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10/01/2004

 

Bush Bungled at Tora Bora?


Secretary of State Colin Powell, though going nowhere near the actual word, strongly implied that JF Kerry lied when he asserted that President Bush had let Osama bin Laden escape from Tora Bora in 2001 by “outsourcing” the work to the Afghan warlords.
``I think it's a stretch to say that they knew he (bin Laden) was there and they knew it at the time the battle was going on,'' Powell said following a speech to the Atlanta Press Club. ``I have no reason to believe that our commanders mishandled that.”
The commander who handled it was CenCom commander General Tommy Franks, and he stands by his decision as well.

Powell added:
”I have no idea whether they were that close to Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora or not.”
The decision was made, it was explained at the time, because the Afghans knew the terrain much better and almost demanded to do it in their own territory. Remember, keeping them in order was part of our mission.

And I wrote earlier today: “If the President had ordered General Franks, against his military advice and better judgment, to send our troops into Tora Bora in search of OBL, we might have lost a few thousand soldiers and come away with nothing. And even if OBL had been taken out back in 2001, we'd still face just as dangerous a terror menace."

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