Bush and bin Laden part 2

English: Tora Bora

English: Tora Bora (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After I wrote Bush and bin Laden, I decided to do some further reading on the subject. Tommy Franks‘s deputy Lieutenant General Michael DeLong with Noah Lukeman wrote a book I had not read before entitled Inside Centcom, The Unvarnished Truth about the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In that book, DeLong again stated his conviction that bin Laden was at Tora Bora during late 2001, early 2002. The area of interest around Tora Bora was 70 square miles. If it were circular, the circumference to be guarded was 30 miles; if rectangular 7 by 10 miles, the perimeter was 34 miles. Assuming a rectangle 1 mile by 70 miles long, the worst possible case from our viewpoint, the perimeter to be guarded against escape by bin Laden would have been 142 miles. A large area to cover it is true, but surely it was well within our capabilities to capture the world’s most wanted war criminal since the mountainous terrain limited the number of escape routes for the non-mountain climbers of al-Qaeda members from Saudi Arabia. After all, how many desert dwellers climb mountains for sport or recreation?

Bush and bin Laden

English: Osama bin Laden Compound Italiano: Il...

English: Osama bin Laden Compound Italiano: Il complesso di Osama Bin Laden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. The following is from Decision Points by George W. Bush and these are Bush’s words.

“Driven out of their strongholds, the remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda fled to Afghanistan’s rugged eastern border with Pakistan. In early 2002, Tommy Franks mounted a major assault called Operation Anaconda. Out troops, joined by coalition partners and Afghan forces, squeezed out the remaining al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan. CIA officers and Special Forces crawled through the caves, calling in airstrikes on terrorist hideouts and putting a serious dent in al Qaeda’s army.

“I hoped I would get a call with the news that Osama bin Laden was among the dead or captured. We were searching for him constantly and received frequent but conflicting information on his whereabouts. Some reports placed him in Jalalabad. Others had him in Peshawar, or at a lake near Kandahar, or at the Tora Bora cave complex. Our troops pursued every lead. Several times we thought we might have nailed him. But the intelligence never panned out.

“Years later, critics charged that we allowed bin Laden to slip the noose at Tora Bora. I sure didn’t see it that way. I asked our commanders and CIA officials about bin Laden frequently. They were working around the clock to locate him, and they assured me they had the troop levels and resources they needed. If we had known for sure where he was, we would have moved heaven and earth to bring him to justice.”

Those are Bush’s words, and I don’t believe them. And here is why.

At that time we knew that a portion of the Pakistan government was supporting the Taliban and probably still are. We surrounded Tora Bora on the Afghan side and relied on the Pakistanis to block exits from Tora Bora into Pakistan. They allowed bin Laden and much of al-Qaeda to escape. President Obama was able to find and kill bin Laden ONLY because he kept the Pakistan government in the dark.

We have George W. Bush’s words above. Years later, he expressed unconcern about bin Laden being only one man, as if the man responsible for 9-11 was not important. In his book In My Time, Dick Cheney does not mention Tora Bora. Tommy Franks in his book American Soldier did not know where bin Laden was. However, Franks’s deputy in command, Michael DeLong in his book A General Speaks Out, said that bin Laden was definitely at Tora Bora. He said that in the first edition of the book and changed his story in the second edition. Donald Rumsfeld claimed that we could not use American troops to block exits from Tora Bora because they would upset the area residents. Imagine that.

We had troops in the area who ready and eager to join in the battle. They were not used and wonder today why not. Tora Bora occurred within 90 days of 9-11. Imagine how different our world would be today if we had killed or captured bin Laden and the majority of al-Qaeda there. The war against al-Qaeda would have been one of the shortest wars in our history. At the beginning of the US Civil War, Union soldiers were asked to enlist for a short war, 90 days or less. The Civil War dragged on for four long, hard years. The war against al-Qaeda began on 9-11-2001 and has dragged on for 11 years with no end in sight.

How do I know that Bush’s words are untrue? Let me count the ways.

