Sunday, October 31, 2004

How Bush Let Bin Laden Get Away

TopDog04 has a nice timeline of how how Bush let Bin Laden Get Away. (Via Josh Marshall.)

Tommy Franks was running the war from Florida at the time. (And, as an aside, I always found it odd that Franks retired in the middle of a conflict. Why not finish the job before handing it off to others?)

At any rate, the US was virtually certain that bin Laden was in Tora Bora in mid November, 2001. On Nov 21, while bin Laden is making his stand at Tora Bora, Bush asks CENTCOM to prepare for an Iraq war. On Nov 27, Franks meets with Rumsfeld about ... Iraq. Bin Laden escapes soon after.

Talk about taking your eye off the ball.

Sure would have been nice to have that terrorist leader dead nearly three years ago, before he turned al Qaeda into a metastasizing ideological movement.

Instead, bin Laden is looking healthy and making new video tapes.

Knight-Ridder (via Atrios) has a very damning piece about how horribly Bush, Rumsfeld and Franks botched the Tora Bora operation. Read it all. One paragraph:
Military and intelligence officials had warned Franks and others that the two main Afghan commanders, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman, couldn't be trusted, and they proved to be correct. They were slow to move their troops into place and didn't attack until four days after American planes began bombing - leaving time for al-Qaida leaders to escape and leaving behind a rear guard of Arab, Chechen and Uzbek fighters.

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