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The Moral Confusion of Barack Obama

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

On May 1, 2011, President Obama announced to the world that he had personally shot Osama bin Laden in the head.

Well, not exactly. But it was close.

"I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al-Qaida," he said. "I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden ... I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action ... Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan ..."

It wasn't you. It was Obama. His orders, his intel, his determination and his direction. Are we clear yet?

Obama's off-putting egotism didn't put a damper on the joy most Americans instinctively felt upon hearing that the Bearded Barbarian had been sent to Virginland. After all, as Obama explained, bin Laden was "a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of men, women and children."

This is the sound of moral clarity. In fact, Obama had so much moral clarity with regard to bin Laden that he ordered him killed rather than captured.

Unfortunately, President Obama utterly lacks that moral clarity with regard to anyone but bin Laden.

The week before bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, the terrorist group Hamas formed a unity government with the Palestinian Authority, demonstrating once and for all that both the Palestinian population and its government -- in all of its various iterations -- hate Israel and the United States. To add insult to injury, Hamas immediately condemned bin Laden's killing, calling him an "Arab holy warrior." "We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood." Meanwhile, Palestinian Arabs rioted in Jerusalem in protest of the bin Laden hit.

And yet President Obama refuses to state whether he will veto the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian terror state in the United Nations. Where's the clarity, Mr. President?

In Pakistan itself, hundreds of bin Laden supporters swarmed into the streets in mourning for the Turbaned Terror, lighting up their flags in a traditional display of Muslim sensitivity. Pakistani lawmaker Maulawi Asmatullah explained that bin Laden "was the hero of the Muslim world and after his martyrdom he has won the title of great mujahed." Former president of Pakistan Gen. Pervez Musharraf decried America's violation of Pakistani sovereignty, whining: "American troops coming across the border and taking action in one of our towns, that is Abbottabad, is not acceptable to the people of Pakistan." Pakistan, by the way, was not informed of the mission until after its completion because of American suspicions of Pakistani complicity in hiding bin Laden.

Obama's response to Pakistan's pro-bin Ladenism: "it's important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding." Where's the clarity, Mr. President?

The Muslim Brotherhood, which currently stands behind the rebels in Libya and Egypt, released a statement decrying the death of bin Laden, stating that they were "against assassination and support a fair trial for any criminal, regardless of the crimes he committed." They then asked the United States to "stop conducting intelligence operations against those who disagree with them and to stop interfering in the business of Arab and Muslim countries."

Meanwhile, President Obama continued to back the Libyan resistance, even going so far as to authorize an assassination attempt against Moammar Gadhafi to support it. Where's the clarity, Mr. President?

The Taliban, naturally enough, savaged the operation against bin Laden and vowed revenge. The Pakistani Taliban promised, "If bin Laden attained martyrdom, then we will avenge his death and we will attack the governments of Pakistan and the United States and their security forces."

Obama's reaction: Let's negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

This is the problem with President Obama: He has flashes of moral clarity when it is convenient and ignores moral clarity when it isn't. He railed against Guantanamo, but he used intelligence gathered from it to pursue bin Laden; he allowed the military to kill bin Laden rather than capturing him, but he insists that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who planned the 9/11 attacks, be tried in a court of law; he will target bin Laden, but he leaves all of those who support him unscathed. Killing bin Laden isn't nearly enough. Facing down the evil that he represents will be a much tougher task for a president who lacks moral vision altogether.

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