The Decision Was Not Simply a Go/No Go Decision

Filed in National by on May 1, 2012

David Corn writes a blistering attack on Mitt Romney’s grasp on Presidential decision making, specifically President Obama’s giving the go ahead to kill Bin Laden.

The few national security advisers who knew about the potential mission were divided on what to do. Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Bob Gates urged Obama to wait for more definitive intelligence. Several advisers favored a missile strike. Only a handful supported a unilateral secret US raid. There was so much that could wrong with such a mission, and Obama’s presidency would probably be over if a commando raid went bad. A majority of his national security team members did not back a commando assault.

Obama had to choose first between a missile strike and a raid (and doing nothing until more intelligence came in). He rejected the missile strike due to concerns over collateral damage and the possibility that it would be difficult (if not impossible) to determine if Bin Laden had been killed in this attack. (David Frum understands the importance of this decision.) Then Obama raised crucial questions about the helicopter raid that shaped the mission in a way that contributed to its success. (For details, see the aforementioned extract.) Finally, Obama had to issue the green light, knowing that he was placing his presidency on the line.

This was an episode in which Obama acted deliberately and decisively.

Corn concludes, “More important, Romney’s dismissal of this decision as no-big-deal indicates he hasn’t thought much about one of the most crucial decisions that had to be made in the Oval Office—and that he may not be ready for the job himself.”

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Comments (19)

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  1. cassandra m says:

    You probably just have to consider where Multiple Choice Mitt is coming from — he would have had bin Laden work for less money for a few years, extracted all of the money he could from AQ, then handed bin Laden a pink slip and outsourced the job to someone in Somalia.

  2. X Stryker says:

    Romney literally declared a no go on this in 2008 as a candidate. He was worried about the expense and about offending Pakistan. So, that sums things up in a pretty clear cut way.

  3. Truth Teller says:

    Our Boy Mittens hid out in France during Nam, Failed to instill in his five (5) sons the desire to serve their country during two wars and now has the gaul to question our Commander in chief for the action he has taken in removing the person responsible for the killing of 3,000 Americans.During the campaign when Obama said that if he had creditable information that OBL was being protected in another country he would pursue him To which Mittens responded that such action on Obama’s part indicated his lack of understanding when it came to foreign policy. Once again Obama comes out as the hero and Mittens the fool. Never forget folks that GM is alive and well and OBL is dead Bush and Cheney along with Mittens an McCain no matter how they try to spin it can never take responsibility for that fact.

  4. Joanne Christian says:

    TT–there was no “hiding out in France” during VietNam–2 year missionary service was an accepted deferment, that the government could pull at any time. And if you remember, certain college majors were also acceptable deferments, which is why at the time we had lots of fellas all of a sudden wanting to go to medical school. So it’s really a weak argument to use non-interruption of his planned missionary service, and equate it to essentially dodging military service.

    And his sons? Really? His oldest was about 20 when Desert Storm broke out–so you equate not dropping the books and picking up a M16 a failure instilling that desire to serve in his sons? Initially, that movement was handled by our “in-place” military personnel, later expanded to national Guard, and those who did feel that call to sign-up. It’s real difficult reading the repainting of our wartime landscape from active military personnel, and ancillary troops and like-minded recruits/volunteers to the “draft-dodging” and evading you seem to imply.

    Fine, if you want to go after his credibility w/ foreign policy–but why would “Truth Teller” have to embellish the fact w/ backdrop that creates a sense of intention to escape military service? Hey, President Obama was a healthy what 27-28 year old then–why didn’t he enlist?

    Expose him on his wrong calls Truth Teller, you don’t need to gin up background and nefariously attach it to anything the guy does. In isolation, he’ll do some wrong things–but you will marginalize the wrong things when your intro reads as the tired, overstated sensationalistic background attack that normal folks who lived thru those times can read…OK, I’m cool with that–he did an accepted deferment, and his kids were too young to go….

    You’ll get more truth out that way. Peace.

  5. Geezer says:

    “2 year missionary service was an accepted deferment, that the government could pull at any time.”

    Missionary service my ass. It’s about as much a “religion” as Scientology is. The truth is it’s Amway with a tax break, and this towering phony won’t even talk about his “service” “counseling” people in his high church position.

    “So it’s really a weak argument to use non-interruption of his planned missionary service, and equate it to essentially dodging military service.”

    No, it’s not. It’s exactly what he did, and every Mormon who takes advantage of it does.

