Report: Bush Let bin Laden Get Away

A Senate Foreign Relations Committee report says the Bush Administration got soft and let bin Laden get away.

Tina Moore, New York Daily News:

Osama Bin Laden was within military reach when the Bush administration allowed him to disappear into the mountains of Afghanistan rather than pursue him with a massive military force, a new Senate report says.

The report asserts that the failure to get the terrorist leader when he was at his most vulnerable in December 2001 – three months after the 9/11 attacks – led to today’s reinvigorated insurgency in Afghanistan. …

… The report calls then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Tommy Franks, the top military commander at the time, to the carpet and asserts the U.S. had the means to mount a rapid assault on Bin Laden with several thousand troops.

Instead, fewer than 100 commandoes, working with Afghan militias, tried to capitalize on air strikes and track down the ragged band of terrorists.

I like this part:

At the time, Rumsfeld expressed concern over the backlash that could be created by a large U.S. troop presence,

It never occurred to him to apply the same concern to Iraq?

On or about Dec. 16, 2001, Bin Laden and bodyguards “walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan’s unregulated tribal area,” where he is still believed to be, the report says.

Scott Shane, New York Times:

The report, based in part on a little-noticed 2007 history of the Tora Bora episode by the military’s Special Operations Command, asserts that the consequences of not sending American troops in 2001 to block Mr. bin Laden’s escape into Pakistan are still being felt.

The report blames the lapse for “laying the foundation for today’s protracted Afghan insurgency and inflaming the internal strife now endangering Pakistan.”

Here’s the punch line: Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek, actually has an op ed in the current issue titled “Why Dick Cheney Should Run in 2012.” I don’t think it’s a spoof. Meachem doesn’t exactly say Cheney should be president, but he somehow thinks Cheney’s ideas should still be taken seriously.

A campaign would also give us an occasion that history denied us in 2008: an opportunity to adjudicate the George W. Bush years in a direct way.

Or, we could engage in lots of investigations followed by lots of public hearings.

As John McCain pointed out in the fall of 2008, he is not Bush. Nor is Cheney, but the former vice president would make the case for the harder-line elements of the Bush world view.

And we need to revisit the “Bush world view” why, exactly?

Far from fading away, Cheney has been the voice of the opposition since the inauguration. Wouldn’t it be more productive and even illuminating if he took his arguments out of the realm of punditry and into the arena of electoral politics? Are we more or less secure because of the conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Does the former vice president still believe in a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda? Did the counterterror measures adopted in the aftermath of the attacks go too far? Let’s have the fight and see what the country thinks.

Or, let’s not. Instead, let’s round up the turkeys and send them to The Hague. The Bush world view would get thoroughly and objectively aired there, I suspect.

22 thoughts on “Report: Bush Let bin Laden Get Away

  1. Well I can’t be the only one thinking that the reason for our lackluster pursuit was that if we had captured or killed Bin Laden that our reason for invading Iraq would have vanished.

  2. Well I can’t be the only one thinking that the reason for our lackluster pursuit of Bin Laden was that we had yet to invade Iraq, because how would the administration possibly justify the second invasion without a boogeyman.

  3. Sure, let Dick run. See Dick run. See Dick have a heart attack. Run, Dick, run…

    Seriously though, after all this man has de-accomplished in, and for, this country, and the world, how could he be allowed to run for anything even as important as the town Rat Catcher? Jesus, if he won that, there’d be ‘Rodents from Hell’ controlling the streets, because this idiot would think the way to control the rat population is to arrest all of the cats.
    And the people who would either encourage, or even allow him to run, would be like the father who would think about allowing his brother, “Wicked Uncle Dick,” who battered his own wife, molested his own children, and screwed his own dog, to watch over your family and dog while you went on a business trip to Florida for a week. As you drive off, when you see “Wicked Uncle Dick” smiling his smirking smile, your wife, crying, your children trembling, and your dog whimpering, would it enter your thick cranium at any point that this may not have been the best idea you ever had?
    Run for President? This man is an International War Criminal. He should be the villain in a Bond movie. Or, more fittingly, they could cast him in the next “Austin Powers” film. He could play Dr. Evil’s stupider and more malignant brother.

