Theories abound on why George W. Bush, declined an invitation to join Obama at a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Ground Zero on Thursday. Among them: The notion, put forth by a source close to Bush cited in the New York Daily News, that the former president feels Obama has taken too much credit for catching Osama bin Laden. "Obama gave no credit whatsoever to the intelligence infrastructure the Bush administration set up," the source said. "It rubbed Bush the wrong way." Valid point, or just sour grapes?
Obama is hogging all the glory: From the moment President Obama appeared on TV to announce that commandos had killed bin Laden, says Victor Davis Hanson at National Review, he has been saying, "I" did this, and "I" did that. He is completely ignoring the fact that "the protocols for taking out Osama bin Laden were all established by President Bush and all opposed by Senator and then candidate Obama." What hypocrisy.
"The first-person presidency"
The Right just wants to excuse Bush's mistakes: "The Right will stop at nothing to steal President Obama's thunder," says Jeff Schweitzer at The Huffington Post. They're just trying to inflate Bush's role and diminish Obama's to suggest that Bush's use of torture during terrorist interrogations worked. But the key information that led to the courier who led to bin Laden didn't emerge until long after we had given up on waterboarding. Conservatives should stop trying "to rewrite history to justify the unjustifiable."
"The twisted logic of torture envy"
Sharing credit is not too much to ask: It takes "a truly small man to ignore the real visionaries" who paved the way for him, says Dr. Milton R. Wolf in The Washington Times. We reached the moon when Richard Nixon was president, but nobody would deny that Nixon was merely following John F. Kennedy's vision. And it's just as obvious that, while Obama was in office when we got bin Laden, it was George W. Bush who had the vision for the hunt. The least Obama could do is show Bush a little more gratitude.
"Obama got bin Laden just like Nixon reached the moon"
If Bush deserves credit, so do other past presidents: If we're going to lavish praise on Bush for Obama's accomplishment, says Al Kamen at The Washington Post, why stop there? Bill Clinton fired missiles at bin Laden in 1998 and started the early CIA operation tracking him. And it was JFK who, in 1962, established the SEAL teams that got Osama. And FDR gave us the precursor to the CIA. "We're pretty sure Millard Fillmore had a hand in all this, too, but we're still checking that out."
"The most important moment in American history involved ... Bush?"