The latest example of Obama-era military badass-ery transpired last night while you were probably asleep or detoxing from the president’s third State of the Union address: Just moments before President Obama took the podium, a team of US Navy SEALs rescued two hostages from a group of Somali pirates. By the end of the raid, nine Somalis were dead, three were detained, and the two kidnapped aid workers—32-year-old American Jessica Buchanan and 60-year-old Dane Poul Hagen Thisted—were safely extracted from the camp where they were being held.
What’s most amazing is that President Obama reportedly ordered the raid on Monday because Jessica Buchanan suffers a medical condition that might have resulted in her dying in captivity. (A medical condition separate and apart from being held hostage by Somali pirates, that is.) President Obama then got word that the mission had been successful, sauntered on to the House floor, gave Defense Secretary Panetta props, and delivered a near perfect State of the Union address with the following poignant closing:
One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates, a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary, and Hillary Clinton, a woman who ran against me for president.
All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves. One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission. It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job—the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs. More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other—because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s someone behind you, watching your back.
He then called Jessica Buchanan’s father immediately after the State of the Union address to tell him that his daughter was safe, and probably helped a few old ladies cross the street before calling it a day.
I don’t ever want to hear anyone complain that President Obama is a coward or has no balls.
And I mean, ever.