The Corner

More On Tora Bora

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.

From another:

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.

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