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The He Said/She Said Over bin Laden Kill

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Now that the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign is (more or less) officially underway between President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney, it's perhaps not surprising that partisan silliness emerges.

In this case, it revolves around the anniversary of the Navy SEALS' daring assassination of Osama bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan.

Republicans accuse Democrats (if not Obama himself) of trying to get political mileage out of the anniversary, while Democrats (and Obama) say that Romney felt it wasn't worth spending billions of dollars to catch one man.

Both factions are right -- both are wrong.

Long time Democratic adviser and partisan, James Carville, probably had it right when he said he didn't think there were many votes at stake for either side in bringing up the killing of Osama bin Laden.

He felt -- and it's hard not to agree -- that America has since moved on, and that the future hinges on things like the economy, jobs, security, and the country's place in the world.

Still, there's a certain satisfaction, and closure in being rid of bin Laden.

Although I, for one, think Obama deserves to be a one-term president, he also deserves top marks for nerve and judgment in okaying the plan to send SEALS into Pakistan to ensure that Osama was killed.

Others in Obama's circle of expert advisors, advocated a drone bomb on Osama's suspect headquarters. Vice-President Joe Biden, and Defence Secretary Robert Gates urged this.

Obama opted for the more dangerous course of a commando attack which, if successful, would have been more conclusive. And he was right. Just as Obama would have warranted blame had the attack failed, so does he deserve full credit for its success.

People might not realize that it sometimes takes more nerve and courage to order or approve of something like the bin Laden attack, than it does to actually participate in such a raid. It can be more serene in the eye of a hurricane than on its fringes.

When questioned, Romney says "of course" he would have authorized such an attack on bin Laden. In retrospect he would, but not so certain at the time.

Curiously, Romney sniped at former president, Jimmy Carter: "Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order," to take out Bin Laden, said Romney, implying that Carter was one of America's weakest presidents.

This is either unfair of Romney, or said out of ignorance -- or forgetfulness. True, Jimmy Carter was a lousy, bungling president who was exploited shamelessly by the Soviet Union, especially in Africa and Central America. But Carter had the nerve -- even courage -- to authorize that abortive rescue disaster of American embassy hostages in Iran. He suffered the consequences of its failure.

Carter's Iran rescue fiasco could easily have coloured President Obama's decision about okaying a raid to kill Osama. That it didn't, is to his credit.

Romney's quip notwithstanding, Jimmy Carter would most certainly have sanctioned the raid on Osama bin Laden, as his record in Iran clearly indicates.

Again, in fairness, Obama and Democrats have not been gloating or indulging in unseemly posturing on this anniversary of OBL's exit from the land of the living. It was an American triumph, not a political party's victory.

And Democrats seem to realize this.

Pity some Republicans are being a bit churlish, but maybe they'll loosen up when (if) they become the Administration.