Monday, February 19, 2007

How Missed Opportunities Can Hurt

Back in 2001-2002, the United States brought the full force of its military might against the primitive and impoverished nation of Afghanistan, because that nation (governed by a cruel and medieval-minded theocratic junta) was allowing the terrorist organization that attacked us on 9/11/01 to train and operate within its borders.

We had al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, cornered in the Tora Bora mountains when quite inexplicably the Bush Administration ordered the military to back off. The core leadership of the terrorist organization and the remnants of the Afghan Taliban government fled into friendly tribal areas within Pakistan. Pakistan, putatively our ally, will not allow us to mount military operations within these areas.

The reason for that refusal is simple - if Pakistani President Musharraf allows it, his name is Mud. The very least that would happen would be a revolution in that country, followed by the death of Musharraf and the installation of a religiously-oriented government that would not necessarily be our friend.

The reason we backed away from Tora Bora was a massive shift of focus from Afghanistan to Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; it was just a convenient target sitting on a huge puddle of oil. We invaded in early 2003, allowing the Taliban to regroup, reorganize and now pose a significant threat to the nascent Afghan government.

Now, four years later -

All of the predictions made at the start of the war by the neoconservative 'thinkers' and pundits turned out to be completely, inexcusably and disastrously wrong. We have lost 3130 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, with many thousands injured and more psychologically traumatized. The war has cost us nearly a trillion dollars.

And now the Administration has to back away from a frequent assertion: that al-Qaeda is in disarray and on the run.

Terrorism 'experts' have disclosed that al-Qaeda has regrouped and set up training camps in the safe tribal enclaves in Pakistan. The danger was not eliminated, and now it is rising again.

Any blame for this state of affairs must be laid directly at the feet of the Bush Administration, who had bin Laden in their grasp and let him go, who shifted focus from Afghanistan to Iraq, and who failed to use its alliances after 9/11 effectively.

"Fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here" always was just a palliative, a simple slogan for simple minds who are addicted to Sound Bite Media. Now, thanks to the Bush Administration, we face the prospect of another visit from al-Qaeda.

Blowback's a bitch.


Blogger Dr. Know said...

Accurate, but unfortunate, synopsis. We have "emboldened" an entirely new generation of American Hating terrorists by our own hand - and the MIC/PNAC cartel just loves it...

7:11 PM EST  

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