The US Invasion of Iraq distracted the US from the larger war against terrorism and cost the nation a fortune. President Bush used pretexts for invasion that he knew were false when he used them. Nobody can know precisely when Bin Laden (OBL) would have been killed if we hadn't preoccupied the nation with Iraq (where Al Qaeda was an enemy of the state). However conservatives are crowing about thanking George W. Bush for the take-down of OBL in his compound. The congratulations are misplaced in my opinion.
I don't know that anyone is stupid enough to credit Barack Obama (BHO) for doing anything but riding the coat tails of the people on the ground who brought OBL down. However you have to give him credit for giving the green light on Muslim terrorists when true to his roots, he might have been disposed to have done otherwise. BHO is the man who sat in the church and clapped to Wright's rants and screaming "God Damn America!" -- and then contributed heavily to that church. If it sounds as though I'm damning BHO with faint praise, I am.
The credit goes to a lot of men and women who had the courage and fortitude to take out OBL.
Stressed interrogation worked as Investors Business Daily pointed out (below):
In January 2004, Kurdish forces near the Iranian border apprehended Hassan Ghul, a top al-Qaida lieutenant once under the direct command of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. After quickly being handed over to U.S. forces, Ghul was sent to one of the CIA's foreign "black site" prisons. It wasn't long before this particular terrorist canary started singing.
Ghul told the CIA that "Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti" — determined years later to be Sheikh Abu Ahmed — was a high-value courier for al-Qaida and key associate of KSM successor Faraj al-Libi. When al-Libi was captured and interrogated the next year, U.S. intelligence began putting together the pieces, finally concluding that al-Kuwaiti was a courier to bin Laden himself.
Some feel that if we hadn't invaded Iraq, we might not have obtained this information (the IBD Editorial supports the Iraqi invasion for this information recovered). I disagree, but we're arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin at this point because the die was cast and we're stuck with history, not what might have been.
Waterboarding worked. The CIA's black sites (prisons) were key to dealing with terrorists, preventing attacks on US Soil. President George W. Bush deserves a great deal of credit for authorizing this sort of aggressive activity against America's enemies. It's difficult for a president to do things that he knows might come back to bite him. The CIA black sites were one of those things. But President Bush made the call and it turned out to be a good one.
The public doesn't understand what it takes to protect a nation from the animals out there beyond the wall. The men and women who stand on the wall get it -- and so did President Bush. BHO, sadly, hasn't got a clue.