Precedence reigns in President Obama’s decision to use helicopters to land in a foreign compound. In April of 1980, President Jimmy Carter ordered helicopters and aircraft into Iran to rescue American hostages held by revolutionaries. That mission ended in disaster. A helicopter malfunction caused a collision where eight U.S. servicemen lost their lives.

Carter’s failed rescue attempt further damaged his reelection bid, embarrassed U.S. military capabilities, and hurt U.S. efforts in the Cold War (the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan less than four months prior). If Obama’s choice to kill or capture Osama bin Laden went terribly wrong, Obama’s reelection bid would have taken a serious setback, international observers certainly would have questioned our country’s military readiness – already stretched thin by some accounts, and “victory” in the “War against Terror” would remain evermore elusive.

Yet, given the precedence, President Obama chose to go forward. The results are thus: his reelection bid has now been given an energetic boost, U.S. military readiness is respected – if not awed, and suddenly there appears to be hope in actually winning the war on terror – a war that seemed to run in perpetuity.

Gutsy? Yes. Leadership? You bet. This operation will go down as a defining moment in both Obama’s presidency and U.S. history.

Whether one agrees or not with the killing of Osama bin Laden, the above points remain. President Barack Obama showed steely resolve to make good on a promise he made to the American people: to take the war on terror to the terrorists. To that end: “Mission Accomplished.”

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