Archive for Sunday, November 29, 2009

Senate report: Bin Laden was within grasp of U.S. troops

November 29, 2009


— Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when American military leaders made the crucial and costly decision not to pursue the terrorist leader with massive force, a Senate report says.

The report asserts that the failure to kill or capture bin Laden at his most vulnerable in December 2001 has had lasting consequences beyond the fate of one man. Bin Laden’s escape laid the foundation for today’s reinvigorated Afghan insurgency and inflamed the internal strife now endangering Pakistan, it says.

Staff members for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Democratic majority prepared the report at the request of the chairman, Sen. John Kerry, as President Barack Obama prepares to boost U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The Massachusetts senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate has long argued the Bush administration missed a chance to get the al-Qaida leader and top deputies when they were holed up in the forbidding mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan only three months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Although limited to a review of military operations eight years old, the report could also be read as a cautionary note for those resisting an increased troop presence there now.

More pointedly, it seeks to affix a measure of blame for the state of the war today on military leaders under former president George W. Bush, specifically Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary and his top military commander, Tommy Franks.

“Removing the al-Qaida leader from the battlefield eight years ago would not have eliminated the worldwide extremist threat,” the report says. “But the decisions that opened the door for his escape to Pakistan allowed bin Laden to emerge as a potent symbolic figure who continues to attract a steady flow of money and inspire fanatics worldwide. The failure to finish the job represents a lost opportunity that forever altered the course of the conflict in Afghanistan and the future of international terrorism.”

The report states categorically that bin Laden was hiding in Tora Bora when the U.S. had the means to mount a rapid assault with several thousand troops at least.


Steve Jacob 8 years, 6 months ago

Hindsight is 20/20, and to give Bush some slack, how many soldiers would of been lost? At that point in time, all we did was pay for bombs as the anti-Taliban forces did all the ground work, and all the loses in Iraq where unimaginable.

maxcrabb 8 years, 6 months ago

This is just one blunder out of many, starting with the US support of the Bin Laden in the 80's, and continuing with dragging our feet on the troop increases today.

Either we win the war or we go home and hope the resulting implosion of the Middle East isn't too damaging to our interests at home or abroad.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 6 months ago

How many soldiers would have been lost? Subtract how many we had lost up to that point from how many we have lost now. That's how many soldiers could have been saved!!Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should all be tried for war crimes. Thank you Senator Kerry.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 6 months ago

Is anyone surprised? Really?! We all know W was buddies with the Bin Laden family. They were the only ones able to fly out of the country after 9/11. Can someone explain to me what "winning" his war means. We're fighting an idea (terrorism) not any particular country. How do you win a war against an idea. BRING THE TROOPS HOME! NOW!!!

Richard Heckler 8 years, 6 months ago

6,000 USA troops are dead. Tens of thousands are disabled.

Bush blew it on 9/11/01 and blew again on bin Laden. Then again the bin Laden family are big time investors in the USA.

The bin Laden family are friends with the Bush family of politicians that which include James Baker.

I say it is too late to worry about bin Laden. The longer we occupy the mideast the more ammo the USA provides to all terrorist organizations who simply want the USA military out of the mideast.

Killing 100's of thousands of innocent people is bad policy any way you look at it.

Occupying THEIR oil and natural gas resources is NOT diplomacy. 70% of voters want the war stopped.

Why is the USA gov't supporting this activity?

Isn't it time to bring the troops home to their families and devote war dollars toward rebuilding our nations economy,create new industry and put 20 million people back to work making money instead of making war?

esteshawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Penders- where to begin with your ignorant post?

Poser? I assume you are one of those "birther" folks that refuse to understand what citizenship is: O'bama was born in Hawaii to an American mother; he is a citizen, and no matter how many times people like you spread lies, it will not change that.

Muslims love their brother? Obama is a Christian. And even if he were a Muslim, big deal. In case you didn't know this, there are a lot of Christian extremists out there. Lets see: Scott Roeder killed in the name of God. And don't forget Timothy McVey. You can go back to the Crusades as well.

Obama care? If the current health care bill belongs to anyone, it's Harry Reid.

Not only are your prejudices on display here, but your ignorance of history and the way Congress works. Try reading the Constitution. I bet you like to skip over the "well regulated" part of the Second Amendment. Don't you hate it when the Law gets in the way of your prejudicial views?

Mixolydian 8 years, 6 months ago

It's obvious this "report" is a political hatchet job prepared at the expense of our troops.

First it says massive amounts of troops should have been sent into Tora Bora, then it says a lightning force of only a few thousand should have been sent in. It can't even keep it's gibberish straight. It calls into question the ability of our fighting men and women,

For shame democrats.

Polly_Gomer 8 years, 6 months ago

esteshawk (Anonymous) says… "Penders..."

Is nothing but an internet troll and I'm amazed when I visit this site and see that he is still here.

notajayhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

porch_person (Anonymous) says…

"George H. W. Bush “doesn't finish the job” after Desert Storm and George W. Bush doesn't finish the job in Afghanistan."

