The Corner

More Tora Bora

Here’s an intelligent criticism of my Tora Bora column. E-mail:

“Dear Mr. Lowry,

I enjoyed your column today on Kerry’s vapid Tora Bora criticism, but while Kerry himself is on shaky ground making it (because a Kerry Admin would be even more timid) – there is ample cause for worry regarding the choices made re: Tora Bora.

In the column you present the same false choice that Rumsfeld offered: we either do a ‘Soviet-style’ mass invasion or we use 300 Special Forces. Surely there’s a force level between 300 and 300,000? We have 16,000 troops currently in Afghanistan and no nationalistic uprising. If we had even half of that level of force at Tora Bora in December, the odds of sealing the various escape routes swing heavily in our favor.

While there is no single, definitive account of what happened in Tora Bora, a reading of all the published reports make one point repeatedly: we did not commit U.S. forces because we deemed it too dangerous. When you consider that there was a fairly good likelihood that the mastermind of 9/11 was in those mountains, this decision is truly scandalous and reflects very poorly on the judgment of Rumsfeld and his Joint Chiefs. ‘Transformational’ warfare routed the Taliban, but it failed to kill most of the key al Qaeda leaders (Atef excepted) on the battlefield.”

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