The final episode of "Inside Obama's White House" tells us that he was often frustrated by the system, but achieved more than many allegeby David Patrikarakos / April 5, 2016 / Leave a comment
“You and I we’re going to change this country. And we’re going to change the world.” In choosing to begin each episode of the BBC’s “Inside Obama’s White House” with Barack Obama’s own words, given in a speech during his first election campaign, the documentary’s makers remind us of the fundamental problem of his entire presidency: the reality was never going to match the rhetoric. Obama promised too much; he was always going to underdeliver.
However this episode—titled The arc of history—opens with one of Obama’s greatest successes: the assassination of Osama bin Laden. The exceptional access that has been the hallmark of the series—and which here includes interviews with Obama himself, as well as former CIA and Director and Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta—makes it clear the President took a gamble when he ordered in the SEAL team into the Pakistani town of Abbottabad. As Obama recounts, it was only ever “50-50” that bin Laden was in the strange and slightly sinister compound located by the intelligence services.
But this success only serves to further illuminate Obama’s failures. Because even with a degree of uncertainty it is far easier to take someone out militarily than it is to bring real change to your country: especially when you have to deal with a hostile legislature and powerful lobby groups. This truth has been reaffirmed many times: one such instance was in the wake of the horrific Sandy Hook school shooting, in which 20 children were killed by that Golem of American life: the lone gunman.