I think back to Mitt Romney, in 2007, saying it wasn't "worth moving heaven and earth" to get Osama bin Laden, and the Iraq veteran in me thanks God he wasn't president these past few years.
For those wondering, that's not a made-up quote. Romney said it in an interview with the Associated Press. It's clear that Romney would have become just as disinterested in killing Osama bin Laden as George W. Bush had become. President Bush, of course, said, "I really don't spend that much time thinking about [bin Laden]."
I bring this up, because I think we've all heard about this new right-wing video that attacks President Obama for leading a successful operation, as Commander in Chief, that killed Osama bin Laden. It's somewhat funny, because we all know if the mission was a failure, the right wing would say the president was responsible for the whole thing. But now that the mission was a success, he doesn't deserve any credit. The right can't have it both ways. But more importantly, they can't run away from Mitt Romney.
There's little doubt. If Mitt Romney was president, Osama bin Laden may very well be alive today. And Romney wouldn't much care, because it wasn't worth moving heaven and earth to get the guy, anyway. There is another part of that quote, though, that is equally as troubling. Romney said it wasn't worth moving heaven and earth, or "spending billions of dollars."
Billions of dollars not being worth it? This is the same Mitt Romney who has argued that we should have endless war in Afghanistan.
"The president's mistakes, some of them are calculated on a philosophy that's hard to understand and, sometimes, you scratch your head and say: How can he be so misguided and so naive? Today, his secretary of defense unleashed such a policy. The secretary of defense said that on a day certain, the middle of 2013, we're going to pull out our combat troops from Afghanistan," Romney said in February.
Let's leave aside the fact that the president said no such thing, and the defense secretary didn't say we're pulling out all of our troops in 2013. At that time, they said the mission of troops will look more like Iraq did in 2011, as the military moved to just training and advising Afghan Forces.
That aside, Mitt Romney made it clear: While President Obama will begin to transition us out of Afghanistan, Mitt Romney would keep us there in an open-ended commitment. Open-ended means decades and hundreds of thousands of troops in Afghanistan.
We are spending around $2 billion a week in Afghanistan. We have spent hundreds of billions in the war since it started just after 9/11. If it's safe to say that there will be no troop drawdowns, and an indefinite commitment under a Romney administration -- we'd be there for another four or eight years, depending on whether he won a second term. That's hundreds of billions of dollars.
So, let's get this straight. Mitt Romney would keep us in Afghanistan -- where Osama bin Laden no longer was, and al Qaeda has largely vacated -- at the cost of billions of dollars and thousands of lives, but it wouldn't be worth "moving heaven and earth" or "spending billions of dollars" to get the mastermind of 9/11 and bring him to justice?
At the time Mitt Romney said what he did, conservative commentator Byron York summed it up the best. Writing in the National Review, he said:
... just speaking as one taxpayer, I would say a) we have already spent billions and gone to a lot of effort to try to get bin Laden, and b) it would be worth still more money and still more effort to kill the man behind 9/11. I can't imagine any serious Republican candidate for president would say otherwise. Perhaps Romney should watch the tape of the planes hitting the towers again.
Yep. All I can say is thank God we have had a president who was willing to, as the head of U.S. Special Operations command said, "shoulder the burden" of killing Osama bin Laden.