by Glynn Wilson
On the eve of the five-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America, you have to read between the headlines in the Washington Post to get the point.
Osama bin Laden’s Trail Is ‘Stone Cold,’ according to a detailed analysis by the new national newspaper of record online.
The clandestine U.S. commandos whose job is to capture or kill Osama bin Laden have not received a credible lead in more than two years. Nothing from the vast U.S. intelligence world – no tips from informants, no snippets from electronic intercepts, no points on any satellite image – has led them anywhere near the al-Qaeda leader, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.
The objective news story doesn’t draw the logical conclusion, letting intelligent readers decide for themselves what the point should be. Here it is:
… and President George W. Bush should be held accountable for that.
Intelligence officials think that bin Laden is hiding in the northern reaches of the autonomous tribal region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. This calculation is based largely on a lack of activity elsewhere and on other intelligence, including a videotape, obtained exclusively by the CIA and not previously reported, that shows bin Laden walking on a trail toward Pakistan at the end of the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, when U.S. forces came close but failed to capture him.
Many factors have combined in the five years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to make the pursuit more difficult. They include the lack of CIA access to people close to al-Qaeda’s inner circle; Pakistan’s unwillingness to pursue him; the reemergence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; the strength of the Iraqi insurgency, which has depleted U.S. military and intelligence resources; and the U.S. government’s own disorganization.
But the underlying reality is that finding one person in hiding is difficult under any circumstances. Eric Rudolph, the confessed Olympics and abortion clinic bomber, evaded authorities for five years, only to be captured miles from where he was last seen in North Carolina.
It has been so long since there has been anything like a real close call that some operatives have given bin Laden a nickname: “Elvis,” for all the wishful-thinking sightings that have substituted for anything real.
After playing down bin Laden’s importance and barely mentioning him for several years, Bush last week repeatedly invoked his name and quoted from his writings and speeches to underscore what Bush said is the continuing threat of terrorism. . . .
On (a) videotape (of al Qaida right after 9/11) obtained by the CIA, bin Laden is seen confidently instructing his party how to dig holes in the ground to lie in undetected at night. A bomb dropped by a U.S. aircraft can be seen exploding in the distance. “We were there last night,” bin Laden says without much concern in his voice. He was in or headed toward Pakistan, counterterrorism officials think.
That was December 2001. Only two months later, Bush decided to pull out most of the special operations troops and their CIA counterparts in the paramilitary division that were leading the hunt for bin Laden in Afghanistan to prepare for war in Iraq, said Flynt L. Leverett, then an expert on the Middle East at the National Security Council.
“I was appalled when I learned about it,” said Leverett, who has become an outspoken critic of the administration’s counterterrorism policy. “I don’t know of anyone who thought it was a good idea. It’s very likely that bin Laden would be dead or in American custody if we hadn’t done that.”
President Bush continues to claim that we are safer now, but that is hard to believe considering how this administration handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast – and how everything is going wrong in Iraq and much of the world has lost respect for the United States under Bush’s watch.
If you believe the word of politicians who believe spinning press releases and making speeches makes you safer, vote for more Republicans in the November elections.
If you believe those running the government should show up and do their jobs in a credible fashion, vote for Democrats and help change the power structure in Congress.
Bush will never stand for election ever again. So how do we hold him accountable for his incompetent high-crimes and misdemeanors – including not finding Osama bin Laden “dead or alive?”
The only way that will happen is for the majority to change in the U.S. House of Representatives, where according to the Constitution, impeachment proceedings must be initiated. A Democratic Party majority in the U.S. Senate is also important. That’s where Bush’s war crimes trial should be held.
© 2006 – 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.