According to a new Senate report
in December 2001, Osama bin Laden was "in our grasp," but military
leaders neglected to pursue him with sufficient force. The report, requested by Sen. John Kerry, concludes that bin Laden's escape
ultimately invigorated the Afghan insurgency and fomented strife within
Pakistan. The world-famous terrorist was reportedly hiding in the mountains of Tora Bora when U.S. military leaders, instead of sending an escalation of troops, pursued a "light footprint" strategy. The findings come as President Obama is set to announce a
troop surge in Afghanistan. Bloggers weigh in on the missed opportunity and question the timing of the report:
- The Original Dither, writes a blogger at The Daily Whim: "Whenever Dick Cheney speaks about how he believes the Obama
administration has put America at greater risk of terrorist attack, or
whenever a right winger accuses Obama of dithering on Afghanistan, this
reality needs to be thrown back in their face"
- A Reminder of Bush's Confused Strategy, writes Matthew Yglesias: "The main reason policy toward Afghanistan is so vexing, in my view, is
that we basically failed in our main mission back in 2001 and 2002.
Demands were made on the Taliban to hand over key al-Qaeda leaders, the
Taliban refused, we went to war, and even though we succeeded in
marginalizing the Taliban we didn’t succeed in achieving for ourselves
what we’d been demanding the Taliban do. Having failed at that mission,
we then shifted gears into a hazily defined effort to remake
- Reveals Cracks in the Military, writes Dan Plesch
in The Guardian: "The report is also a good opportunity to address far
deeper failings in the military effort these last eight years. The
continued incompetence of the military operation indicates that the
generals and the political elites in our societies are no more 'fit for
purpose' than those that led the disasters of the [Britain's] 1914-18
war." Plesch's main complaint is that "The US-only and Nato forces each
have separate generals in charge, and neither is able to give orders to
- Suspicious Timing, writes Slun
at Fire Dog Lake: "How very convenient that the Senate Tora Bora report
arrived in the news today--just in time to help build the case for
bowing to Gen McChrystal's demand for a bigger war in Afghanistan."
Because the report says a larger troop surge would've helped the U.S.
capture Bin Laden, it helps Obama drum up support for his planned troop
increase, argues Slun.
- A Pointless Distraction writes a blogger at Political Byline: "Why is this even being printed? Oh, I know why! Because Obama’s poll numbers are dropping... Therefore,
the Liberals are trying to find an excuse to blame Bush for something.
It is the classical distraction from the real issues at hand; Works
every time, for most people."
- A Self-Serving Report, writes William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection: "Can't seem to get motivated to write in great detail about John Kerry's 'hey, look, I just issued a report about George W. deliberately letting Osama go in Tora Bora,
you know, the same argument I have been making for several years and
which failed to get me elected President; but this time I've got the
goods on him, based on public information readily available for years
which has been the basis for public reexamination of the military
tactic of a light footprint; I just had to release this report on the
eve of Obama announcing his intention to put more troops into
Afghanistan subject to conditions, even though I've had this important
information for years.'"
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