However, the two presidents’ approach to the hunt differ substantially. I found ten differences but I will use five to illustrate my point.
—President Obama made the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden a campaign priority pledge in 2008 while President Bush, after a seven year search gave up and said Osama was no longer important because he was just one man and he will not lose any sleep over him. Obama intensified the search and got results.
— Obama went after Bin Laden even after intelligence confirmed that he is a serious risk take. Indeed he put a heavy bet on himself. First, he bet the balance of his 18 months presidency. Secondly, he bet his 2012 re-election chances. Thirdly, he also bet his place in history. Fourthly, he bet with the lives of American soldiers and civilians.
—President OBAMA has differentiated himself from Bush, not just with the killing of Osama Bin Laden, but by its manner. If it were Bush or Reagan, the conventional American action would have been to flatten the compound and its environs with missiles and probably B-52 Bombs. It would not have mattered that 1,000 people would have died in the process if it meant that Osama Bin Laden was killed.
The end would have justified the means. Even if the so called “smart” bombs were used, the neighbour who was twittering the action would have died way before remembering that there is a social network called Twitter.
President Obama chose the harder but the better way for the whole world. He pondered for months, studied the researches, heard the security experts, weighed all the evidence and reached a conclusion on the timing and the execution.
It is nice to see that, President Obama does not confuse two-bit fake patriotism of the yester- Presidents with American self interest nor will he use indiscriminate cruelty on non Americans as a military option.
— President Obama has also taught the American establishment the value of patience and clinical execution. Revenge is a dish best eaten when cold. This is a concept found among the Mediterranean groups of Italians, Spanish, Arabs and Africans. It is not a common trait among the core American Caucasians. Much of American strength is based on planning, organisation, coordination and well-trained manpower be it in management or military action.
Much too often, the short-termness of American Presidency demands immediacy of response or pre-emptive strike. Immediate justice or injustice is part of the American psyche. The American public demands to see some action. This mentality resulted, for example, in President Clinton firing a cruise missile that destroyed a pharmaceutical firm in Sudan based on flimsy intelligence that it was manufacturing poison gas to be used against Americans. The cruise missile attack was President Clinton’s immediate response to the American Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar-es-salaam on August 7, 1998.
In the case of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, President Obama pondered for months on end, demanding more intelligence, interrogations new evidence and questioning the planning and execution, in short being very patient. A dummy compound was even built in Afghanistan for the Navy Seal Team 6 to practice in before the assault.
It is indeed revealing that President Obama has brought to the American Presidency a further sense of stealth, patience and smarter precision more than any other American President. Hail to the King of Patience.
— President Obama has also promoted the known American Foreign Policy of democracy for all far beyond the borders of previous American Presidents. When President Obama made a major Arab policy speech at the Cairo University, he signalled to all the Arab leaders that change was coming and it is necessary that they embrace those leadership qualities which emphasize dignity, justice and freedom.
The events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain continue to vindicate the Obama speech and had done more to democratise the Arab world than all the American policies in the Middle East for the past 100 years.
Previous Presidents of America tendencies were to look the other way as long as the oil was available and supplied cheap to America.
The dictators could kill maim, imprison or torture their citizens as much as they liked as long as you supported the market system, supplied the oil cheap and kept off Israel. And Arabs dictators grew in stature and wealth at the expense of their people. But as the democratisation of the Arab countries continues, so do the al Qaeda doctrines become obsolete. Many young Arabs are repudiating the al Qaeda ideology as they are now able to achieve the dignity, justice and self rule that bin Laden claimed could only be obtained by violence and a return to puritanical Islam.
For these reasons it is conclusive that President Obama killed Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda with two weapons, by the bullet and eventually by the ballot.
For a son of American who others were disowning as not theirs, he is doing rather well for them. I postulate that Americans and the rest of the world need more of President Obama until 2017.
Peter Odoyo is a former MP for Nyakach. I was an assistant minister for Foreign Affairs when 911 terror hit New York and the Pentagon in 2001. I have followed with interest as the Hunt for Osama Bin Laden traversed the world and involved two Presidents of the US.