A number of commentators have noticed that President Obama’s announcement of the killing of Osama Bin Laden was focused on himself and his decisions, and was lacking in giving credit to the Navy Seals who actually risked their lives in carrying out the mission.
But it’s worse than that.
I picked up something in an interview last night that troubles me. Bret Baier was interviewing White House Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough on Fox on Special Report. I have a transcript of Baier’s question, and McDonough’s answer. I’m going to include the “uhs” and hesitations, because they’re significant here. There’s a very revealing slip in McDonough’s answer:
Baier: “Will part of that be more leverage on Pakistan?”
McDonough: “Well, I think we’re going to take, continue to take the fight to Al Qaeda in, in Pakistan, but we’re going to continue to take it to Al Qaeda elsewhere – in Yemen, Southeast Asia, and East Africa, uh, so we’re going to stay on the offense against these guys, we’ve got ’em in a good spot at the moment, because of the good work…, because of the tough decisions the President took, but we’re not going to let up. Now’s the time, in fact, to really drive forward.”
Notice that, in his answer, McDonough started to say, “because of the good work …” but caught himself, and then switched to instead credit Obama. The work, of course, was done by the intelligence community and by the Seals. It appears that his instinct was to credit them, which would be natural, but then he switched and instead credited Obama. It creates the appearance that he was coached or instructed or had decided to direct his praise toward Obama, rather than to those who did the hard work.