Monday, May 9, 2011

Obama's '60 Minutes' Interview: Osama Bin Laden Mission 'Longest 40 Minutes Of My Life'

(Huffington Post) - "Justice was done," President Barack Obama said in an interview with Steve Kroft on CBS's "60 Minutes." Regarding the Osama bin Laden mission, Obama said, "As nervous as I was about this whole process, the one thing I didn't lose sleep over was the possibility of taking bin Laden out."
Obama 60 Minutes
President Obama's biggest concern? "If I'm sending those guys in and Murphy's Law applies and something happens, can we still get our guys out?" Obama admitted that "there would have been significant consequences" if bin Laden had not been there. "As outstanding a job as our intelligence teams did... at the end of the day, this was still a 55/45 situation. I mean, we could not say definitively that bin Laden was there." He then re-emphasized, "My number one concern was: can our guys get in and get out safely?"

When asked about his fear of failure, Obama said, "You think about Black Hawk Down. You think about what happened with the Iranian rescue. And I am very sympathetic to the situation for other Presidents where you make a decision, you're making your best call, your best shot, and something goes wrong -- because these are tough, complicated operations... the day before, I was thinking about this quite a bit."

According to Obama, "I made the decision Thursday night, informed my team Friday morning, and then we flew off to look at the tornado damage. To go to Cape Canaveral, to make a commencement speech. And then we had the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday night. So this was in the back of my mind all weekend." Steve Kroft asked, "Just the back?" Obama added, "Middle. Front."

As the operation was being executed, Obama said, "It was the longest 40 minutes of my life, with the possible exception of when Sasha got meningitis."

Kroft asked if this was the most satisfying week of Obama's presidency, and he replied that it was certainly one of them, because "obviously bin Laden had been not only a symbol of terrorism, but a mass murderer who had eluded justice for so long, and so many families who have been affected I think had given up hope."

President Obama went on to say that the decision to launch the attack was "certainly one" of the most difficult decisions as Commander-in-Chief. "This was a very difficult decision in part because the evidence we had was not absolutely conclusive... Obviously it entailed enormous risk to the guys that I sent in there."