From the tone of President Obama’s speech tonight you would think that he was the one who came up with the idea that the United States should hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden. He also made it sound like he was the one 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,” he 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.” But of course this had been a high priority since shortly after September 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.’”
The only mention of Mr. Bush came when Mr. Obama mentioned that even he had said the U.S. is not at war with Islam. But without Mr. Bush’s leadership and setting the groundwork for the conduct of the war on terrorism, Mr. Obama would never have had the tools to get this job done. The national unity, sense of purpose and offensive posture was largely the result of Mr. Bush’s decisive action and strong leadership following that national tragedy. Had Mr. Obama been in Mr. Bush’s position on September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden would still be alive today, and probably winning.