Monday, November 30, 2009

Rumsfeld let Bin Laden escape in 2001, says Senate report.

A new Senate report has found that Donald Rumsfeld failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden when he was trapped at Tora Bora and that this failure has left the US more vulnerable to terrorism.

The report by the Senate foreign relations committee is damning of the way George Bush's administration conducted the aftermath of its bombing campaign in Afghanistan, saying it amounted to a "lost opportunity". It states that as a result of allowing the al-Qaida leader to flee from his Tora Bora stronghold into Pakistan, Americans were left more vulnerable to terrorism, and the foundations were laid for today's protracted Afghan insurgency. It also lays blame for the July 2005 London bombings on a failure to kill the al-Qaida leaders at Tora Bora.

Republican critics are likely to dismiss the report as a partisan work designed to deflect the current military troubles in Afghanistan away from President Barack Obama and on to his predecessor. The committee is Democratic-controlled.

But the report contains a mass of evidence that points towards the near certainty that Bin Laden was in the Tora Bora district of the White Mountains in eastern Afghanistan, along with up to 1,500 of his most loyal al-Qaida fighters and bodyguards, in late November 2001, shortly before the fall of Kabul.

Further evidence came from al-Qaida suspects detained at Guantánamo and, most authoritatively, from the official history of the US special operations command, which confirms bin Laden's presence at Tora Bora.

"Osama bin Laden's demise would not have erased the worldwide threat from extremists," it concludes. "But the failure to kill or capture him has allowed Bin Laden to exert a malign influence over events in the region."

The Republicans make much of the fact that the US was not attacked (again) during the presidency of George W Bush, often ignoring the fact that Bush was warned that al Qaeda intended to attack inside the United States and that he took no steps of any kind to prevent or even inquire into how one could work to prevent 9-11.
Warnings about al Qaeda began to pour in. The Bush Administration was repeatedly warned by both the U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies that al Qaeda was planning an attack. In his testimony before the independent 9-11 commission, Richard Clarke asserted that both he and Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) George Tenet "tried very hard to create a sense of urgency by seeing to it that intelligence reports on the Al Qaida threat were frequently given to the president and other high-level officials." Clarke further stated that "President Bush was regularly told by the director of Central Intelligence that there was an urgent threat...He was told this dozens of times in the morning briefings that George Tenet gave him." The White House has confirmed that, on August 6, 2001, President Bush's Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) specifically focused on al Qaeda's intent to attack the United States, and specifically warned that airplane hijackings could be involved. According to press reports, the PDB included a fresh report from British intelligence warning that al Qaeda was planning multiple hijackings.
The Associated Press reported that "President Bush's national security leadership met formally nearly 100 times in the months prior to the Sept. 11 attacks yet terrorism was the topic during only two of those sessions, officials say..
And now we find that bin Laden was at Tora Bora, surrounded by US troops, and yet, somehow, he managed to get away.

When it comes to the subject of terrorism, it has always seemed to me that it matters more to the Republicans (and their supporters) that they talk tough, rather than that their actions actually be effective.

That's why they advocate torture, even though most people say it is highly ineffective. It's why they always advocate sending other people's children to war rather than attempting any kind of diplomacy, because at all times it matters more to them that they are seen to be making "tough" choices than actually being effective.

Click here for full article.


Cecilieaux said...

Thanks! Your readers should know that the actual report is available online at

The actual report is only 20 pp. and the rest is notes and appendices.

Kel said...

Thanks for that C.