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Obama Gets it Right in Mourning Our Heroes

Updated Aug. 10 at 10:37 ET

While I’m critical of his wife’s absence, President Obama’s presence at Dover Air Force Base yesterday was a welcome salute to fallen heroes, done right.

The White House was correct to largely bar the press from the event and not to stage remarks by the president. This should be a private affair for families in mourning – and for SEALs whose identities even in death remain secret – not an attention-getting event for a president who needs help with his popularity.

P080911PS-0616As was proper, the White House did no more than release a sad photo of the president and his advisers, silhouetted in black, paying their respects.

Some have complained that Obama’s sole mention of the servicemen who died came toward the of a speech Tuesday in which he also spoke about the economy. But this was the right way to do it. To certainly talk about what happened, but not to overreact.

Because there’s another reason to low-key Obama’s activities related to the killings, and to no overdo our public reaction.

As awful as this is, and as much as many of us are mourning, we cannot signal to the enemy that we are unable to tolerate loss. Because this is what they seize on, what gives them sustenance, what stirs their vicious souls to draw even more American blood. Signs of weakness could help lead to further deaths and similar incidents.

Osama Bin Laden, for example, claimed that the collapse of U.S. morale in Somalia after the 1993 Black Hawk Down tragedy and our subsequent withdrawal convinced him that the United States was a “paper tiger,” encouraging him in planning his future attacks. Jackals perceive an injured prey, and then they pounce.

So the president handled this correctly. He helped our military families and the nation mourn, but not in a manner that will make the enemy think we are weak.

UPDATE: Several of you have noted that families of those who died requested that photos not be taken, and you’ve argued that the photo released by the White House should not have been taken. The photo is not of any of the caskets. But given the objections of the families, and that the White House forbade the press from even photographing the leaders, I agree, Obama’s personal photographer should not have been there. This photo was unnecessary and wrong. They should have at least erred on the side of decency.

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18 Responses to Obama Gets it Right in Mourning Our Heroes

  1. I will agree with you that this was handled with propriety. However, I am inclined to give credit to the military personnel in the Defense Dept. for creating this good and appropriate outcome and not Barry’s handlers in the White House who would likely have overplayed his hand it given his sagging public polls which are doubtelssly confirmed by the internals.

  2. I respectfully disagree with you Keith. OBL was right about Clinton being a paper tiger. As far as his solemn photo, believe it was the families that denied the press coverage and not Obama. Our enemy already sees him as weak, although I see him as complicit. If he wants to give our enemy less to seize on he needs to untie the hands of the military by changing the rules of engagement. Either that or get them the hell out of there.

      • Agree with both of you. We’re already the retreating army in Afganistan and Iraq, we proved nothing, won nothing and not for the lack of skill or determination of our capable mililtary but for the wishy-washy civilian leaders who think you can ‘talk’ your way out of a fight.
        We’re either in or we’re altogether out.

  3. Military families did not want photos…yet Obama let’s them take one of him. I have to disagree with you on this one Keith, sorry.

  4. I read on another site that the families and the Pentagon are very upset that the above picture was released. 19 of the 30 families did not want any pictures released.

  5. Sorry but I totally disagree. Not only was this used as a photo op as pictured and trust me that won’t be the last we see of this either. He went
    against the expressed wishes of two thirds of the grieving families no excuse.
    Top that ith the news the WH is Working with Hollywood film maker giving
    access to classified info on Bin Laden raid for a film due out right In time for
    the 2012 election and it’s plain to see he has no shame and uses the military
    as nothing more than a prop. I went to too many funerals during the Vietnam war to not understand a bit of the pain the families feel they come
    first not his re-election. he sinks lower everyday.

  6. Unfortunately, the picture looks staged. The President is on the end and the only one with his arm up while the rest, including an apparent officer have their hands across their chests. If it was just a spontaneous shot, you would think that they would either all be the same or a number of different poses. Tacky is being kind, especially after photos were supposedly banned based requests by the families.

  7. If it was all about the president offering his respect to the fallen it would have been in private, no photo taken by Obama’s personal photographer and no photo released by the White House to the press.

    I trust this guy as far as I could toss his wife.

  8. Narcissist-in-chief was only there because he “had to” be there–he doesn’t give a da#& about the military (remember his “crotch” salute at a Veteran’s Day Memorial @ Arlington Cemetery). This is just another photo op–they will probably give the pic of him “honoring” the dead to be featured in the 2012 movie about the killing of OBL–this WH doesn’t do anything for the good of the country–only for their own “perceived” good! They are disgusting and and embarrassment.

    God Bless the Soldiers–thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice for me and my family–God Bless and comfort your families. America will never forget!