You forgot the one in between, poochie, where Clinton staged a bombing raid to try to get Saddam Hussein, missed, and dropped it. After all, he was busy with his impeachment at the time.

Still waiting for your yes-or-no answer, troll - and to the question I asked, not to the way you changed the question.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 6 months ago

I don't give a damn what Kerry says further expansion of the war is unacceptable. Democrats were not returned to power to perpetuate the Reagan/Bush,Bush/Quale and Bush/Cheney war for controlling the natural resources of the mideast.

This oil and natural gas pipeline activity stinks and is not worth screwing over the middle class job markets. It sucks.

Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and potential future government figures in Baghdad.

The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when the flow from Iraq's northern oilfields to Palestine was re-directed to Syria.

Now, its resurrection would transform economic power in the region, bringing revenue to the new US-dominated Iraq, cutting out Syria and solving Israel's energy crisis at a stroke.

It would also create an end less and easily accessible source of cheap Iraqi oil for the US guaranteed by reliable allies other than Saudi Arabia - a keystone of US foreign policy for decades and especially since 11 September 2001.

Until 1948, the pipeline ran from the Kurdish-controlled city of Mosul to the Israeli port of Haifa, on its northern Mediterranean coast.

The revival of the pipeline was first discussed openly by the Israeli Minister for National Infrastructures, Joseph Paritzky, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz .

The paper quotes Paritzky as saying that the pipeline would cut Israel's energy bill drastically - probably by more than 25 per cent - since the country is currently largely dependent on expensive imports from Russia.

US intelligence sources confirmed to The Observer that the project has been discussed. One former senior CIA official said: 'It has long been a dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this administration [of President George W. Bush] and the war in Iraq to safeguard Israel's energy supply as well as that of the United States.

'The Haifa pipeline was something that existed, was resurrected as a dream and is now a viable project - albeit with a lot of building to do.'

The editor-in-chief of the Middle East Economic Review , Walid Khadduri, says in the current issue of Jane's Foreign Report that 'there's not a metre of it left, at least in Arab territory'.

To resurrect the pipeline would need the backing of whatever government the US is to put in place in Iraq, and has been discussed - according to Western diplomatic sources - con't

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 6 months ago

Shouldn't Merrill get introuble for cussing on this thread?? I think he should be removed!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

There's ample evidence that Afghanistan, al Qaeda and bin Laden were a much lower priority to BushCo than Saddam and Iraq.

Does that explain the failure to capture bin Laden at Tora Bora? Who knows. But the fact remains that they saw 9/11 primarily as the perfect pretext to invade Iraq. It had been a priority for the neocons at the center of BushCo for more than a decade.

jaywalker 8 years, 6 months ago

Riiiiight! Someone in D.C. is ..ahem..."certain"....ahem......that Bin Laden was.....right there! There he is! Darn, missed 'em! But we haven't gotten close since? Gimme a break. They don't know. The guy's been reportedly here there everywhere, chances are we've had personell walk right over him hiding in some cave. But this "news" is garbage. And even if it were true, it's still one less chance Clinton had in taking him out. But let's not remember that little nugget, gets in the way.....

feeble 8 years, 6 months ago

Wait, someone actually tried to justify the Crusades by citing the presence and "control" of the Holy Land by Europeans?

Take a history course sometime. There were no Europeans, besides pilgrims, in the Holy Lands (Levant) prior to 1078. Between the 3th and 7th centuries, in was nominally controlled by the Byzantine Empire (which, by the way is in no way "Europe") but had been under the dominion of Seljuk Turks for centuries before the white, Anglo-Saxon / Frankish Christians showed up.

I'm not sure what revisionist history is being taught in your Sunday school, but maybe it might shock your mind to learn the earth isn't flat, the planet waaaay is past 6000 years old and the moon doesn't reflect it's own light.

In any event, I'm glad to see that has continued it's tradition of journalistic excellence by giving an open forum to some of the worst trolls this Internet has to offer, outside of 4chan.

hwarangdo 8 years, 6 months ago

It really does not matter whether one is right or left wing. The bottom line is war is big business. Corporations love war. The people who really run this country (not the govt) love war. The people behind the scenes, quietly doing the deals, sealing the contracts, and raking in the $$$$$$$.

Again, i repeat: war is big business. The more "patriotic" the war machine can make it sound, the more support it gets. Bin Laden was a Saudi - did we go there? No, the war was sent to Iraq ... anywhere, anywhere at all, just so it looked like something was being done for revenge. It all sounded so "right" (pun intended).

Again, i repeat: war is big business.

Uh, how's that go? "We can do it!" ... (WWII in case someone is a youngster here) ... big big big bu$ine$$.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

"The Bush administration's position on Iraq was no different from the Clinton administration's."

Yea, that's why BushCo invaded and occupied, and Clinton just lobbed a few airstrikes.

hwarangdo-- You summed it up well. But don't forget the neocolonial aspect of it.

lounger 8 years, 6 months ago

G. W. Bush and his nazis screwed something up- DO TELL! For goodness sake he was NOT after him in the first place. Im not even sure Osama even exists! Bush was the Terrorist!!!

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