In a biting column he titles “The first-person presidency,” Victor Davis Hanson conveniently summarizes the national security positions asserted by then Senator Obama, with relevant quotations, and contrasts them with the positions he has taken as president. He then provides this convenient summary:
Senator Obama opposed tribunals, renditions, Guantanamo, preventive detention, Predator-drone attacks, the Iraq War, wiretaps, and intercepts — before President Obama either continued or expanded nearly all of them, in addition to embracing targeted assassinations, new body scanning and patdowns at airports, and a third preemptive war against an oil-exporting Arab Muslim nation — this one including NATO efforts to kill the Qaddafi family. The only thing more surreal than Barack Obama’s radical transformation is the sudden approval of it by the once hysterical Left. In Animal Farm and 1984 fashion, the world we knew in 2006 has simply been airbrushed away.
Coincidentally, Jim Geraghty has received this “motivational poster” from a reader. It applies the teaching of Hanson’s column to the successful operation against bin Laden.
The words at the bottom read: “VINDICATION: When the loudest critic of your policies achieves his greatest success because of them.” Geraghty supports the point with another handy summary:
The interrogations of KSM (which included waterboarding) and the interrogation of Hassan Ghul (held in “black site” prisons) were key to identifying the courier; the president then authorized military action in a foreign country without going to the United Nations or informing the host government; the military action was unilateral, and we did not consult with our allies; Congress was not informed of the military action; and it increasingly appears that no serious effort was made to treat Osama bin Laden as a criminal (reading him his rights, etc.). The monitoring of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s phone call was a result of an extensive global wiretapping system. Furthermore, as Charles Krauthammer notes, the helicopters used in the raid came from Bagram and Jalalabad; if we had withdrawn from Afghanistan on the antiwar Left’s timetable, we would have had no bases from which to launch this operation.
I would supplement Geraghty’s summary with two related points. It was President Bush who set the goal of taking bin Laden dead or alive in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. It was President Obama who gave the order to kill (not capture) bin Laden. It was President Obama who ordered the action without the knowledge or consent of the United Nations, the Pakistanis, or any other nation.
Vindication, indeed. And thank you, President Bush.