In their undoing of Osama Bin Laden (OBL), Navy S.E.A.L.S. have secured their place in the Pantheon of American heroes. Though we knew them as nearly super-human before, now their chiseled stature has acquired added luster as the avengers of America’s 9/11 attacker.
Their arrival as serious cult heroes in our fame obsessed society is evidenced by street vendors selling “S.E.A.L. Team Six” paraphernalia that both celebrates their achievement and allows the presumed wearer of the baseball caps and tee shirts to be a hanger-on in a very elite club. Hollywood has followed with movies and documentaries that relive the moment or mythologize the S.E.A.L mystique.
We Americans love to idolize our warriors and more than a few have ridden our happy feelings into public office or at least into the public eye with varying degrees of success. Perhaps it should not come as much of a surprise that some of these modern day gladiators are taking to the electronic hustings to educate us on their special view of national security, the OBL operation and mostly, the presidential election.
They and their “Special Operations” teammates have created several “swift boat” type organizations which use their exalted perch to attack the President as commander-in-chief over “intelligence leaks” and credit for killing OBL. One of these groups is proudly led by a “birther” which should give you some idea of their intellectual acumen and overall credibility.
Their acknowledged bravery and courage in the field is supposed to automatically translate into heightened wisdom and moral indignation that allows them to become spokespersons for us all, as when they say, “Mr. President, you didn’t kill Bin Laden, America did.”
No, we didn’t. OBL was killed by United States military forces acting under the direction and authority of the President of the United States. The President gave ample credit to those who made it happen and frankly, it’s a cheap political lie to make it sound as if he has or wants to usurp the importance of their accomplishment.
It also plays to the right’s false accusation that Obama is weak and needs to associate himself with the warrior ethos. If they haven’t noticed, America is tired of war, especially ones where our allies regularly ambush our troops, even at dinner, and usually with weapons we gave them. The kind of courage we need is the kind that will get us out of the war in Afghanistan ASAP.
If Obama and his team leaked information after the fact about operational aspects they should suffer the consequences but tea-bagging Republican S.E.A.L.S. and their pasty white-collar intel analyst lackeys are reaching to make a presidential issue out of pretty thin gruel. Their timing proves they are really after the President.
The S.E.A.L.S. are barking out of tune and are even in the wrong ring of the circus. They are diminishing their accomplishments as they fail to morph battlefield bravery into political pronouncements. They come across as venal and thin-skinned.
It’s sad, but fame, even of the S.E.A.L. type, is a seductive, fleeting (and fickle) mistress.