Sunday, May 08, 2011

"60 Minutes" on May 8: Obama on Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden changed America. In "Killing bin Laden: the President's Story," Steve Croft gives his Wednesday interview with President Obama. This was circumstantial evidence that he (bin Laden) was going to be there. It looked promising from the beginning. There was a strategic imperative for us to go after to him. Obama had told Panetta to put more resources into the mission. They first came to me with evidence of the compound in August 2010. Vigorous planning did not start till the beginning of 2011. We were surprised that he could hide out in that compound for that long. It was designed to protect bin Laden from public view. Bin Laden was there for five years. Obama made two points: If I send them, can I get them out. This was a 55/45 proposition. If he wasn't there, there would be consequences. Geopolitical risk.

There was resistance from some planners. We have built a team that is collegial. I expect my advisors to give me their best assessments. As a result, our plan was sharper. Croft asked about past failures, like the Iranian rescue.

We have devoted enormous blood and treasure. If we have a good chance of badly disabling Alcaida, it was worth it.

I made the decision Thursday night, and informed by team on Friday. The Presidency requires you to do more than one thing at a time. We were able to keep this thing secret. Any leak could compromise the mission, and cause deaths of some of the guys.

Reports came back from Bill McCraven. We had a sense of when gunfire took place (flashes). Croft asked why the pictures were not released. Obama responded first about DNA. Then, concern about the pictures being incitement to future violence. We don't trot this stuff out as trophies. We don't need to spike the football.

Burial at sea was a joint decision. Appropriate and respectful of the body.

After over, Obama said "we got him" to the people in the White House.

The special forces mission was complicated by the location in which Bin Laden was located. Obama stated he didn't tell his own family about the plan or many senior aides; he didn't tell officials in Pakistan. Obama said they believed there was a support network for bin Laden in Pakistan. Incompetence or duplicity? Most supplies for US troops in Afghanistan flow through Pakistan.

What happened on Sunday shows we don't have to have a perpetual footprint in Afghanistan.

Of awards for the team, Obama said they pretty much will get whatever they want. Obama went to Fort Campbell, KY to meet with the team. Their identities are classified.

Andy Rooney talked about times when someone's death was occasion for rejoicing. He mentioned Hitler. Then he mentioned Bin Laden. Both power hungry men. We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation.


Post a Comment

<< Home