Try as we might, we are unable to picture Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman or Dwight D. Eisenhower spiking the ball at the end of World War II.
The image of George H.W. Bush doing an end-zone dance in celebration of evicting Iraqi invaders from Kuwait in under 100 hours is equally hard to imagine.
All of those leaders had one thing in common. They were effusive in their praise of the heroic men and women who did the actual fighting, bleeding and quite often dying that were the primary factor in great American battlefield victories. While the responsibility of sending Americans into battle was surely difficult, they each made it clear that their role was in no way comparable to, say, wading into machine gun fire on Omaha Beach.
With that in mind, it is particularly distressing to see our current president repeatedly emphasizing his personal role in the successful raid one year ago that killed the mass murderer Osama bin Laden, an embarrassing spectacle that seems to be occurring with increasing frequency in this election year.
Barack Obama clearly took a political risk in green-lighting the Navy SEAL raid on that compound, but that in no way compares to the physical risk of the men who accomplished the mission. And, consider the political risk had the president not given the go-ahead, and it later became known that he let bin Laden get away.
We don't buy the notion that it was only after President Obama took office that the effort to get bin Laden became serious. That cynically diminishes the role of the thousands of servicemen and women who have fought, and some who have died, over the last 10 years in Afghanistan, the great work of our intelligence operatives that ultimately found the needle in the haystack, and the determination of this and the previous administration to track down the man responsible for almost 3,000 American deaths on Sept. 11, 2001.
We surely would have preferred a simple statement from our president that it took 10 years, but we finally got our man, thanks to the dedicated and brave Americans who found him and then took him out. This was an American victory, not a Democrat or Republican victory.
Bugle music sounds a lot better when it is someone else playing the bugle.
Spectacles like this go a long way toward explaining those polls that show that Americans have vast regard for our military, and rock bottom regard for our politicians.
— North Platte (Neb.) Telegraph