In spite of the bad news – natural disasters, rising fuel prices, budget cuts, and a still faltering economy – Obama recently had a chance to announce two bits of good news.
In response to what Obama believed was quickly becoming a distraction of “sideshows and carnival barkers” – the growing number of “birthers” questioning his citizenship – he appeared on national television on April 27, 2011 to announce the release of his long form birth certificate. Three years and countless conspiracy theorists after releasing the short form birth certificate, the long form has been made public. But the President can only hope he has put the issue to rest and refocus the nation on the real issues; of unemployment, national debt, and war to name a few. “We do not have time for this kind of silliness,” he stated. ”We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve.”
Just days after the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate, another announcement from the White House was proof that the President had quickly moved on to dealing with one of those “big problems”. On May 1, 2011 he announced the success of a Navy Seal operation to find and kill one of the country’s greatest enemies, Osama bin Laden. The powerful, extremist leader of al Qaida has avoided capture for over 10 year, eluding intelligence agencies, the U.S. military, and three presidents.
But not this Hawaii-born boy. Obama told 60 Minutes Steve Kroft that even before he was elected, one of his primary concerns was bringing bin Laden to justice for the thousands of deaths he has caused, reminding Kroft, “When I was still campaigning for president I had said that if I ever get a shot at bin Laden we’re gonna take it.” Obama described the time, attention, and resources that the U.S. committed to following through on this promise. While the CIA collected intelligence on bin Laden’s whereabouts, an action plan was also being formulated.
And it paid off. Intelligence found that bin Laden had been hiding not in caves as many had believed and reported, but rather, in a million dollar compound in a residential area in Pakistan for at least the past five years. With this information, a thorough understanding of the compound, a detailed plan of attack, and highly trained Special Forces, the President felt confident in giving the go ahead.
Obama stated that one additional reason- perhaps one of the most important – that this operation was a success when so many others have failed, was the fact that it was kept secret, even from top senior aides. He told Kroft, “It’s a testimony to how seriously everybody took this operation and the understanding that any leak could end up not only compromising the mission, but killing some of the guys that we were sending in there.”
Obama has undoubtedly restored some confidence in the American people, quieted some birthers, and taken down a terrorist. But how big will these big announcements prove to be in the long run? As anticipated, many birthers still believe the long form birth certificate is a fake. And many terrorists are still roaming free, some feared to be making plans in retaliation of the death of their leader. The President and the country will, no doubt, need to remain vigilant in the days ahead, but may rest a bit easier knowing that dedicated intelligence teams, highly trained troops, and a confident, committed President have met some recent, notable successes.