  4. Well, to be fair – catching Osama Bin Laden wasn’t going to put any dollars in Halliburton’s pocket now was it? Besides, it was always all about the oil. If they HAD caught Bin Laden in 2001 how would we have gotten troops into Afghanistan? It would have been harder for them to lie their way into invading Iraq no?

  5. Of-course they didn’t want to catch Bin-Laden, not only would they lose the Iraq justification, but more importantly they would lose the proverbial, monster under the bed/in the closet. The thing they can talk about to scare the masses every couple weeks.

    In regards to Cheney running for the Presidency, I think he would have run in 2000 or 1996 – but he fears the amount the press would scrutinize him! He likes the dark side and dark alleys way too much to have the courage to open himself up to all the ceremonial speeches and press conferences a President is required to undergo. However, I personally would at least take any of his silly statements seriously if he did – from his position now he is nothing more than a fly on the rear – you can feel him, but you can never get rid of him.

  6. As long as Obama thinks all that matters is having the biggest party tent in DC, it will never investigate the criminal activities of Dubya’s administration, because a lot of Dems were complicit (and almost certainly took their own share of bribes). And until that happens, the Reps will scream, and strut and tell brazen lies with impunity. They know Obama is easily rolled, and I suspect he knows they realize this, too.

    Oh, to live in a nation where accountability isn’t simply a word you hear on the BBC.

  7. The threat of discovery once again rears its ugly head.
    There is much talk about Bin Laden being a CIA asset during conflicts from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan to the Balkan war. I have a theory that Bin Laden was an asset until just after 9/11. At that point, we needed a boogie man scape goat. Bin Laden was perfect for the part, and any deals made to him could be wiped off the slate.I’m more inclined to believe that Bin Laden was not involved at all in the 9/11 attacks, but blessed the events after the fact. I have no proof, but most of the “facts” surrounding that day appear to be more magic than real, and there is no magic in our universe.
    We have many unsolved crimes revolving around the Bush Administration, but the main one IMHO, is still the anthrax attack(s).Those attacks were the icing on the cake to get an already jittery public wanting blood.

  8. The other thing that needs to be mentioned is that the bin Laden family and the Bush family are long time friends. Is that another reason why bin Laden was allowed to escape?

  9. Bin Laden at large was a perfect bete noire for the Bushies. They not only couldn’t have invaded Iraq without using OBL as a shadow puppet; they couldn’t have won re-election in 2004 without him, either. I’ve never believed for a minute that they were serious about catching him.

    I believe it was Scott McClellan who responded to a bin Laden question at a presser with the reply: “I’m sorry… who?”

  10. Ah!, But we got to see Saddam executed, and we did get to see Uday’s corpse. What more could we ask for? Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the rape rooms.

  11. OBL was in fact the best thing that ever happened for the Bush administration, the gift that kept on giving. They got the Patriot Act, domestic spying, torture, secret prisons, and let’s not forget the all-important 2004 election, all gifts from OBL. The only thing they did not get was Rove’s permanent majority, but they sure gave it their best shot.

    Capture or kill OBL? Where’s the benefit in that?

  12. Somewhat related article on HuffPo. Matthew Dowd sounds almost enlightened:

    But I think this goes to a fundamental value that I think we lost, which is that we can get things for nothing. That we can go to war and not have to pay for it either by cutting the budget or doing something else. We have a war; we don’t have a draft. All of these sorts of things, that we think, ‘Oh, by way, we can go fight the most important war in the history of our country, but we’re not going to have a draft, we’re not going to pay for it, we’re not going to do anything that causes anybody to sacrifice.’

    Brings new meaning to “land of the free.”

  13. OBL was only needed at those times it was necessary to scare the public: to start the war, and to get re-elected. That’s it.

