Why We Waited Till Now to Kill Bin Laden

Why did we let Osama Bin Laden escape when we had him trapped in Tora Bora in 2002? And why didn’t we capture or kill him when we always had intelligence of his whereabouts? Because we needed him to justify our open-ended “war on terror.”

The Al Qaeda, or "Foundation," organized by Osama bin Laden from a force he led of foreign Muslim volunteers fighting on the side of the native Afhan Mudajideen against the Soviet puppet government of Afghanistan in the 1980's (and supported by the U.S.) operates as a network of small, mobile cells, ideological united but strategically disconnected from each other. Capture members of one cell and no amount of interrogation can extract from them reliable information on the whereabouts or the next move of other cells. And because their weaponry and methods of combat are so simple—roadside bombs hidden in trash, brainwashed, adrenalin-drugged suicide bombers—their fighters could just as readily be trained in Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, the jungles of Bolivia or in abandoned warehouses in Gary, Indiana. Recall how two homeless misfits terrorized Virginia, Maryland and DC for weeks with nothing more than a deer rifle and an old car.

Recall further that none of the 9/11 terrorists were Iraqi or Afghan. Of the 19, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, a staunch U.S. ally. They got all the training they needed by taking a few classes in commercial flight schools in California, Florida and Arizona. None could be called a professional soldier in the true sense of the word. The alleged architect of the attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is a Pakistani engineering graduate of North Carolina State University. That the terrorist managed to bring down the Twin Towers and murder nearly 3,000 Americans was for them a stroke of luck, an achievement far beyond their capabilities and expectations.

So had Osama Bin Laden been captured or killed early on, some other charismatic figure waiting in the wings would have taken his place, and the conflict would have raged on, in Afghanistan, some other part of the world, or here at home. We then would have been compelled to admit that we have taken on a hydra monster that cannot be destroyed militarily, as we did Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. Absurd though it may seem, a healthy, mighty Osama Bin Laden, real or imagined, was a key asset in our war against terror. Fidel Castro and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might have had a point when they jested that Bin Laden was a CIA agent.

So why did we wait until now to kill him? Because our leaders have finally realize that the ten-year war in Afghanistan is going nowhere; that the average American has grown sick of the war; that we can't continue squandering trillions of precious dollars on a lost cause; that it's high time to declare whatever it was we accomplished in Afghanistan a victory and bring our troops home; that in these hard, divisive times we need a some heartening news to re-unite the nation; and, reversing the logic of our earlier policy, that a dead Osama Bin Laden is more valuable to us now than a live one.

Yet, by nearly bankrupting America, as he did the mighty Soviet Union, his game plan all along, it was Osama bin Landen who won in the end.

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