Believe in America

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The 2012 election was perhaps the final "normal" presidential election for the 21st century, where fringe conspiracy theories were not embraced or entertained by the nominees of either major party. The election was hotly contested, with the first usage of Super PACs in a general election, but in the end, President Barack Obama won a second term in office over Republican Governor Mitt Romney. His victory can be attributed to many things, such as his charisma, his voter outreach, turnout among key demographics that helped propel him to victory four years prior, and undercutting Romney's weaknesses when it came to relatability. But a year prior, his presidency was in dire straits, and the killing of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011, boosted his approval ratings and became a prized foreign policy achievement for Obama in the War on Terror.

Now, what if the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden fails? What if instead of the death of Osama Bin Laden is not the announcement that is made on May 2, 2011, but the quiet admission that several Navy SEALs were killed in a "training exercise" in Pakistan? With continued uncertainty in the War on Terror as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 coming around the corner, Bin Laden would still be alive, and worse still, plotting against the United States and its allies. This uncertainty, along with other changed factors, will lead to a different outcome in the presidential election, as issues and feelings change in this alternate 2012. In the end, Romney's campaign slogan would ring true, and the voter would return this sentiment at the polls...

Believe in America.

Timeline

Point of Divergence

Operation Neptune Spear

President Barack Obama and his team witnessing the operation, minutes before its failure.

Operation Neptune Spear commences early in the morning of May 2, 2011, with the intent of assassinating Osama Bin Laden. Just above the compound, the lead chopper loses a retention bolt while lowering itself, which causes one of its blades to unlock and shear off. The helicopter rapidly loses control, spiraling into the ground below. The operation quickly changes from an assassination mission to a rescue mission as the second chopper quickly moves in to rescue any survivors on the ground. A handful of the chopper's crew survived the crash, but it was obvious that several others (including the pilot) did not survive. As the second chopper lowers itself towards the crash site, insurgents alerted by the commotion open fire on the SEALs on the ground and the chopper hovering by them. The well-trained SEALs on the ground return fire, but despite killing several of the attackers, the pilot of the second chopper is hit by several of their bullets and loses control, crashing a few meters away and suffering no immediate casualties. The crew of the second downed chopper rush in to link up with the surviving crew of the first chopper to hold back Bin Laden's fighters. The nearby Chinooks are radioed in to head to the compound to assist in immediate search and rescue, and the mission is declared aborted as the SEALs fight to defend themselves.

At the White House, panic has set in, with President Obama distraught over the failed mission, particularly worried about casualties. Only audio was heard, but the SEALs fought for nearly 25 minutes in total before they were evacuated by the rescue team. Of the 24 Navy SEALs sent on the mission, 10 of them were reported as killed or missing, and 5 suffered severe injuries. The operation was considered finished as the Air Force demolished the compound in a bombing raid, but it was widely assumed that Bin Laden had moved out by that point.