When 9-11 occurred, I thought that the Bush team was the team we needed to fight al-Qaeda. One year into the Iraq war in 2004, I had changed my mind completely. I wanted to know what was happening in Iraq and the media were not forthcoming. I started reading every book I could on Iraq and they convinced me that the Bush administration was incompetent. I have continued my reading on Iraq including Paul Bremer’s 2006 book entitled My Year in Iraq. I am convinced that all of Bush’s efforts were a mistake and a terrible of waste of life and national treasure. Even the apparent success of the surge was a fortuitous coincidence with Iraqi internal conditions that made the surge look like a success to American reporters.

Then in 2005, there was Katrina which could have been largely prevented if Bush had strengthened the levees instead of spending the money on a shipping canal that was hardly ever used. He had 4.5 years to address that problem and did not. The Afghan and Iraq wars continued during Bush’s second term. In 2007 and 2008, the banking system nearly ground to a halt and the Great Recession began. Bush could have acted earlier with Alan Greenspan to stop the inflation of the credit bubble. He did nothing.

If the Bush administration was so incompetent after invading Iraq, do we have any evidence that they were more competent before? No, we do not. We know now that Iraq was invaded under false pretenses. The Bush administration did not prevent 9-11 from happening. After it happened, it declared war on Afghanistan even though the Taliban were willing to turn bin Laden over to another country. Bush refused and started bombing the country. Rumsfeld knew that there were few targets to attack in Afghanistan and expressed the desire to start bombing Iraq where there were more targets.

So I say to you that the Bush administration was an incompetent administration from beginning to end, for the entire eight years. Not capturing bin Laden and the majority of al-Qaeda at Tora Bora when they were cornered was either stupid or criminal or both.

Change of heart

Dick Cheney - Caricature

Dick Cheney - Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Dick Cheney recently survived a heart transplant operation. Some survivors of this operation have experienced a change of heart in their way of looking at life. Some believe that the donor’s way of life affects the way the recipient lives his/her life. Just imagine if Cheney were to decide to come clean about the Bush/Cheney administration’s inner workings. There is much I would like to know about WMDs in Iraq, bin Laden at Tora Bora, the swiftboating of John Kerry and the vote counting in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004. They say confession is good for the soul. The truth from Cheney would clear up some of the distrust in the country and make Obama’s reconstruction efforts easier.  Cheney could go down in history as the last honest Republican. Probably too much to hope for.

Please see Worst president | Dick Cheney | Who shot the sheriff?

Dick Cheney

Dust jacketIn My Time, A Personal and Political Memoir by Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney. Contrary to what Dick Cheney said, the contents of this book did not cause by head to spin. It did confirm what many of us already knew or suspected, George W. Bush intended to invade Iraq no matter what. He even intended to defy Congress if necessary and was prepared to be impeached over the issue if necessary. Evidence of WMD did not matter nor did logic or law. That’s how much Bush/Cheney respected the Constitution.

Syria with the assistance of North Korea tried secretly to build a nuclear reactor at al-Kibar in the Syrian desert. Israel, with Cheney’s support, wanted the US to destroy the reactor before it became operational, but Bush was opposed. Subsequently, Israel went ahead and bombed the unfinished reactor on their own. That was the second nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel with Iraq’s being the first.

Now we are faced with the possibility of a nuclear Iran and again the US is being urged by Saudi Arabia, Israel and others to destroy the Iranian reactor(s). If we do not, I fear that Israel will again act on their own, and the US will be blamed for the actions of Israel as our proxy. For a brief discussion of the consequences of attacking Iran, please see my prior post, If John McCain had won. Recently, Afghanistan indicated that it would support Pakistan in a war between Pakistan and the US. Consider the possibility of Iraq allied with Iran in a war between the US and Iran.

I was disappointed that Dick Cheney did not mention bin Laden and al-Qaeda at Tora Bora in Afghanistan when we and the Pakistanis had them surrounded in late 2001. I was hoping for his take on how and why bin Laden escaped with most of his supporters to continue fighting the US.

Please see Guilty! | Who shot the sheriff?

Related articles