Obama Exploits Navy Seals

Ed Lasky
For a basketball player, Barack Obama sure can stoop low.

Leif Babin, a much-decorated Navy Seal, takes President Obama to task for exploiting Navy Seal operations to gain votes. This is not harmless credit-hogging by Barack Obama for the heroism and tough decision-making by our military. Babin -- joining a range of others -- writes in today's Wall Street Journal that Barack Obama is endangering the lives of Navy Seals for cheap political points:

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.

Babin noted that the work of special ops teams are highly classified for good reasons that make it illegal for military personnel to divulge details to anyone.  However, President Obama and his team have opened the floodgates -- virtually every detail of the bin Laden raid was widely publicized and is now available to anyone with the click of a mouse. The Defense Secretary added to the problems when he disclosed the name of a Pakistani doctor who was key to discovering the whereabouts of bin Laden. That doctor is now is a Pakistani prison and Panetta's disclosure will undoubtedly make his life worse.

These disclosures endanger lives and will make future operations that much riskier.  Babin, who has put his life at stake numerous times in battle, knows the game being played with him and his fellow soldiers serving the roles of pawns in a political farce:

It is infuriating to see political gain put above the safety and security of our brave warriors and our long-term strategic goals. Loose lips sink ships.

Babin, as noted above, is not the only observer to question Obama's priorities.

J.D. Gordon, a  retired navy commander, writes in the Washington Times about Obama's deadly new PR firm:

The dramatic rescue of an American aid worker and her Danish colleague in Somalia by Navy commandos was a terrific encore to the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan nine months ago. However, all the White House-driven publicity for both events has helped turn the once-secret SEAL Team 6 into a household term, with likely negative consequences...

The military still avoids discussion of the unit and its highly classified missions...

The one and only reason why there has been so much recent publicity on SEAL Team 6 rests with the commander in chief.

Casting aside decades of careful leadership to keep these stealth warriors out of the public eye, away from would-be revenge-seekers and assorted far-left protesters, Mr. Obama has discussed their exploits to such an extent that their mystique is largely diminished - and their identities closer to being disclosed.

Gordon sharpened his focus and characterizes Obama's unwanted publicizing of Navy Seals missions for what it is: a political ploy:

The first problem with Mr. Obama singling out our elite units is that they all live and train somewhere. High-profile discussions draw more attention to them personally, their families, their bases and their local communities. That presents force-protection concerns in our open society, where the Sept. 11 hijackers lived freely and the "Occupy" protesters have run amok.

The second problem is that heaping such praise on a select few in uniform can be deceiving. Instead of Americans focusing on how Mr. Obama is weakening the military with a projected $1 trillion in defense cuts over the next decade, the elimination of 100,000 ground troops, cuts in personnel incentives such as tuition assistance for college, and raised retiree health care costs, many might mistakenly conclude that he actually is a strong, pro-military leader. Thus, voters might be tempted to give him a second term, while in reality, he is slashing defense budgets, as Mr. Carter did.

Who would have guessed that Navy Seals -- among the most courageous of our soldiers -- have been drafted to serve as Obama reelection campaign volunteers?

Ironically, the Pentagon spending cuts that the administration is planning will put even more demands on special operation forces.  Thousands of combat troops will be eliminated from the Army and Marines Corps. The Obama team is trying to allay fears regarding our weakness by suggesting that Special Operations can pick up the "slack."   However, the members of Special Forces are selected from a larger pool of personnel in regular forces. By reducing the strength of those units, the pool of good recruits gets smaller.  Also, Special Forces operate in conjunction with larger units in the Army, Navy, and Marines Corps. By reducing the strength of those forces, Special Operations units may not be as potent.  Even more impactful and damaging that at the same time the administration is stating its goal is to rely more on Special Forces, its own actions are endangering future missions.

But, of course, the exploitation get worse. Obama is allowing his Hollywood donors to coin a profit from the heroic bin Laden mission the Seals undertook. Obama supporters in Hollywood are rushing to make a film about the raid originally scheduled to be released one month before the election. Apparently, the administration is greasing the way for the people behind the film/campaign spot to have high-level access to speed along the production.

Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Security Committee, has called for an investigation, as Caroline May of the Daily Caller has noted:

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has called for an investigation into reports that the Obama administration is granting Sony Pictures and director Kathryn Bigelow "high-level access" for a film about the Navy SEAL operation which killed Osama Bin Laden. The movie is scheduled for release one month before the 2012 presidential election. By the time it hits the screen, will Obama be portrayed as a heroic commander-in-chief in the way that John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower were? Hollywood is one creative town.

New York Republican Rep. Peter King sent a letter Tuesday to Defense Department Inspector General Gordon Heddell and CIA Inspector General David Buckley, expressing his concern about declassifying sensitive information for pure entertainment.

Obama is masking with photo-ops the fact that he is eviscerating our military to fund programs that reward his base. Obama has previously defined politics as all about rewarding friends and punishing enemies.  He has been sending hundreds of billions of dollars to his base (government workers, crony capitalists, environmentalists -- the list goes on and on) while slashing funds for our military.  He rewards his friends in Hollywood by using the powers of his office to aid them in producing a film that will undoubtedly reflect well on him. Cleverly, the Hollywood cast of characters  behind this film do not even have to declare the millions spent on this film as a campaign contribution. Barack Obama is cynically using our soldiers as political props for his campaign.

When the Commander-in-Chief exploits the heroic work of our military he not only degrades the office but endangers the lives of our soldiers.

This is a dereliction of duty on his part-and he should suffer the political equivalent of a court martial come November.