  14. Testify Sister Maha!!!!!!! This is why I Love you! There is no bullshit here….Well said on all accounts.

    If all this is true we all coulda figured it , right? Catching Bin Laden was NEVER in the bushies best interest….hello , can you say end to war president and all the perks they got from it? Holy crap he needed to roll out the bin laden tapes everytime the public got even close to a question…It was never about America for these was all about how they could use the situation …sad but true…the hearings you suggest could prove me wrong

  15. He almost seems like a poseable action doll. Of course one could argue that he did all through his eight years in office. This picture of Dubya is almost as good as his “Mission Accomplished” in a flight suit. I wonder, if only Prescott Bush had been run over by a bus as a child, how much better the world would be. At least SOMEONE is facing a little heat over the lies we were all told that got us into Iraq. In a perfect world Bush/Cheney would at some point or another face a tribunal in the Hague for the death of a few hundred thousand people who would be alive if it wasn’t for their actions, but alas, this is the real world, not the one that most reich wingers seem to live in.

  16. Off Topic: This is like something out of the Needless Markup or Hammacher Schlemmer more money than brains catalog. Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but as children are going to sleep hungry, JUST maybe if you’re planning on spending $122 on two $8 toy hamsters, stop NOW, donate that money to your local food bank or animal shelter and buy your kid something else. OMG, people are so stupid. This is what our founding fathers envisioned has become.

  17. Remember that following an American bombing raid in Afghanistan that killed 4,000 Afghans (perhaps you didn’t know that there were Afghan men, women and children flying those planes on 9/11) Taliban leaders offered Bush to turn over Bin Laden to a neutral nation. Bush refused calling the offer “insincere.”

    (Speaking of slaughtering innocent citizens of a sovereign state, do you know why we attacked Iraq in March? Because you don’t launch a new product in August – foreinstance.)

  18. Yeah, Felicity.. I remember well the Taliban’s offer to turn over Bin Laden providing he be tried by an Islamic court.. It was the perfect opportunity to bring Bin Laden to justice but Bush was a perfect jerk(if sincerity is a factor) and refused the opportunity. I suggested on this blog that a panel of Islamic judges representative of the entire spectrum of Islam would without doubt have condemned the terrorist attack on innocent people no matter where they lived, or who they were, and put Bin Laden to death.

    If Islam, in it’s entirety, was to judge Bin Laden it would have to convict itself of the endorsement of terrorism in order to find Bin Laden innocent. Bush squandered the perfect opportunity for justice in the tragedy of 9/11. But I don’t think Bush was interested in justice.. He was interested in a holy war where he could be God’s champion and write a page of greatness for himself in history. He is a delusional asshole.. and history will judge him as such!

  19. Let’s start with the indisputable fact that bin Laden is a monster of our own creation, in that Reagan and Bush I funded the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s and bin Laden himself cut his jihadi teeth on the American nickel. Add to that the stunning fact that Bush II and Condi Rice did nothing – nada, zippo, zilch – about terrorism, despite being warned from his inauguration day forward that this would be the most important issue they were going to have to deal with. In fact, John Ashcroft was proposing to slash funding for anti-terrorism efforts the week 9-11 occurred. Then, Bush received numerous warnings from May 2001 on about an impending terrorist attack and again took no action whatsoever. Finally, as noted above, the Taliban offered to surrender bin Laden to a neutral Muslim country after the attacks and Bush refused! This pattern of gross negligence and reckless incompetence demands impeachment at the very least, if not imprisonment and execution for treason!

  20. Pingback: The Mahablog » Afghanistan: Unscrewing the Pooch

  21. I wonder if it’s possible (and I’ve heard this suggestion before) that, calling on their past associations with bin Laden, Bush/Cheney made a pact with bin Laden to let him and his cohort stay relatively free and safe during the Bush term in return for OBL’s pledge to not allow al Qaeda attacks on US soil (attacks on other countries notwithstanding). It’s plausible: cut a deal and leave the guy alone so as to use him as a boogey man to maintain the fear level at home (and to have Cheney now be able to disseminate the we-didn’t-get-attacked-in-8-years meme), and switch the scene to Iraq to go after OBL’s enemy Saddam and for the benefit of the Bush/Cheney contracting buddies. Boy, would I love to see some documentation about that.

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