Biden criticized for opposing mission to kill Osama bin Laden as he praises special forces on 10th anniversary of raid
JOE Biden celebrated the “courage” of the US forces who carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden 10 years ago – but the president has been criticized over his skepticism of the mission at the time.
Bin Laden, the infamous leader of the terrorist group al Qaeda, was shot dead by a team of Navy Seals in a secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011.
Biden, who was then vice president, watched the raid – dubbed Operation Neptune Spear – unfold live from the White House’s Situation Room along with former President Barack Obama.
To commemorate a decade to the day that the historic mission was successfully executed, Biden credited the “courage and skill” of all those involved, describing it as a moment “I will never forget.”
“Ten years ago, I joined President Obama and members of our national security team, crowded into the Situation Room to watch as our military delivered long-awaited justice to Osama bin Laden,” Biden wrote in a statement issued by the White House.
“It is a moment I will never forget—the intelligence professionals who had painstakingly tracked him down; the clarity and conviction of President Obama in making the call; the courage and skill of our team on the ground.”
Biden remembered how the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was approaching as Operation Neptune Spear unfolded.
“We followed bin Laden to the gates of hell—and we got him,” Biden wrote.
“We kept the promise to all those who lost loved ones on 9/11: that we would never forget those we had lost, and that the United States will never waver in our commitment to prevent another attack on our homeland and to keep the American people safe.”
The anniversary of bin Laden’s death comes a day after US forces began formally withdrawing from Afghanistan, as part of a measure announced by Biden two weeks ago who called the conflict in the region a “forever war.”
“Now, as a result of those efforts,” said the president of the bin Laden killing, “as we bring to an end America’s longest war and draw down the last of our troops from Afghanistan, al-Qaeda is greatly degraded there.”
Biden has pledged that by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, no American or NATO force will remain in the country.
But despite Biden’s praise of the raid that “brought justice” to bin Laden, the president is facing renewed criticism for reportedly opposing the mission back in 2011.
As Obama’s vice president, Biden was said to have argued in high-level meetings that officials should wait for additional intelligence on bin Laden’s location before green-lighting the strike.
In his 2020 memoir, A Promised Land, Obama spoke of Biden’s hesitancy, writing: “Joe also weighed in against the raid, arguing that given the enormous consequences of failure, I should defer any decision until the intelligence community was more certain that bin Laden was in the compound.
“[I] appreciated Joe’s willingness to buck the prevailing mood and ask tough questions, often in the interest of giving me the space I needed for my own internal deliberations,” Obama continued.
Biden himself has previously admitted he was apprehensive about the strike, telling the New York Times just weeks after that he and other Cabinet members had advised caution about the raid but praised Obama’s decision “to launch the daring action.”
The following year, while speaking to NBC, Biden claimed he had privately told Obama to trust his instincts after the meeting in which he expressed opposition to the mission.
But earlier year, Biden sought to distance himself from claims of any doubt when pressed by Fox News.
Peter Doocy asked Biden: “As commander-in-chief, if you were ever handed a piece of intelligence that said you could stop an imminent attack on Americans — but you have to use an airstrike to take out a terror leader — would you pull the trigger?”
“Well, we did,” Biden, then the president-elect, responded. “The guy’s name was Osama bin Laden.”
“Didn’t you tell President Obama not to go after bin Laden that day?” Doocy hit back.
“No, I didn’t,” responded Biden.
On Twitter Sunday, several conservatives ridiculed Biden over his apparent apprehensions.
“Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden 10 years ago today,” wrote ACT founder Brigitte Gabriel. “Never forget that Joe Biden was against the mission.”
Similar, former Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh wrote: “Biden was against the bin Laden raid and advised Obama not to approve it,” when responding to the president’s statement.
Conservative commentator Philip Tirino added: “Biden was against the bin Laden raid and advised Obama not to approve it.”
Obama and Biden have both said that Biden dropped his early opposition to the raid and ultimately supported the 44th president’s decision to carry out the strike.
Bin Laden was deemed the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that left 2,977 people dead and more than 6,000 injured.
“I want to give my enduring thanks to the service members who executed the raid at great personal risk and the public servants across our government who made our mission a success ten years ago,” Biden wrote in his Sunday statement.
“We will continue to honor all the brave women and men, our military, our intelligence and counterterrorism professionals, and so many others, who continue their extraordinary work to keep the American people safe today.
“They give their best to our country, and we owe them an incredible debt of gratitude,” he concluded.