Bush Had No Plan to Catch Bin Laden after 9/11Indeed.
New evidence from former U.S. officials reveals that the George W. Bush administration failed to adopt any plan to block the retreat of Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders from Afghanistan to Pakistan in the first weeks after 9/11.
That failure was directly related to the fact that top administration officials gave priority to planning for war with Iraq over military action against al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
As a result, the United States had far too few troops and strategic airlift capacity in the theatre to cover the large number of possible exit routes through the border area when bin Laden escaped in late 2001.
Because it had not been directed to plan for that contingency, the U.S. military had to turn down an offer by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in late November 2001 to send 60,000 troops to the border passes to intercept them, according to accounts provided by former U.S. officials involved in the issue.
On Nov. 12, 2001, as Northern Alliance troops were marching on Kabul with little resistance, the CIA had intelligence that bin Laden was headed for a cave complex in the Tora Bora Mountains close to the Pakistani border.
The war had ended much more quickly than expected only days earlier. CENTCOM commander Tommy Franks, who was responsible for the war in Afghanistan, had no forces in position to block bin Laden's exit.
Franks asked Lt. Gen. Paul T. Mikolashek, commander of Army Central Command (ARCENT), whether his command could provide a blocking force between al Qaeda and the Pakistani border, according to David W. Lamm, who was then commander of ARCENT Kuwait.
Lamm, a retired Army colonel, recalled in an interview that there was no way to fulfill the CENTCOM commander's request, because ARCENT had neither the troops nor the strategic lift in Kuwait required to put such a force in place. "You looked at that request, and you just shook your head," recalled Lamm, now chief of staff of the Near East South Asia Centre for Strategic Studies at the National Defence University.
Franks apparently already realised that he would need Pakistani help in blocking the al Qaeda exit from Tora Bora. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld told a National Security Council meeting that Franks "wants the [Pakistanis] to close the transit points between Afghanistan and Pakistan to seal what's going in and out", according to the National Security Council meeting transcript in Bob Woodward's book "Bush at War".
Bush responded that they would need to "press Musharraf to do that".
(Read more here)
No wonder the rest of the world overwhelmingly regards Bush's Global War on Terror(TM) as a dismal failure.
In this respect, everything Bush and his administration has touched upon, or had to deal with, has been an utter and complete failure - or has been near-permanently stained and broken.
From 9/11 warnings to Afghanistan to Iraq to Katrina to cronyism to politicizing the apparels of government to the U.S. Constitution to human rights to Kyoto to climate change to the economy - the litany of incompetence is as staggering as it is frightening.
Meanwhile, the McSame-Obama race remains statistically close ...
(Cross-posted at The Wild Wild Left)