Sunday, July 08, 2007

Missed opportunities

Al Qaida Video
Originally uploaded by BHowdy.
We learned today that the United States had the chance to take out Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's number two. We didn't take it.

Mark Mazzetti reports U.S. Aborted Raid on Qaeda Chiefs in Pakistan in ’05. Seems the risks got too great.
But the mission was called off after Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, rejected an 11th-hour appeal by Porter J. Goss, then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, officials said. Members of a Navy Seals unit in parachute gear had already boarded C-130 cargo planes in Afghanistan when the mission was canceled, said a former senior intelligence official involved in the planning.

Mr. Rumsfeld decided that the operation, which had ballooned from a small number of military personnel and C.I.A. operatives to several hundred, was cumbersome and put too many American lives at risk, the current and former officials said.
Too many lives at risk? Like the ones, twos, threes, and fives we're suffering now is okay. I'm thinking that most American military members would rather take the risk taking out an important al-Qaida member than getting killed by an IED on some random mission in Iraq.
“The reluctance to take risk or jeopardize our political relationship with Musharraf may well account for the fact that five and half years after 9/11 we are still trying to run bin Laden and Zawahri to ground,” said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University.
As a country, we've already pissed off most of the world. I'm thinking that an in and out snatch and grab operation, even involving hundreds of troops, couldn't have done much more damage to America's image around the world.

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