Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Obama's Hype of Seal Team 6 Crosses The Line
FT. PIERCE, Fla. - Members of SEAL Team 18 swim into the ocean to release the ashes of fellow SEALs who have died within the last year during a ceremony at Fort Pierce Beach, Fla., Nov. 7. The ceremony was part of the 25th Annual Navy Seal Muster hosted by the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum. (Photo / Senior Airman Anna-Marie Wyant).
Leif Babin's post about President Obama's recent exploitation of our US Navy Seals was picked up by the Wall Street Journal and at least a dozen other national press operations during this past week.
Mr. Babin is a former Navy SEAL officer who served three tours in Iraq, earning a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. He left active duty six months ago.
In case you missed it President Obama made a big point to hype the use of US Navy Seals to free a couple of hostages in Somalia. Nothing wrong with that except that in the past the commander in chief would keep it all on the down low.
This doesn't sit well with those of us who understand the risks of these missions, and the fear the families of these men endure every time they walk out the door. The last thing they need is added attention.
Mr. Babib writes:
America's premier Special Operations force is once again in the headlines after a team of Navy SEALs rescued two hostages from captivity in Somalia last week. Elite U.S. forces have carried out such operations periodically over the past decade, always with skill and bravery. The difference in recent months is that the details of their work haven't remained secret. On the contrary, government officials have revealed them for political gain—endangering our forces in the process.
The floodgates opened after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last May, and the Obama administration's lack of discretion was on display again at last week's State of the Union address. As President Obama entered the House chamber, in full view of the cameras, he pointed to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and exclaimed: "Good job tonight, good job tonight." Clearly something had happened that he wanted the world to know about.
After delivering his speech, which included multiple references to the bin Laden raid, the president again thanked Mr. Panetta. "That was a good thing tonight," he said as if to ensure that the viewing public, if they missed it initially, would get it a second time around.
Sure enough, shortly thereafter, the White House announced the successful rescue of the hostages in Somalia by U.S. Special Operations forces. Vice President Biden appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" to highlight the success the next morning, and Mr. Panetta also publicly praised it. Then came the "anonymous U.S. officials" to provide extensive details of who conducted the raid and how. As with the bin Laden operation, the top-secret unit that carried it out was again front-page news, as were its methods and tactics.
Our special operators do not welcome this publicity. In fact, from conversations I've had in recent days, it's clear they are dismayed by it.
The rest of Babin's piece is here.