Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Written by Tex Manchester   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012

As Barack continues to bray about how he made the "gutsy call" to kill Bin Laden, it's been pointed out that the call wasn't his at all - it was Admiral William McRaven's - whom President Gutsy Call would have been able to scapegoat if the op had gone sideways.  We know this because of a memo from CIA Director Leon Panetta, recently obtained by Time magazine.

Yet Zero's campaign film, The Road We've Traveled, maintains the fiction, with Joe Biden saying:

"We sat down in the Situation Room, the entire national security apparatus was in that room, and the President turns to every principal in the room, every secretary, ‘What do you recommend I do?' And they say, ‘Well, forty-nine percent chance he's there, fifty-one ... it's a close call, Mr. President.' As he walked out the room, it dawned on me, he's all alone. This is his decision. If he was wrong, his Presidency was done. Over."

Now we know it wasn't his decision, it was a CYA move - thus, the hero of the story is McRaven, not Zero.  This is a good point - but there is a much bigger one - and it has been missed by all the media, including those on our side.  Which means there's a real story here no one in public knows - except for TTPers now!

The clue to this is that Biden is either lying or in his typical brain fog when he claims the "entire national security apparatus" was giving the POTUS such low odds for the success of a mission that had such serious potential down side consequences.  While Biden says they were around 50-50, let's assume they were no higher than 55-45.

Zero himself bragged afterwards that if the raid had gone wrong, the down side was really serious - captured operatives; a sneak attack/invasion into, and armed combat against, a sovereign allied nation with collateral damage; inadvertently pouncing on a wealthy prince from Dubai or whatever, etc.  Had this operation gone bad the geopolitical damage would have been much worse than just to his administration.

Yet, according to The Gutsy Call Scenario, he chose to take a 45% chance of that happening.  There is no way this can be true.

I know from my experience in special ops and many years in leadership positions at Wing and numbered Air Force level, that the military does not offer the national command authority an op plan with only a 55% chance of success - not even when there is a rather innocuous down side potential.  When planning an optional (i.e. unforced) mission our military operates closer to the 90% range - and higher when the down side potential is as serious as it was for the Bin Laden take out. 

In fact, this mission is an example of the operational confidence we normally exercise when we take action of our own choosing.

The mission was well planned, with a lot of back-op resources, alternate courses of action, redundancies, etc.  Things went wrong on this mission - they even lost one of the primary helicopters for the critical ex-fil.  Yet another helicopter "magically" appeared and they pulled it off, getting Bin Laden and, most importantly, getting all our men out.

Additional proof that there was excess capacity on this mission is the fact that they actually spent 40 minutes on the ground gathering intelligence before leaving.  This shows a lot of confidence that they had things well under control.  This was not the chancy mission that Obama would have us believe it was. 

The professionalism, courage, and intensity of each team member are what made it a success.  The mission was planned based on the certainty that these very special operatives could deliver, under the most challenging of circumstances, and they did.  It is sobering to realize that success for this mission was defined as: first, getting Bin Laden; and second, getting all our combatants out - dead or alive. 

The real story - which no one has picked up on, and which I am sure the military has been instructed to keep quiet about - is that Obama was told we were as certain as we could be that Bin Laden was there, and that our chances of killing him and getting all our troops out, even if some were killed in action, was in the 90% + range.  

Obama is so stupid, or so caught up in his own macho narcissism, that he thinks he looks better telling every one that he was brave enough to take a 55-45 chance with our national security interests.  I think that just makes him look even dumber. 

Everybody, even the Republicans, state that Obama deserves credit for deciding to take Bin Laden out.  Well... yes, in fact I think he does, although what he was really told was that the plan he was presented with made operational sense.  And yes, he did take a chance, albeit a small chance.  Most importantly he showed that he was willing to place confidence in our military - I like that.

But the Republicans are missing an opportunity to really pound him.  The Republicans should be turning his own risk assessment against him.  No responsible leader would put our national interests up on a 55-45 bet.  Our country cannot afford such a leader - nor one so stupid to brag about it, and when it isn't true.

Tex Manchester is a retired career US military officer and long-time TTPer.

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