I keep hearing people talk about who deserves the credit for the killing of the world's most feared criminal mind. I believe it is President Obama that should get the lion's share of the credit, although Bush, the CIA, the military, and others, including those in Pakistan, deserve some of the praise.
First, it must be noted that Bush's policies never resulted in bin Laden's capture. Although, he does get credit for limiting his movement and disrupting the Al-queda network. Secondly, we have to understand that Bush really did give up on catching bin Laden. This isn't the same as really trying hard and failing. He quit trying altogether. He said on different occasions that he was not concerned about bin Laden. He stated that he did not know where he was. He also commented that he did not spend that much time thinking about him. The most noteworthy statements that Bush made, said that he ( bin Laden), "[was] not the centerpiece of any power structure." He said, "He's been marginalized." Marginalized means minimized, no longer powerful, effective, or active. We now know that this was NEVER true, but if the Bush administration believed this, then it is not hard to understand why they couldn't find him. According to The Herald Bulletin, a local newspaper in my hometown, U.S. officials said Wednesday of bin Laden, that, "His personal, handwritten journal and his massive collection of computer files reveal his hand at work in every recent major al-Qaida threat, including plots in Europe last year that had travelers and embassies on high alert,..."
Also, according to these officials, bin Laden suggested striking smaller cities and targeting trains as well as planes. In other words, bin Laden was planning a series of 9/11-type disasters, to kill as many Americans as possible. He was not marginalized.
Finally, Bush let the bin Laden unit, set up to capture or kill him, close down in 2005, ironically, the same year bin Laden had his million dollar hideaway compound built, nestled in an affluent area in Abbottabad, Pakistan. So, if President Obama were going to catch or kill bin Laden, he had to go against the prevailing inertia of indifference and resignation of the Bush administration. And he did. He directed Leon Panetta to make the capture or kill of bin Laden the number 1 priority in the war on Al-Queda. He was personally involved, staging 9 meetings, and giving detailed input. His analysis of the progress and his dogged determination to pursue this elusive target, was painstaking, risky, and courageous. Again, I give credit to everyone involved, but without Obama's directive to Panetta, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
Now, the question is asked, "Why does it matter?" A good question.
The biggest reason is , because, in light of the differences in leadership on foreign policy, the Commander-in-Chief who has shown the kind of foresight and competence it takes to bring down a bin Laden, should be able to command global respect on matters of foreign policy. In President Obama's case, this is respect that he sorely needs. He is not soft on terrorism, but his detractors have had some effectiveness in portraying him that way. Actually, this latest victory is just another feather in Obama's cap, because he has had a string of wins on foreign issues. He got Mubarak to step down. His decision to strike at Libya without spearheading another costly war has shown to be prudent, and may yet pay more dividends if the drone strikes help the rebels hit pay dirt. He has drawn down the troops in Iraq, with plans to leave in December. Troops in Afghanistan will begin leaving this summer. His controversial decision in 2009, to add 40,000 more troops has helped the cause greatly. If this latest victory, of killing bin Laden proves that there is indeed a method to Obama's madness, or rather his "dithering", as opponents call it, we may need to reserve criticism and realize that there is more than one way to be successful.