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Two Sides Problem: Presidential Responsibility

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Baghdadi, the ISIS leader who proclaimed a short-lived caliphate, was recently killed by American forces. While the ISIS brand will continue to be a threat, this killing was a significant accomplishment. As would be expected, comparisons were immediately drawn between Obama’s announcement of the killing of bin Laden. Both leaders made the announcement in their usual styles. Obama was calm, serious and sober. Trump put on his usual performance including wild rambling, praising himself (for his internet skills), and focusing on how he might profit (in this case by grabbing Syrian oil). While their speeches differed, they both raised the same question: to what extent is the President responsible for such actions in terms of praise and blame? Image Credit When bin Laden was killed, Trump argued that Obama did not deserve credit for the death. One excellent point Trump made was that the decision options were very limited, essentially boiling down to keep trying to kill him or stopping. As Trump noted, not killing bin Laden was not an option, so the decision was easy. Trump also asserted, correctly, that the Seals rather than Obama killed bin Laden. Obama was obviously not on the ground to make the killing shot—he was safely in the White House. As such, Trump draws a reasonable conclusion: Obama does not deserve credit for the killing of bin Laden. To use a non-violent analogy, imagine a CEO of a corporation you work for who decides to keep a project going you have been working on for years. Suppose your project proves to be a great success. While the CEO will certainly take credit for your work, they do not deserve it—they simply allowed you to keep doing what you were doing. Not surprisingly, supporters of Obama took issue with Trump’s remarks and Obama is lauded by them for the death of bin Laden. The situation is now reversed: those who dislike Trump are probably tempted to refuse to give him credit, while his supporters are praising him for his. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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