The Debate Over Who Can Say “Ok”

This pseudo debate over whether a President Romney ‘would have made the same call’ as President Obama did, the one which ultimately led to the assassination of Osama bin Laden, has been mind-boggling. As are the side debates over whether President Obama ‘gets credit’ for it, or is ‘spiking the football’, or whatever.

It occurs to me there may be a mismatch between my and others’ mental models of what it means for a President to decide such a thing – as in, what it actually entailed, physically.

Here’s how I think it went down, more or less, and feel free to fill in any details you think you have more insight into:

A general or similar high ranking military type called, contacted, or met with the President. He said 1. We think we now know where OBL is, 2. We have a contingency plan we could trigger to get him, 3. Shall we, then, proceed, sir?

And here’s the momentous, tough-call decision that President Obama made:

“Ok.”

Or possibly:

“Sure.”

(Again, anyone who somehow believes President Obama’s involvement in or planning of the OBL operation was significantly deeper than this, feel free to elaborate, I’d be fascinated.)

Anywa, so what the current debate involves is, a bunch of people pretending to believe Mitt Romney would have said “Naw” instead of “Ok”. Right? That’s what people are asserting.

Which is hilarious. I just don’t know which is more hilarious, the idea that Mitt Romney wouldn’t be able to (know how to?) say “Ok”, or the implication that Obama’s saying “Ok” was some sort of gigantic accomplishment. Actually, the latter is really more sad and pathetic than it is hilarious.

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6 Responses to The Debate Over Who Can Say “Ok”

  1. Bayowolf says:

    The Dems are charging that since Romney is on record for criticizing the mission back when it happened, that he would have said “Nah!” had he been President. Whatever they want to make of that…

    • Right. But that cannot possibly be seriously believed by anyone with a brain. Unless of course their mental model of what it meant for Obama to ok that mission differs substantially from mine, in which case, I wonder how??

  2. Bayowolf says:

    Personally, the decision to get OBL was a no-brainer. I’m sure there were ramifications to consider…like doing this in Pakistan (who had been a military ally of ours since the beginning of the Cold War) without the Pakistanis’ consent.

  3. Borepatch says:

    I think they’re making such a fuss about it because they’ve been the ones who have been soft on foreign policy for decades (since LBJ?). It’s been a while since they could thump their chests.

  4. SkepticalCynical says:

    You might be selling short the degree to which the nameless general had to do some fast talking to get the option in front of the President in the first place (Jarrett seems a likely source of opposition from what I’ve read).

    I also believe that any president would scrutinize the political risks. Obama probably added nothing to the operational planning, but I’d assume he asked questions, and was satisfied with the answers, about the odds of success, the worst case outcome with Pakistan, the potential for an Operation Eagle Claw-esque black eye, etc.

    It’s not the profile in courage that Obama’s campaign wants to depict, but it probably wasn’t a no-brainer either.

    • Right, but in the end, all he had to do was say ‘ok’ or ‘nah, let’s not and say we did’. If even President Obama got to the former answer, the idea that Romney wouldn’t have is risible. Regardless of what he is quoted as saying in 2007 about Pakistan generally, or whatever the gotcha quote is supposed to be.

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