Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Tora Bora Lying
"The mission was to try to destroy and eliminate the Al Qaeda presence there, and capture Osama bin Laden or any of his senior deputies that were there. We certainly did the former with the Al Qaeda fighters up there. We knew it would be a hard fight. Everywhere we had encountered ... the Taliban, they tended to recognize when the day was done; they would either surrender or make deals. The Al-Qaeda would fight pretty much to the death or look for avenues to escape to fight another day. We knew it would be a hard fight up there, no question about that. And it was. They fought very hard, until we killed them. ...
If terms of the mission were to try and go find and show the world that we had captured and killed Osama bin Laden — even though we didn't do that — that's a very difficult task. Some folks underestimated how difficult the task is to find somebody in his own backyard. ... At any rate ...we certainly accomplished a significant proportion of the mission which was to go up there and destroy Al Qaeda in his backyard, in his stronghold.
Was it perfect? No, it wasn't perfect. ... In hindsight maybe would we have liked to have done more? Absolutely, we would like to walk out of the mountains with bin Laden and his cronies in hand, certainly, but it didn't happen. I think it's a mistake for people to cast too glaring an indictment of that operation not understanding fully the context of what was going on with the battlefield at the time, what was available, and the urgency of when people wanted to see things happen.(Side note: Yeah, John Kerry, you tell the commander of the Special Forces Group that he did his job wrong. And that you - Mr. Magic Hat in Cambodia - would do it better. Throw a medal or a ribbon at him while you're at it, too.)"