Politicians often get or take a lot of credit for things done by many people by the nature of how we view things and of our political system. Conversely, they also get the flack for a lot of things, whether fairly or not because it might have been the errors or poor performance of many others. As the symbolic focal point for a lot of things, that’s how accountability is thrust upon them.
For their sake of accountability, the ability to be able to decide how much or little to get involved is a key trait to a good politician because nobody is an expert at everything. In fact, the more important politicians trusted with responsibility for various portfolios might not even know much about the issue. Their selection of responsibility might be for any number of reasons, from political like having power distributed in an area, to the lack of anyone else suitable, whether by knowledge or decision-making ability.
Sometimes, politicians are heavily involved in the decision-making and shaping of how things turn out. Other times, they just demand, ask questions to learn or just take plain advice and sign papers. Despite what some may think, each level of involvement has its value for different scenarios as nobody is an expert at everything.
In President Obama’s case for the death of Osama bin Laden, the President obviously didn’t fire the shot, or go on the mission. That’s ridiculous to expect. He did not conduct or manage the counter-terrorism and intelligence efforts. That’s not his job, either. Obama did not start the search for Bin Laden because he wasn’t there, though the younger George Bush’s leadership and tactics didn’t get things done in 7 years at it, either. It’s not clear how much people under Bush may have started the final move to make it possible to find bin Laden as it’s a complex story that spans the two Presidents’ rule.
What Obama did do was to direct the CIA chair in June 2009 to refocus on the hunt for bin Laden. Obama also took more interest in August 2010 chair the final five meetings of the National Security Council meetings from mid-March until late April before he made the decision. He made the decision knowing what was told to him, even with advice one way or another, he made the decision knowing the monumental consequences if things went wrong:
- Maybe bin Laden wouldn’t be there or might escape yet again.
- They weren’t telling Pakistan about doing this, essentially going into someone’s country to conduct an assault or coup mission without permission.
- It could all go very wrong.
- Americans or innocent others could be killed.
- America’s image pending what went wrong.
Of course, if things went wrong, he would likely pretty much have to take all the blame for making the decision to go in after bin Laden.
So understanding Obama’s role in the killing of bin Laden, how much credit should Obama get for killing bin Laden?
To help remove political influence, maybe answer these questions before you decide on your final answer above.
- How much blame would you have given Obama (or Obama would have gotten) if things went badly?
- How much credit would you have wanted had you given the orders and things turned out the way they did.
I’ve put a poll below with percentages because people love stats. However, do feel free to give me a written answer in the argument.