… but of course, they let him get away:
A Senate Foreign Relations Committee report issued this weekend says that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden “was within our grasp” when he was “cornered” in the forbidding mountains of Tora Bora in December, 2001 under intense U.S. bombardment.
… The Senate report says that while bin Laden was writing his last will and testament on December 14, “Fewer than 100 American commandos were on the scene with their Afghan allies and calls for reinforcements to launch an assault were rejected.”
“Requests were also turned down for U.S. troops to block the mountain paths leading to sanctuary a few miles away in Pakistan,” the report continued. “The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the Army, was kept on the sidelines. Instead, the U.S. command chose to rely on air strikes and untrained Afghan militias to attack bin Laden and on Pakistan’s loosely organized Frontier Corps to seal his escape routes.”
The report asserts that, on or around December 16, bin Laden and an entourage of bodyguards walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan’s unregulated tribal area. Most analysts say he is still there today.”
The Senate’s account says that U.S. special operations forces were relying for support from the Afghans on two “relatively minor warlords,” one of whom had a fourth-grade education as was regarded as a bully, and the other a wealthy drug smuggler. The two distrusted each other and , all told, had about 2,000 men.
“The decision not to deploy American forces to go after bin Laden or block his escape was made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, the architects of the unconventional Afghan battle plan known as Operation Enduring Freedom,” the report said, citing fears by Rumsfeld that too many U.S. troops in Afghanistan would fuel an anti-American backlash.
Another bang up job by the Bushies, which has allowed not only Bin Laden, but also his pal, Taliban leader Mullah Omar, to roam free, and continue to issue threats to the West, including the U.S. So what to do now? Why … fire up the Bush defense machine, of course! From Politico’s comment threads to winger blogs all around the Internets, the dittoheads just can’t accept the failures of their Dubya, and are mounting exhaustive defenses of Bush’s failed policy in Afghanistan, including the failure to get Bin Laden and company at Tora Bora. This kind of pathetic idolatry is why so often this country is perceived by much of the world as populated by a bunch of knuckle-dragging rubes.