The behavior of a politician in an election year can often be sketchy: Attack ads, fake smiles and bragging. When the politician is the current President of the United States of America, one expects at least a little decorum. President Obama has stepped way over the line of good taste in a new campaign ad that has some US Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, and Land Teams-the US Navy's elite special ops force) pretty ticked off.
On April 27th, Barack Obama's 'Truth Team' released a one and-a-half-minute long ad called 'One Chance'. In the ad, former president Bill Clinton talks about the decision to strike the Pakistani hideout of Osama Bin Laden back in May of 2011. He says that Obama took 'the harder and the more honorable path' by issuing the order to kill. On the screen it flashes, 'Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?' The ad quotes some comments that Romney made back in 2007 that supposedly show that he would not have made the proper choice...taken the 'one chance', that President Obama took.
Understandably, many SEALs, active and inactive, are speaking out against the use of the operation, manned by the elite SEAL Team Six, in a political ad. Sen. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) is a former US Navy Commander and a 28-year vet who actually led a Team Six unit. In a quote from Daily Mail, Zinke said, "The decision was a no-brainer. I applaud him for making it, but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call. The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable." Predictable? Maybe, but not appropriate.
Defending the ad at a news conference Monday, Obama said, "I said that I'd go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they'd do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it." The president obviously made the correct choice; however, using it as a campaign tool cheapens the work done by the SEALs and other people involved.
An active SEAL told the Daily Mail, "But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, 'Come on, man!' It really didn't matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go." Even Arianna Huffington of Obama's favorite website, Huffington Post, was dismayed. She said that celebrating the anniversary was fine, "but to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do."
It would be interesting to see the real reaction to the ad from people who watch YouTube, but as usual, the campaign is filtering comments. They allow a few negative posts, but there is still an overwhelming majority of positive comments. When someone posts the video on a free comment channel, it might give a more accurate view.
President Obama needs to do the right thing and take the ad off the air. While he has every right in the world to be proud of his decision and the work done based on his decision, it is nothing that should be glorified. Shortly after the mission, he told the press that "we shouldn't 'spike the ball' after the touchdown." Isn't that exactly what he's doing with this ad? Out of respect for the people involved in the mission, in particular, the mission participating SEALs who died in the August 2011 helicopter crash, he must pull the ad.
Â© Margie Wilson-Mars 2012