Thomas Sowell

To have helped overthrow pro-Western governments in Egypt and Libya, only to bring anti-Western Islamic extremists to power would have been revealed as a foreign policy disaster of the first magnitude. To have been celebrating President Obama's supposedly heroic role in the killing of Osama bin Laden, with the implication that Al Qaeda was crippled, would have been revealed as a farce.

Osama bin Laden was by no means the first man to plan a surprise attack on America and later be killed. Japan's Admiral Yamamoto planned the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, and he was later tracked down and shot down in a plane that was carrying him.

Nobody tried to depict President Franklin D. Roosevelt as some kind of hero for having simply authorized the killing of Yamamoto. In that case, the only hero who was publicized was the man who shot down the plane that Yamamoto was in.

Yet the killing of Osama bin Laden has been depicted as some kind of act of courage by President Obama. After bin Laden was located, why would any President not give the go-ahead to get him?

That took no courage at all. It would have been far more dangerous politically for Obama not to have given the go-ahead. Moreover, Obama hedged his bets by authorizing the admiral in charge of the operation to proceed only under various conditions.

This meant that success would be credited to Obama and failure could be blamed on the admiral -- who would join George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and other scapegoats for Obama's failures.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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