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.”