Where are we going as a country? Where are we headed? Difficult questions to answer in a 50-minute presentation. But David Gergen attempted to do just that in the Thursday afternoon keynote address at the National Association for Personal Financial Planners annual convention in Salt Lake City.
Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has served as an advisor to four U.S. presidents. He is a professor of public service at the Harvard Kennedy School and he published the best-selling book, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton.
“We are a nation that should have more confidence than we do,” Gergen said. “But a recent event gave us a surge of confidence we haven’t had in awhile. The Navy Seals' action against Osama bin Laden was a proud moment. You cannot walk away from that without saying some things still work in America, and this worked extraordinarily well.”
Gergen said he has spoken with various “people in the know” in Washington about the bin Laden raid. He revealed that prior to the raid there was uncertainty as to whether or not the world’s most wanted terrorist was even there. Certain people at the CIA believed there was only a 40% chance he was in the compound.
“I’ve never seen a mission as big in scope as this one with absolutely no leaks beforehand,” he explained. “During the Cuban Missile Crisis that lasted 13 days, President Kennedy went 11 days without a leak. By contrast, this mission was months in the planning, and there were no leaks. It’s a testament to the Obama Administration, but the real heroes—of course—are the Navy Seals and the military.”
Gergen noted that on the night of the bin Laden raid, 14 other operations took place, and an average of three similar operations happen each night in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“These are fantastic young people that will eventually lead this country,” he praised. “We should all be happy about that. But the problem we have is with our current political class.