President Obama campaigned against the use of phone taps of terrorists, he campaigned for the shut down of the very secret prisons that coughed up the name of the courier, and he went so far after being elected to imply that his Attorney General Eric Holder was ready to go arrest the CIA operatives, and military special forces personnel that had conducted enhanced interrogations.
Yet this single most important piece of information that led to the capture and execution of our worst enemy was obtained exclusively through those very mechanisms and means that President Obama demeaned, mocked, and ordered shut down.
There is no doubt that President Obama made the right call to send in the Navy Seals to extricate the corpse of Osama bin Ladin. His decision to do so with a surgically precise strike showed special wisdom in that members of his own national security team opposed him in meetings running up to making the decision. He was right in calling on the Seals because they are unlike any other special forces in all of military history. And he was right in reducing the collateral damage or the risk of any by not using predator drones and bombs.
History will reward him with the label of the one who captured and killed the worst terrorist of the past twenty years.
But he did so standing on the shoulders of a President who took political backlash, foul media coverage, and a toxically poisoned electorate (poisoned largely by the efforts of Obama directly) to do what was right, to press forward in obtaining the critical pieces of data to set up the eventual capture and kill of Bin Ladin.
President Obama owes his rightful success to a man he directly undermined, nearly the entire time he was setting the pieces in place for Obama's biggest national security achievement.
President Obama owes an apology to President Bush.
He also owes a huge debt of thanks to the men and women of the CIA and special forces who interrogated with enhanced techniques, and to the men and women who fought and died in Iraq to bring him the information needed.
And how 'bout you?
Have you hugged a water-boarder today?