On Monday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer became the to criticize President Barack Obama using the successful mission to kill terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden for political purposes, calling the president’s campaign ad “not only inaccurate, but unseemly.”
Krauthammer cited Mitt Romney’s Monday reply, in which he said that even former President Jimmy Carter would have made the same call. Krauthammer reminded viewers that Carter indeed demonstrated he would have made that call based upon his failed 1980 Operation Evening Light mission to rescue hostages held captive at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran.
“Look, Romney is certainly right when he says ‘I would have done it,’” Krauthammer said. “There’s nobody of prominence in Washington that would not have done it, other than by his own admission the man who is a heartbeat away from the presidency — Joe Biden. And of course anybody would.”
“And Romney is right that Jimmy Carter would have done it,” he continued. “Jimmy Carter, in fact, did something harder, which he had no success at. It was an extraction operation from a far distance, which is a lot easier — a lot easier to go in to kill than it is to extract your own people unharmed — and he had a failure on his hands. Of course it would have been done.”
“Iran — that was the tragic mission where the helicopters crashed into each other, and we were out to rescue the hostages and it didn’t succeed,” he explained. “So I think that is sort of an open-and-shut case.”
But Krauthammer was particularly critical of the politics, saying that the use of the bin Laden mission was inaccurate, since Romney’s words were taken out of context, as well as “unseemly.”
“And I think there is also a case to be made that Obama’s attacks are not only inaccurate, but unseemly,” Krauthammer said. “Inaccurate because Romney was talking about the larger context of the war on terror and second, what he was saying in 2008 was that you don’t announce that you’re going into Pakistan because you don’t want to poison relations, but you do it. In fact, Obama himself, when he did the raid, did not announce he was going in in public. In fact, he didn’t even tell the Pakistanis privately until it was over. So that’s a matter of diplomacy. And it’s unseemly because the killing of bin Laden is a moment of solemnity, catharsis for the United States. Obama has every right to say I did it as a way to immunize himself against the traditional charges of being weak, but to taunt his opponent in saying, ‘I did it and you wouldn’t’ is unseemly and partisan. I think it’s a big political mistake.”