Osama bin Laden's orchestration of the 9-11 attacks on the United States, coupled Mullah Omar's (remember him?) refusal to hand OBL over, made "Talibinstan" the main front in the World's Global war on terror. Bush-Cheney's reckless, arbitrary and militaristic deflection of America's revenge into a Rumsfeld's 'target rich' Iraq didn't and does not change that.
An unstinting campaign in Afghanistan was not a matter of choice to be left to "The Decider", a capricious, accidental, and unschooled 'war president'; this was a mandate of history. The capture or killing of Osama bin Laden - with or without the obliteration of the medieval Taliban regime - was Bush's mission, which he began abdicating from (AWOL-again!) as early as November, 2001!
The CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders knew that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora—intelligence operatives had tracked him—and could have been caught. Military author Sean Naylor, calls Tora Bora a "strategic disaster" because the Pentagon refused to deploy a cordon of conventional forces to cut off escaping Qaeda and Taliban members. Instead, to save 'assets' for the impending Iraqi adventure, Tommy Franks outsourced the Tora Bora capture of OBL to local warlords!
Instead of pursuing of Osama and his al Qaeda cadre, Bush had already decided to settle his daddy's ledger with Saddam. In this Quixotic effort in Iraq, he has
- (a) squandered the world-wide reservoir of sympathy in the wake of 9-11,
- (b) allowed the Osama bin Laden to escape our grasp - when we all but had him - and possibly to live out his natural life,
- (c) wasted 2,500 American Killed in Action (well on the way to matching bloodshed by Al Qaeda's original attack of 11 September 2001), and
- (d) misappropriated $300,000,000 on counterproductive effort to spread democracy at the point of a gun.
It is beyond me how we can continue to ask our NATO allies to cover our retreat from Afghanistan (to cover our bruises in Iraq)?
Wasn't this basically our fight originally?