    “Hey, President Obama was a healthy what 27-28 year old then–why didn’t he enlist?”

    Because he’s not in the war hawk party. Unlike Republicans, he doesn’t hide behind the camo every time somebody criticizes him, doesn’t talk about military people as if they’re demigods — in short, doesn’t fall for the constant war and militancy so beloved by Republicans.

    Our Boy Mittens, remember, wants to increase the defense budget by $100 million, without any justification or reason for it. He’s another chicken hawk, and every Mormon woman in America can ullulate all she wants — that won’t change.

    Your so-called “religion” has, since its earliest days, made taking over the government part of its goals. Sorry, but I see no reason to help that come true.

  6. X Stryker says:

    I’m sure a lot of less well-connected &wealthy Mormons wish their missionary service was in France instead of a third world country.

  7. Geezer says:

    I’m waiting for the story of Mitt Romney killing a woman while in France to make the news. I’m surprised our “leftist” media hasn’t picked up on it; after all, the story of Laura Bush killing a teenager in a car accident was treated as something of a big deal. Mitt did the same thing as a 21-year-old in France, but you’ll hear as little about that as you will about his actions as a church leader — or even that he IS a church leader.

    Mike Huckabee is an ordained Baptist minister. The media never shut up about it in 2008. Mitt Romney is or was the equivalent of a Catholic archbishop or cardinal — the Catholic Church is the only one that could hold a candle to the Mormons in its obeisance to top-down authority — yet you’ll never read a word about it in the mainstream media.

  8. Joanne Christian says:

    I doubt that. Location wasn’t their choice, the work was hard everywhere.

  9. Dorian Gray says:

    #1 Everyone knows Romney was in a fatal accident in France. #2 Everyone knows he wasn’t at fault. (Laura Bush was at fault.) #3 I don’t remember the Laura Welsh accident being a “big deal”, but if you say so I guess it’s true…

  10. X Stryker says:

    Oh, just checked – two of Mitt’s sons did their missionary work in France, one in England, one in Austrailia, and one in Santiago, Chile (the safest, most modern city in South America, might as well be western Europe). How fortunate that they all got such cushy assignments.

  11. X Stryker says:

    Yeah, I’m sure missionary work in France is just as hard as missionary work in Bangladesh or Mozambique.

  12. socialistic ben says:

    or uganda

  13. Que Pasa says:

    Missionary work on the east side of Wilmington is probably harder than those places. Though, what does it matter how ‘hard’ or not you perceive their duties to have been? They did something for the good of their beliefs, which is, um, kind of like what community organizers do. Right?

  14. Liberal Elite says:

    @QP “They did something for the good of their beliefs…”

    Do you REALLY believe that???

  15. Dorian Gray says:

    @QP I think the point was the Romney got a draft deferment for trying to convert people to Mormonism. I don’t think that’s what community organizers do, no.

  16. X Stryker says:

    My point is that Romney pulled strings to get his sons into places that would supplement their elite breeding, just as his father did for him. Wilmington, indeed, would have been a far more onerous (and less glamorous) assignment.

  17. Dave says:

    “My point is that Romney pulled strings to get his sons into places that would supplement their elite breeding”

    I’m sure he did as all fathers would and do. Romney is not one of us, so to speak, and has no means of relating to us. Silver spoon and all that. The question is, how does that influence how he would govern? Or rather, does one’s ability to share our pain help or hinder effective decision making and leadership?

    At the individual level, I think it is a hinderance, but then with individual stories being legion, could anyone share each of ours unique story? To me, it would be better if he recognized that limitation and proposed strategies for mitigating that inability to emphathize such as in his choices of advisors or political appointees. Surrounding oneself with those who comprehend the complete America would certainly help overcome his limitations. The same way Obama used folks like Bob Gates and Gen. Petraeus to mitigate his limitations in the defense arena. Knowing what one does not know and understanding one’s core competencies is invaluable to filling out the key positions in government.

  18. X Stryker says:

    Fair point, Dave, but since I have no interest in seeing Romney get elected, I’m pointing out his shortcomings. I don’t really think getting new advisors will cause Romney to abandon his Romney-first economic platform, which is primarily oriented around saving himself money in taxes and pumping up his investments. I don’t think he’ll suddenly start caring about workers whose jobs have been outsourced or families that work 4 jobs just to keep food on the table – but he might someday be better able to at least sound like he has an ounce of empathy.

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