While I’m not a huge fan of Obama’s argument that Romney wouldn’t have made the call to go after Osama bin-Laden, I’m also not a huge fan of Romney’s argument that “Of course, even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”
The decision to go after OBL was a tough one – because at the time, it wasn’t a mission to go after OBL. It was a mission to go after a guy that has a decent chance of being OBL. The decision had to be made to send Special Forces into a semi-hostile ally without prior notice, attack a compound and go after a guy that intel said might be OBL.
Romney’s implication is that even a terrible foreign policy President would have made THAT call – when of course, Carter basically did make that call when he ordered Operation Eagle Claw. And, of course, it was a disaster that embarassed the US and doomed Carter’s Presidency – and that was the precedent that Obama bucked to order the raid. I think Romney probably would’ve made the same call given the facts.
Which brings it to the next point – what Obama deserves credit for isn’t the decision to launch the raid, but rather the decision to refocus intelligence resources on finding the compound in the first place. That was a strategic decision, and does deserve praise – I don’t like Obama taking credit for the raid itself – that was SOCOM’s triumph. But the credit for putting the American National Security apparatus in a position to make the raid deservedly belongs at the White House.