I don't think it was a tough decision. We've seen a lot of instances where presidents over the years have -- have had to make decisions like that.But, via Politico's Glenn Thrush, in 2005 the Bush administration balked when presented with a similar opportunity:
I think after spending that amount of time, that number of years and that much money -- we increased the special operations forces by about 50 percent. We increased their budget. We increased their equipment. And they develop these skill sets and improve the intelligence capability of our country.
And finally, when all that comes together, to not make that decision, it seemed to me, would just be dumbfounding. I can't imagine any president not making that decision.
A secret military operation in early 2005 to capture senior members of Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas was aborted at the last minute after top Bush administration officials decided it was too risky and could jeopardize relations with Pakistan, according to intelligence and military officials.And who said no? You guessed it ... Donald Rumsfeld:
The target was a meeting of Qaeda leaders that intelligence officials thought included Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s top deputy and the man believed to run the terrorist group’s operations.
But the mission was called off after Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, rejected an 11th-hour appeal by Porter J. Goss, then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, officials said. Members of a Navy Seals unit in parachute gear had already boarded C-130 cargo planes in Afghanistan when the mission was canceled, said a former senior intelligence official involved in the planning.The point here isn't just that Rumsfeld lied when he said Obama made an easy call, nor is it that when he was presented with a similar opportunity, he took the opposite approach. It's also that Mitt Romney comes from Donald Rumsfeld's school of national security.The policy Romney articulated in 2007 is the policy Rumsfeld followed in 2005 and if Romney had been president in 2011, the same thing that happened in 2005 would have happened again—and Osama bin Laden would still be alive.