Contrary To Claims On Fox, Obama Has Repeatedly Thanked And Praised Troops Who Killed Bin Laden

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER & ERIC SCHROECK

Fox News figures celebrated the anniversary of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden by attacking President Obama for not giving the military personnel that carried out the mission "the credit that's due to them." But Obama has repeatedly praised and thanked the Navy SEALs and other military and intelligence individuals who participated in the mission.

Fox Figures Claim Obama Is Denying Military "The Credit That's Due To Them" For Bin Laden Mission

Bolling Thanks "SEAL Team 6" Because Obama "Failed To Mention" Them. On the May 1 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Eric Bolling played clips of Obama and former President Clinton discussing the raid that killed Bin Laden and responded by claiming Obama "failed to mention the Navy SEALs" and said, "I'll do it for you, Mr. President. Thank you SEAL Team 6." From Fox News' The Five:

BOLLING: Presidents Clinton and Obama failed to mention the Navy SEALs who executed the target, the CIA who gleaned the intel to pull off the mission and most importantly the reason that we were ever in a position to kill bin Laden, namely the declared "War on Terror" by the Bush administration. So I guess I'll do it for you, Mr. President. Thank you, SEAL Team 6, thank you CIA intelligence gatherers, and thank you George Bush and Dick Cheney. [Fox News, The Five, 5/1/12]

Rove: "President Obama Doesn't Want To Give Credit To Anybody But His Own Brilliance." On the May 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Fox News contributor Karl Rove claimed that "the SEAL team, the logistics people, the pilots, all of those who planned and executed this mission have sort of gone back into the shadows as President Obama's put a big Klieg light on himself for the purpose of launching a partisan attack against his presumptive Republican opponent." Later in the segment, Rove said, "I know President Obama doesn't want to give credit to anybody but his own brilliance," but that the "president would make himself look bigger if he made" the Navy SEALs "look bigger by giving them the credit that's due to them." [Fox News, Hannity, 5/2/12]

Krauthammer: Obama Said, "It's All About Me," But "What About The Guys Out There Who Did It?" On the May 3 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer claimed that Obama used bin Laden's death "inappropriately for himself" and asked, "What about the guys out there who did it and who risked their lives?" From Special Report:

KRAUTHAMMER: It isn't just that Obama has managed to turn a positive, something he did well, into a negative by attacking, using it as a partisan weapon which diminishes him. Also, it diminishes the solemnity of the event, which was a national event, and he used it inappropriately for himself. It is the narcissism -- and that is the deeper issue here -- how they quote Obama again and again, using the first personal pronoun in his announcement of the event. It's all about me, I commander-in-chief, I ordered it, I did this. What about the guys out there who did it and who risked their lives?

And secondly, this idea that what was at stake was the political fortunes of the president if the lives of his own soldiers whom he ordered into battle were lost. That is devastating, because I think it speaks to an underlying issue with Obama, of the self-regard and the narcissism that is implicit in a lot of what he does, but involved in an event of this kind where soldiers are at risk, I think it really hits hard. And if -- if this ad were to play around the country, I think it would have a devastating effect. [Fox News, Special Report, 5/3/12]

Bolling: "Nowhere Do You Hear" Obama Say "Thank You SEAL Team 6." On the May 3 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity responded to an NBC News interview with Obama about the raid that killed bin Laden by claiming, "The president insists on gloating one year after the heroic raid by our Navy SEALs." Later in the program, Fox News' The Five co-host Eric Bolling claimed, "Nowhere do you hear, anywhere do you hear, 'thank you Navy ... Thank you SEAL Team 6." From Hannity:

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (Fox News host): It's almost unbelievable. You think, how does he get away with this? And wouldn't you be embarrassed and a little ashamed to be gloating and taking one successive victory lap after another --

HANNITY: He's not.

GUILFOYLE: Why does he even need a campaign or a team, because he's got the mainstream media. He has NBC throwing this all out for him. Unbelievable.

HANNITY: Somebody's got to file a complaint with the [FCC]. You can't buy that type of free coverage on a --

BOLLING: I can't imagine how much they would have to pay if they were going to buy that coverage. This is a full hour of "what, look what I did, look what we did. I, me, I, we, we, me. Nowhere, anywhere do you hear thank you Navy --

HANNITY: "I, we, I, me."

GUILFOYLE: Yeah.

BOLLING: -- "Thank you SEAL Team 6, thank you CIA enhanced interrogation group" that got the intel that led to the kill shot that President Obama may or may not have actually taken himself. We don't really know exactly how that went down. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/3/12]

In Fact, Obama Has Repeatedly Thanked And Praised Military Personnel That Executed The Mission

Obama: "We Give Thanks For The Men Who Carried Out This Operation, For They Exemplify The Professionalism, Patriotism, And Unparalleled Courage Of Those Who Serve Our Country." In his May 2, 2011, address announcing the operation that killed bin Laden, Obama gave "thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country." From the White House:

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

[...]

Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who've worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day. [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/2/11]

Obama: Navy SEALs "Deserve Credit For One Of The Greatest Intelligence Military Operations In Our Nation's History." In a May 6, 2011, speech to troops stationed at Fort Campbell, Obama said the troops involved in the mission "deserve credit for one of the greatest intelligence military operations in our nation's history." He also stated: "Thanks to the incredible skill and courage of countless individuals -- intelligence, military -- over many years, the terrorist leader who struck our nation on 9/11 will never threaten America again." From the White House:

Thanks to the incredible skill and courage of countless individuals


intelligence, military

over many years, the terrorist leader who struck our nation on 9/11 will never threaten America again.

[...]

And today, here at Fort Campbell, I had the privilege of meeting the extraordinary Special Ops folks who honored that promise. It was a chance for me to say


on behalf of all Americans and people around the world

"Job well done." Job well done. (Applause.)

They're America's "quiet professionals" -- because success demands secrecy. But I will say this. Like all of you, they could have chosen a life of ease. But like you, they volunteered. They chose to serve in a time of war, knowing they could be sent into harm's way. They trained for years. They're battle-hardened. They practiced tirelessly for this mission. And when I gave the order, they were ready.

Now, in recent days, the whole world has learned just how ready they were. These Americans deserve credit for one of the greatest intelligence military operations in our nation's history. But so does every person who wears America's uniform, the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.) And that includes all of you men and women of 101st. (Applause.) [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/6/11]

Obama Privately Thanked Navy SEAL Team That Killed Bin Laden. A May 5, 2011, ABC News article reported that Obama "privately thanked the Navy SEALs who cornered and killed Osama bin Laden, congratulating them for a 'job well done.'" From ABC News:

President Obama today privately thanked the Navy SEALs who cornered and killed Osama bin Laden, congratulating them for a "job well done."

The president met the elite Team 6 squad on the same day that bin Laden's terror network, al Qaeda, admitted that its leader was dead. Al Qaeda vowed that it would try to make America pay for his death.

Among the team members the president met was the SEAL who fired the shot that killed bin Laden, though he was not told which one it was, according to administration sources. [ABC News, 5/6/11]

Obama Awarded Military Units Involved In Mission With Highest Possible Honor That Can Be Given To A Military Unit. A May 6, 2011, CNN article reported that Obama "awarded Presidential Unit Citations to the units involved in the Pakistan mission ... the highest such honor that can be given to a military unit." From CNN:

Obama and Biden thanked the commandos and were briefed on the operation by the unit members who conducted it, according to a White House official.

Obama awarded Presidential Unit Citations to the units involved in the Pakistan mission, the official said. The citation is the highest such honor that can be given to a military unit.

"They practiced tirelessly for this mission, and when I gave the order they were ready," the president told the troops. "They're America's quiet professionals." [CNN, 5/6/11]

Obama: Bin Laden's Death Is "A Mark Of The Excellence Of Our Intelligence Teams And Our Military Teams." In an April 30 press conference, Obama called the operation "a mark of the excellence of our intelligence teams and our military teams." From the White House:

OBAMA: I think that people -- the American people rightly remember what we as a country accomplished in bringing to justice somebody who killed over 3,000 of our citizens. And it's a mark of the excellence of our intelligence teams and our military teams; a political process that worked. And I think for us to use that time for some reflection to give thanks to those who participated is entirely appropriate, and that's what's been taking place. [WhiteHouse.gov, 4/30/12]

Obama: "[B]ecause Of The Sacrifices Now Of A Decade, And A New Greatest Generation ... We Were Able To Finally Bring Osama Bin Laden To Justice." From Obama's May 1 remarks to troops in Afghanistan:

THE PRESIDENT: We don't go looking for a fight. But when we see our homeland violated, when we see our fellow citizens killed, then we understand what we have to do. And because of the sacrifices now of a decade, and a new Greatest Generation, not only were we able to blunt the Taliban momentum, not only were we able to drive al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, but slowly and systematically we have been able to decimate the ranks of al Qaeda, and a year ago we were able to finally bring Osama bin Laden to justice.

TROOPS: Hooah! (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: That could have only happened because each and every one of you, in your own way, were doing your jobs. Each and every one of you -- without a lot of fanfare, without a lot of fuss -- you did your jobs. No matter how small or how big, you were faithful to the oath that you took to protect this nation. And your families did their job -- supporting you and loving you and remembering you and being there for you. [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/1/12]

Obama Says That Flag Presented To Him By SEAL Team "Will Probably Be The Most Important Possession That I Leave With From This Presidency." On the May 2 edition of NBC News' Rock Center, host Brian Williams interviewed Obama about the bin Laden operation. During the interview, Obama said the flag presented to him by Navy SEAL Team 6 will "probably be the most important possession that I leave with from this presidency." From NBC News:

WILLIAMS: Back home, days later the president got to meet the SEALs who had conducted themselves so brilliantly and with characteristic modesty, including the veteran pilot whose expertly controlled crash landing prevented disaster and saved all the SEALs on board his helicopter.

OBAMA: I will tell you, when I saw that pilot, I gave him a pretty good hug.

WILLIAMS: What was it like for you to get to know them and to see them?

OBAMA: Great guys. They presented me with the flag that had gone on that mission, signed by all of them on the back. And I think it's fair to say that will probably be the most important possession that I leave with from this presidency. [NBC News, Rock Center, 5/2/12, via Nexis]

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