For a basketball player, Barack Obama sure can stoop low.

Leif Babin, a much-decorated Navy Seal, takes President Obama to task for exploiting Navy Seal operations to gain votes. This is not harmless credit-hogging by Barack Obama for the heroism and tough decision-making by our military. Babin -- joining a range of others -- writes in today's Wall Street Journal that Barack Obama is endangering the lives of Navy Seals for cheap political points:

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.

Babin noted that the work of special ops teams are highly classified for good reasons that make it illegal for military personnel to divulge details to anyone.  However, President Obama and his team have opened the floodgates -- virtually every detail of the bin Laden raid was widely publicized and is now available to anyone with the click of a mouse. The Defense Secretary added to the problems when he disclosed the name of a Pakistani doctor who was key to discovering the whereabouts of bin Laden. That doctor is now is a Pakistani prison and Panetta's disclosure will undoubtedly make his life worse.

These disclosures endanger lives and will make future operations that much riskier.  Babin, who has put his life at stake numerous times in battle, knows the game being played with him and his fellow soldiers serving the roles of pawns in a political farce:

It is infuriating to see political gain put above the safety and security of our brave warriors and our long-term strategic goals. Loose lips sink ships.

Babin, as noted above, is not the only observer to question Obama's priorities.

J.D. Gordon, a  retired navy commander, writes in the Washington Times about Obama's deadly new PR firm:

The dramatic rescue of an American aid worker and her Danish colleague in Somalia by Navy commandos was a terrific encore to the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan nine months ago. However, all the White House-driven publicity for both events has helped turn the once-secret SEAL Team 6 into a household term, with likely negative consequences...

The military still avoids discussion of the unit and its highly classified missions...

The one and only reason why there has been so much recent publicity on SEAL Team 6 rests with the commander in chief.

Casting aside decades of careful leadership to keep these stealth warriors out of the public eye, away from would-be revenge-seekers and assorted far-left protesters, Mr. Obama has discussed their exploits to such an extent that their mystique is largely diminished - and their identities closer to being disclosed.

Gordon sharpened his focus and characterizes Obama's unwanted publicizing of Navy Seals missions for what it is: a political ploy:

The first problem with Mr. Obama singling out our elite units is that they all live and train somewhere. High-profile discussions draw more attention to them personally, their families, their bases and their local communities. That presents force-protection concerns in our open society, where the Sept. 11 hijackers lived freely and the "Occupy" protesters have run amok.

The second problem is that heaping such praise on a select few in uniform can be deceiving. Instead of Americans focusing on how Mr. Obama is weakening the military with a projected $1 trillion in defense cuts over the next decade, the elimination of 100,000 ground troops, cuts in personnel incentives such as tuition assistance for college, and raised retiree health care costs, many might mistakenly conclude that he actually is a strong, pro-military leader. Thus, voters might be tempted to give him a second term, while in reality, he is slashing defense budgets, as Mr. Carter did.

Who would have guessed that Navy Seals -- among the most courageous of our soldiers -- have been drafted to serve as Obama reelection campaign volunteers?

Ironically, the Pentagon spending cuts that the administration is planning will put even more demands on special operation forces.  Thousands of combat troops will be eliminated from the Army and Marines Corps. The Obama team is trying to allay fears regarding our weakness by suggesting that Special Operations can pick up the "slack."   However, the members of Special Forces are selected from a larger pool of personnel in regular forces. By reducing the strength of those units, the pool of good recruits gets smaller.  Also, Special Forces operate in conjunction with larger units in the Army, Navy, and Marines Corps. By reducing the strength of those forces, Special Operations units may not be as potent.  Even more impactful and damaging that at the same time the administration is stating its goal is to rely more on Special Forces, its own actions are endangering future missions.

But, of course, the exploitation get worse. Obama is allowing his Hollywood donors to coin a profit from the heroic bin Laden mission the Seals undertook. Obama supporters in Hollywood are rushing to make a film about the raid originally scheduled to be released one month before the election. Apparently, the administration is greasing the way for the people behind the film/campaign spot to have high-level access to speed along the production.

Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Security Committee, has called for an investigation, as Caroline May of the Daily Caller has noted:

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has called for an investigation into reports that the Obama administration is granting Sony Pictures and director Kathryn Bigelow "high-level access" for a film about the Navy SEAL operation which killed Osama Bin Laden. The movie is scheduled for release one month before the 2012 presidential election. By the time it hits the screen, will Obama be portrayed as a heroic commander-in-chief in the way that John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower were? Hollywood is one creative town.

New York Republican Rep. Peter King sent a letter Tuesday to Defense Department Inspector General Gordon Heddell and CIA Inspector General David Buckley, expressing his concern about declassifying sensitive information for pure entertainment.

Obama is masking with photo-ops the fact that he is eviscerating our military to fund programs that reward his base. Obama has previously defined politics as all about rewarding friends and punishing enemies.  He has been sending hundreds of billions of dollars to his base (government workers, crony capitalists, environmentalists -- the list goes on and on) while slashing funds for our military.  He rewards his friends in Hollywood by using the powers of his office to aid them in producing a film that will undoubtedly reflect well on him. Cleverly, the Hollywood cast of characters  behind this film do not even have to declare the millions spent on this film as a campaign contribution. Barack Obama is cynically using our soldiers as political props for his campaign.

When the Commander-in-Chief exploits the heroic work of our military he not only degrades the office but endangers the lives of our soldiers.

This is a dereliction of duty on his part-and he should suffer the political equivalent of a court martial come November.