operation.” The aforementioned are but a sampling of the doubts and criticisms that were slung at the Obama Administration with a fair degree of regularity and which would reach fever pitch in the far right media anytime a terrorist attack had been thwarted or as was all to apparent during the Ground Zero Mosque controversy.
Well, it goes without saying that the liquidation of Osama bin Laden on Barack Obama’s watch should, in the eyes of any intelligent and rational human being, lay to rest the plethora of nonsense that has surrounded this administration as it relates to both its ability and commitment in successfully prosecuting the war on terror. Alas, the fact that we can provide some degree of procedural rights to those being held on suspicion of having been involved in terror plots in no way impeded our ability to eliminate Osama bin Laden. Nor did our same Navy Seals show any predisposition towards appeasement when they freed the crew of the Marsek Alabama off Somalia in 2009 by killing or capturing their pirate captors.
To paraphrase conservative commentator Major Garret of the National Journal: “Killing bin Laden represents a continuum of competence on the part of Barack Obama in fulfilling his campaign pledge to eliminate Osama bin Laden as a terrorist threat and thus the War on Terror is seen to be effectively fought. Few would deny that the death of Osama bin Laden represents a major victory for the administration and the nation. Likewise, few would deny that so much of the criticism leveled at the Obama Administration by opponents on the right constitutes political grandstanding at a time when we should all be standing shoulder to shoulder in a unified war or Islamic Terror. In the aftermath of the bin Laden assassination Barack Obama appears more serious then ever while so many of his critics seem to have done nothing but jumped to conclusions about the Administration’s ability to successfully fight the war on terror.