President Obama announced tonight that U.S. special forces killed Osama Bin Laden.
That’s great … but we could have killed him years ago.
As I noted in 2009:
According to the U.S. Senate – Bin Laden was “within the grasp” of the U.S. military in Afghanistan in December 2001, but that then-secretary of defense Rumsfeld refused to provide the soldiers necessary to capture him.
This is not news: it was disclosed in 2005 by the CIA field commander for the area in Afghanistan where Bin Laden was holed up.
In addition, French soldiers allegedly say that they easily could have captured or killed Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but that the American commanders stopped them.
A retired Colonel and Fox News military analyst said that the U.S. could have killed Bin Laden in 2007, but didn’t:
We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers — Seal Team 6 [Note: this is the exact same team that is credited with killing Bin Laden yesterday] — nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it ….Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.
Indeed, a United States Congressman claims that the Bush administration intentionally let Bin Laden escape in order to justify the Iraq war.
Similarly, Cenk Uygur pointed out:
The New York Times reported … that we sent in 36 U.S. Special Forces troops to get Osama bin Laden when we knew he was in Tora Bora. By contrast, we sent nearly 150,000 soldiers to get Saddam Hussein. In case you’re keeping count at home, we got Saddam and we didn’t get Osama. What does that tell you about this administration’s priorities? This goes beyond incompetence. If you send only 36 soldiers to get somebody in the middle of Afghanistan, it means you don’t want to get him…
Osama had about 1,500-2,000 well-armed, well-trained men in the region. 36 guys to get 2,000? Why would we let ourselves be outgunned like that?…
There is an inescapable fact – if you put this little effort into capturing someone, it means you don’t want to capture him.
If people inside the administration actually held back from capturing Osama bin Laden when we had him cornered, it borders on treason.
Postscript: Of course, some people claim that Bin Laden was actually killed years ago. But as I pointed out in 2009, whether or not he was alive or dead was less important than the fact that the American government pretended that he was a supremely powerful boogeyman who justified an endless and all-consuming war on terror:
Many people claim that Bin Laden died a long time ago. According to Israeli intelligence, Pakistani intelligence, and other sources, Bin Laden is dead.
So if Bin Laden is alive, American leaders have to explain why they have repeatedly chosen not to pull the trigger.
And if he is dead, they have to explain why they are claiming that he’s alive and authenticating his videos.