Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Dear Chickenhawk Mitt:
It's time to shake your Etch a Sketch again after you said that even Carter would have okayed the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
Let's get the facts straight here. Jimmy Carter spent ten years in the military. As President, Carter made the very gutsy call to insert a special forces team to extract the Iranian hostages—remember Operation Eagle Claw? This was before our special forces were as well-trained as they are currently. The operation ended in the Desert One debacle, which left eight servicemen dead after a Sea Stallion collided with a C-130 in a huge fireball that incinerated both aircraft. This event was the impetus behind the formation of the Special Operations Air Regiment (aka SOAR Nightstalkers), which now flies special operations soldiers into and out of combat. Memorably, in Black Hawk Down, a SOAR pilot hovered his Huey in a corridor between two houses with inches to spare on either side of the rotor to cut off a bunch of militants surging to the crash site while shooting at them with his personal defense weapon.
But back in the eighties, Carter sent men into battle to save American hostages. The deal backfired and cost the country greatly, and of course, Carter lost his election. However, Jimmy Carter had the balls to do things the hard way.
The evidence says that you would not have done the same. George W. Bush had canceled a Pakistani incursion in 2005 after the SEALs had already boarded the planes because of the political risks. In 2007, after John McCain said that he would not commit to attacking targets in Pakistan to get Bin Laden, you agreed. Romney said, "I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours. ... I don't think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort."
It turns out that the Pakistani incursions lead to Bin Laden's death. And the raid that killed him also yielded papers wherein Bin Laden begged his "brothers" to leave Pakistan because the drone strikes were slaughtering al Qaeda there.
In short, there's a ton of reasons to believe that you would not have authorized a SEAL team strike in Pakistan to get Bin Laden. You might have bombed the compound, but you would not have had SEALs go in there and recover the body. I seriously doubt that anyone but Obama would have instructed the military to equip the SEAL team so that it could shoot its way out to avoid capture by the Pakistanis if they were intercepted and safe passage could not be negotiated.
But Jimmy Carter probably would have.
A Peon Who Pays Taxes