The only thing the Obama Administration did was get out of the way. - John Bolton When I heard Bolton say this I wanted to punch the television set, but after reading Chris Mooney's new book, The Republican Brain, I decided instead to chalk
April 23, 2012

The only thing the Obama Administration did [with regard to Osama Bin Laden] was get out of the way. - John Bolton

When I heard Bolton say this I wanted to punch the television set, but after reading Chris Mooney's new book, The Republican Brain, I decided instead to chalk up this bit of intellectually dishonest tripe between Liz Cheney (in for Sean Hannity) and John Bolton to the Fox News mission of feeding the misinformation chain True Republican Believers depend upon to cling to their incorrect beliefs.

Still, it's galling to have them try to not only rewrite the Obama Administration's approach to foreign policy but to claim that torture, or "enhanced interrogation" in Cheneyspeak, was the reason Osama bin Laden was caught and killed.

David Corn's latest book, Showdown, has a detailed look at what factors went into Bin Laden's capture and killing. Here's a summary Corn wrote recently to rebut Karl Rove's lies about it.

On the night of April 28, 2011, Obama held a top-secret meeting with his closest national security aides to discuss how to proceed. The CIA had earlier informed Obama that its analysts had concluded there was a 60 to 80 percent certainty that Bin Laden was in the Abbottabad compound. But the agency had conducted a red team exercise, in which a set of analysts who had not previously worked on this case evaluated the intelligence. This group ended up with lower odds: 40 to 60 percent.

Several of Obama's national security advisers were worried by the red team results. Michael Leiter, the chief of the National Counterterrorism Center, believed the CIA had inflated the case. And when the president went around the horn and asked for recommendations, both Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Bob Gates counseled waiting for more definitive intelligence. Other advisers in the room opted for a missile strike (which would be less risky but could yield a less definitive outcome and cause collateral damage). Leon Panetta, then the CIA chief, and John Brennan, Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, backed the proposed helicopter raid. Such an operation, though, was not supported by a majority of Obama's advisers. Everyone in the room knew that much could wrong with such an operation. (Gates had lived through Black Hawk Down and the failed Desert One rescue attempt during the Iranian hostage crisis during the Carter administration.) And they also realized—though it was not explicitly discussed—that if the Bin Laden mission went bad, it would probably sink Obama's presidency. Nevertheless, the next day, Obama greenlighted the raid.

As for the idea that "enhanced interrogation" aka torture had anything to do with the intelligence, Corn debunks that quite properly in his book, too, but I wouldn't expect Cheney & Co to care much about that. I am, however, a bit surprised they've chosen to ignore the military's declaration that torture had nothing to do with it.

So Liz Cheney, here's my response to your rather arrogant suggestion that President Obama should bow before you and express his deep and undying gratitude to former President George W. Bush and your criminal father and thank them: No thanks are necessary.

It just galls me that they get away with this BS on national television. Truth is a dinosaur; now it's just about perception and partisans. Disgusting.

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