None of the emails I’ve received so far is able to put a very attractive face on what took place. Here are couple.
From one reader:
The only defense I’ve seen of the handling of Tora
Bora was offered by Tommy Franks when he was
interviewed just after the First Debate.
His excuse was, in a nutshell, that intelligence at
the time indicated a lot of places where Bin Laden
might have been, and surrounding Tora Bora might have
meant missing him somewhere else (he mentioned a lake
near Kandahar as an alternate report of the time).
This falls short in at least two ways. One, we know
that lots of Al Qaeda were at Tora Bora, so even if
OBL wasn’t it still didn’t behoove us to let the
hundreds of other AQ get away. Two, even if it was
uncertain that OBL was there, it would have been worth
trying, wouldn’t it? If there were a handful of
possible locations, trying all of them makes for a
better excuse than trying none of them.
Flip through Robin Moore’s ‘The Hunt For Bin Laden’ until you find the portion on Tota Bora/bin Laden and you’ll see why Bush and Cheney let it pass w/o comment.
As I recall, it was the higher-ups at CENTCOM in Tampa that f’ed the deal up when they asked the SF[Special Forces] guys in the field to ‘wait’ before
whacking OBL so they (who’d been largely cut out of the mission in lieu of an SF-centric expedition by Rummy) could get some folks over there to ’share in the credit glow’ of such a major WOT coup.
Badmouthing that crowd [Centcom in Florida] may explain things, but does Bush no good.
Why does neither Bush nor Cheney attempt to refute the charge that we let OBL slip through our fingers? Because, apparently, we did just that.