Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Battle For Tora Bora | The New Republic

Kerry remains furious about Tora Bora today. “They declared Osama bin Laden the world’s number-one criminal, and went out boldly proclaiming, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’ and talking about the dangers of Al Qaeda,” he told me recently. “And when they had an opportunity to completely, not only decapitate it, but probably to leave it with the minuscule, last portion of its tail, they never showed up.” His anger is justified. Bin Laden was clearly at Tora Bora, and sending so few troops was indeed a major failure. It’s a lesson that bears remembering today as the United States continues to pursue Islamist militants in both Afghanistan and Pakistan: In the hunt for members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, there is simply no substitute for boots on the ground. Afghan proxies, Pakistani soldiers, drones--these are not unimportant tools in the war on terrorism. But they are not effective substitutes for U.S. troops. If we want to kill bin Laden and Zawahiri--and other top Al Qaeda leaders--we are probably going to have to do it ourselves.

The Battle For Tora Bora | The New Republic
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