‘Leon, good job tonight’

Posted Feb. 08, 2012, at 7:23 p.m.

When President Barack Obama exchanged a few words with officials in the House chamber before his State of the Union address, the microphone picked up a cryptic comment to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: “Leon, good job tonight.”

The president did not mention the then-secret rescue of two aid workers — one an American and one a Dane — by a U.S. special forces team.

Nine of the hostage-takers were killed by a U.S. team that included some members of the same team of Navy SEALs that carried out the raid against Osama bin Laden’s headquarters in Pakistan.

It is a dangerous world for aid workers. The government-stoked violence in Syria claimed the life of the director of the Red Crescent, the Muslim equivalent of the Red Cross.

Aid workers, particularly foreigners, have died in Afghanistan and Iraq during the wars there.

That the American troops were able to rescue the hostages taken in Somalia, though, is good news and worthy of congratulations to the SEALs and other troops, backed up by intelligence officers.

Good job, indeed.

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. (Feb. 2)

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