Bin Laden's body

Campaign 2012

It's just as well that we dumped Osama bin Laden's body in the Indian Ocean. If we had kept it on ice in a government warehouse, President Obama would surely be carting it around on the campaign trail.

As Obama kicks his reelection campaign into high gear, the press is lending every hand to help exhume the defeated terrorist icon from the briny depths for a pre-election, extended national pep rally. Time magazine, for example, published a cover story account of how the raid went down.

Granted, it's the one-year anniversary of the Abbottabad raid and these stories are naturally interesting. But the White House has been wantonly open with access to decision-making and operational details that traditionally have been guarded for national security reasons. The Obama administration gave unprecedented access to journalists for a Discovery Channel documentary. Why? Is history their concern or the president's near future?

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Lief Babin, a highly decorated former Navy SEAL officer, put this openness in perspective in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in January, "Obama Exploits the Navy SEALs." He explained that operational security, i.e., secrecy regarding how Special Ops do things, is essential to the safety and effectiveness of these brave warriors:

"Yet virtually every detail of the bin Laden raid has appeared in news outlets around the globe-from the name of the highly classified unit to how the United States gathered intelligence, how many raiders were involved, how they entered the grounds, what aircraft they used, and how they moved through the compound. Such details were highly contained within the military and not shared even through classified channels. Yet now they are available to anyone with the click of a mouse."

Babin argued that the nation's commander in chief is releasing this sensitive information promiscuously for selfish political gain.

Veterans for a Strong America just released a powerful ad this week (see below) that demonstrates the president's narcissism and political opportunism in his handling of the successful SEAL mission, from his initial announcement of it to last week's ad, "One Chance," featuring former President Bill Clinton.

On top of this unseemly hoisting up the enemy's head on a spike for campaign advantage, the Obama people went a step beyond the limits of good taste with that ad by suggesting that the president's 2012 Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, would not have made the same decision to send in the SEALS. Arianna Huffington, publisher of the left-leaning Huffington Post, called the entire ad, including what she said is the utterly speculative charge against Romney, "despicable." Dana Milbank, liberal columnist at The Washington Post, found the insinuation against Romney "sleazy."

Political leaders are people of great personal ambition, though often combined to one degree or another with ambition also to serve the people. Our political system turns that vice to the public advantage by rewarding it while also checking it. The president has great power and great ambition, and so, in his use of these national security matters, let's pray he will begin to restrain himself and that voters will weigh the positives and negatives of his presidency thus far.

Listen to a report on the Obama campaign politicizing the bin Laden mission on WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.

D.C. Innes
D.C. Innes

D.C. is associate professor of politics at The King's College in New York City and co-author of Left, Right, and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics (Russell Media). Follow D.C. on Twitter @DCInnes1.


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