Since President Obama did such a masterful job of taking credit for the death of Osama bin Laden … at the hands of a small team of American military forces – by making it a “priority” – let me acknowledge some others’ due credit.
In the days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pakistan was on the fence. They were afraid that joining us hunting down al Qaeda would provoke Islamic radicals to attack them. President Bush offered Pakistan and others a choice, in stark language: “Over time it’s going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity,” he said. “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.”
Despite the assertion that hunting down bin Laden only became a “priority” under President Obama – our military and intelligence agencies destroyed al Qaeda’s top leaders in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.
The “with-us-or-against-us” tone established by President Bush earned him scorn from liberals, here and abroad. But he never wavered – even when the war was overshadowed by domestic events like Katrina. The national security footing Bush put in place was effective. The 9/11 attacks were the last large-scale terrorist attacks on America. Obama inherited the Bush structures – and, to the chagrin of his base, kept most of them in place.
So, thanks to all of you – from the Bush years until now – who keep us safe. You, who devoted your careers and gave your lives, laid the building blocks to the takedown of bin Laden.