Serving and former US Navy SEALs are speaking out against President Obama for basking in the glory of the killing of Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as a political tool for his re-election campaign.
The SEALs spoke out to http://www.dailymail.co.uk after the Obama campaign released an ad entitled ‘One Chance’ a few months back.
In addition to the ad, the White House marked the first anniversary of the raid that killed bin Laden with a series of briefings in addition to an NBC interview in the Situation Room to highlight the “gutsy call” made by the President. A news conference was also used to imply that Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney would have let bin Laden live.
“I said that I’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did,” Obama said. “If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.”
in 2008 Romney expressed reservations about sending troops into Pakistan.
Ryan Zinke, a Republican state senator in Montana who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: “The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call. I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice – it was a broader team effort.”
Mr Zinke added that Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid.
“The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.”
The president has even faced criticism from those on the left. Arianna Huffington, a liberal who runs the left-leaning Huffington Post website, roundly condemned it.
She told CBS: ‘We should celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It’s one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room… all that to me is perfectly legitimate, but to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.’
A serving SEAL Team member said: “Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart, But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.”
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: “In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.”
Senior military figures have said that Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL who was then head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the decision to take bin Laden out. Tactical decisions were delegated even further down the chain of command.
A former intelligence official who was serving in the US government when bin Laden was killed said that the Obama administration knew about the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts in October 2010 but delayed taking action and risked letting him escape.