Question: Finding and killing Osama bin Laden has required focus, patience and persistence from presidents and top government officials over a decade of repeated setbacks--qualities that are in short supply in a world where time horizons are becoming increasingly short. How can leaders resist the natural temptation to move on to other priorities when goals begin to look like they might be out of reach?
All Americans have lauded President Obama for leading the pursuit and killing of a terrorist who planned the murder of many Americans. The nation reveres presidents, starting with Washington, who have led successful wars or military actions, and it does not forgive those who have botched up as commander-in-chief, like Jimmy Carter’s failed attempt to free American hostages in Iran. We can all agree that individuals or nations that have harmed Americans should be punished, and we appreciate the leader who gets the job done.
It’s different when a president pursues a long-term strategy that he believes will strengthen the country in the future, as Obama has tried to do by proposing “investments” in education, research, infrastructure and universal health care. Obama cannot guarantee that these dollars will produce future prosperity and jobs. He is making a calculated bet, as is any CEO who invests in a long-term company strategy. But CEOs don’t have Obama’s powerful opposition, like Congressman Paul Ryan who says that the so-called investments are merely irresponsible government spending at a time of crippling deficits, with no guarantee they will pay off. Whether or not one agrees with the president’s strategy, his persistence in the face of strong resistance shows even more courage than the risky action that did away with Osama bin Laden.
View all panel responses to the discussion The Osama bin Laden mission, and the art of persistence
Michael Maccoby | May 2, 2011 6:15 PM
SuperFan badge holders consistently post smart, timely comments about Washington area sports and teams.
Culture Connoisseur Badge
Culture Connoisseurs consistently offer thought-provoking, timely comments on the arts, lifestyle and entertainment.
Fact Checker Badge
Fact Checkers contribute questions, information and facts to The Fact Checker.
Washingtologists consistently post thought-provoking, timely comments on events, communities, and trends in the Washington area.
Post Writer Badge
This commenter is a Washington Post editor, reporter or producer.
Post Forum Badge
Post Forum members consistently offer thought-provoking, timely comments on politics, national and international affairs.
Weather Watcher Badge
Weather Watchers consistently offer thought-provoking, timely comments on climates and forecasts.
World Watcher Badge
World Watchers consistently offer thought-provoking, timely comments on international affairs.
Post Contributor Badge
This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.
Washington Post reporters or editors recommend this comment or reader post.
You must be logged in to report a comment.
You must be logged in to recommend a comment.
Comments our editors find particularly useful or relevant are displayed in Top Comments, as are comments by users with these badges: . Replies to those posts appear here, as well as posts by staff writers.
All comments are posted in the All Comments tab.
To pause and restart automatic updates, click "Live" or "Paused". If paused, you'll be notified of the number of additional comments that have come in.
More ways to get us