Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Crushing Legacy of Bush

A Crushing Legacy of Bush | The New York Observer

One reads through something like this and wonders at the thought process of the writer beyond "I hate  Bush".

Those events began with the inexplicable decision by officials of the previous administration to allow Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other ranking leaders of Al Qaeda to escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan in December 2001. At the time, as a new Senate report on the battle of Tora Bora recalls, Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, and Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of American forces in Afghanistan, decided not to augment the tiny force of special operations troops on the ground with sufficient force to capture or kill Mr. bin Laden and his deputies. They later claimed to be worried that “too many American troops in Afghanistan would create an anti-American backlash and fuel a widespread insurgency,” a rationale that can only evoke bitter laughter now.

No further recrimination is necessary; history will render sterner judgments than any that can be written now. But after eight years of incompetence and arrogance, how can the United States salvage what has become of the “good war”?

So the ONLY purpose of US troops being in Afghanistan was and is to capture Osama Bin Ladin and Mullah Omar? Even the rest of the article would seem to give the lie to that, is BO putting in 30K more troops for that reason? No. So if more troops is bad now, why was it not bad in '01? Only because then it would have been the evil Bush putting them in and now it is the savior of the world BO?

We live in a post 9-11 world where the threat of "asymmetric warfare" is almost guaranteed to be with us always and always increasing. How many guys does it take to comandeer an oil tanker and crash it into Manhattan and set it afire? How about a LNG tanker? Supposedly their explosive impact could equal a small nuke. We have seen planes. We know that the next use could be nukes, nerve gas or biological weapons. How secure are some of the control centers for our power grid? How about a small nuke on a SCUD producing an EMP explosion off the Eastern Seaboard? The list is endless, and the "unknown unknowns" are impossible to calculate.

So, we are faced with "Nation Building or Defeat". A very difficult problem. I'm not sure that Afghanistan and Iraq are close enough to the same to use the same strategies -- I think that is what got us in trouble in Iraq. What at least SEEMED to be working in Afghanistan in '01 and '02 was a "small footprint". That strategy was not right for Iraq, but I'm not sure that just because the strategy of a larger footprint worked in Iraq is any reason to assume THAT strategy is portable to Afghanistan.