- The Washington Times - Monday, May 2, 2011

It can be awkward when a dove tries to pass himself off as a war hero. From the tone of President Obama’s speech Sunday night, it’d be easy to conclude he was the one who came up with the idea that America should hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden. He also made it sound like he was the one who formulated the takedown plan. We can look forward in coming days to details of the actual operation, emphasizing Mr. Obama’s intimate involvement.

“Shortly after taking office,” the president said, “I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the capture or death of Osama bin Laden the highest priority of the war on terror.” Of course, this had been a high priority since shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. “I want justice,” President George W. Bush said on September 17. “And there’s an old poster out West … I recall, that said, ‘Wanted, Dead or Alive.’ “

Sunday’s only mention of Mr. Bush came when Mr. Obama defended himself by quipping that even his predecessor insisted America isn’t at war with Islam. Left unsaid was how Mr. Bush setting the groundwork for the conduct of the war on terrorism provided Mr. Obama with the tools to get this job done. The national unity, sense of purpose and offensive posture were largely the result of Mr. Bush’s decisive action and strong leadership following national tragedy. Had Mr. Obama been in Mr. Bush’s position on Sept. 11, 2001, bin Laden would still be alive today, and probably winning.