A leader presides in the White House

When first we heard the word that some brave American military personnel, Navy Seals all, had risked their lives to take out Osama bin Laden, there was a feeling of exhilaration. Here, in early May 2011, almost ten full years since OBL engineered the mass murder of so many innocent people, justice had finally been done.

It was with an air of great anticipation that we learned President Obama would be speaking to us in an extraordinary late Sunday night setting at the White House. When he spoke shortly before midnight, he exhibited a proper amount of pride in the accomplishment of the Seals team while maintaining a certain solemn decorum.

In just over his two years as president, it was this man’s finest moment so far, a heady reminder of just how fortunate it is that our country has a true leader, one with equal measures of intellect, compassion, and self-assurance.

In a riveting one-hour interview last Sunday on CBS’s 60 Minutes, the president revealed more details about his decision to authorize the attack, a move he took at great risk to the Seals team and at great political peril to his presidency should the mission fail.

“This was a very difficult decision, in part because the evidence that we had was not absolutely conclusive,” Mr. Obama told Steve Kroft. “This was circumstantial evidence that he was gonna be there.
Obviously it entailed enormous risk to the guys that I sent in there.
But ultimately I had so much confidence in the capacity of our guys to carry out the mission that I felt that the risks were outweighed by the potential benefit of us finally getting our man.”

All Americans can rest assured that Bin Laden has seen justice, and we all can be proud that our country has a leader who is able to take care of more than one thing at a time while deflecting the steady stream of inconsequential nonsense – things like the Trump/birther lies, the intransigence of the opposition political party, and the looming threat of  Congressman Dan Issa’s plan to issue subpoenas to the White House.

While the debate rages in Washington over the prolonged effects of the recession, over lingering hard-core unemployment, and over supporting multiple military actions in several parts of the world, it is simply despicable that the Republicans are digging in and refusing any semblance of compromise.

Remember, it was U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell who famously said that his party’s first and most important priority should be to ensure that Mr. Obama does not get re-elected. It was a moment of clarity and truth from the GOP leader, but not one that could be said to be especially patriotic.

The mean-spirited divide that persists in America can best be seen in this one vignette: Last week, when President Obama made plans to visit Ground Zero in New York City for a moment to remember the victims of  the terrorism attacks in the wake of Bin laden’s demise, it was reported that he reached out and invited former President George W. Bush to join him in sharing the moment. Bush declined. Somehow, it appears, the Republicans believe that the 2012 election, still 18 months away, is more important than coming together at these historic moments in our country’s history.

Politics vs. leadership. Thank God our country has a real leader in the White House today.

– Ed Forry