But how about further back, before we were even there? I've posted on it before but surprisingly this BBC story is still intact after almost 9 years, a report published September 18, 2001 quoting a Pakistani foreign minister as saying the US (and perhaps the west in general) had a pre 9/11 plan to attack Afghanistan no later than October 2001 if the Taliban wouldn't give up bin Laden:
Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.Why did no US media organization ever question the Bush administration about this? Surely such a plan, if it existed, was to have been in retaliation over the Cole bombing but it seems to go against the general consensus that Bushco was asleep at the switch on terrorism in the months leading up to the attack. George Tenet said nothing about it in his memoirs.
Mr Naik said US officials told him of the plan at a UN-sponsored international contact group on Afghanistan which took place in Berlin.
Mr Naik told the BBC that at the meeting the US representatives told him that unless Bin Laden was handed over swiftly America would take military action to kill or capture both Bin Laden and the Taleban leader, Mullah Omar.
The wider objective, according to Mr Naik, would be to topple the Taleban regime and install a transitional government of moderate Afghans in its place - possibly under the leadership of the former Afghan King Zahir Shah.
Mr Naik was told that Washington would launch its operation from bases in Tajikistan, where American advisers were already in place.
Bin Laden would have been "killed or captured"
He was told that Uzbekistan would also participate in the operation and that 17,000 Russian troops were on standby.
On the other hand it's not hard to see why the Bush folks wouldn't want the media dwelling too much on it since a US attack could have prevented 9/11, the criticism and second guessing being that Bush waited too long. And obviously he did.
Of course, assuming truth would also mean at least some in the Paki government knew about our plans beforehand--so in light of what Wikileaks suggests did they warn bin Laden? According to Slick himself they'd likely done it before, and UBL seemed ancy to get the attack going in the summer of 2001. If someone in the Pakistan government indeed warned bin Laden of our coming attack, and he sped up 9/11, where does that leave us now?
And what of the A.Q. Khan factor? Khan was the father of Paki nuke program and a prominent national hero. It was alleged that some of his former comrades met with AQ in Kandahar in mid 2001 supposedly regarding nukes. Whether they were acting as surrogates is unknown, but Khan was put under house arrest after 9/11. He's out now. And Mullah Omar is still whereabouts unknown, presumably.
Anyway, just some food for thought. It always helps to know who the enemy is, sometimes a tough chore in this war. At least for us rubes.
SAY WHAT? 8/3/10
The Gallup poll headline is a real jaw-dropper:
In U.S., New High of 43% Call Afghanistan War a "Mistake"So apparently almost half of Americans polled now believe it was mistake to defend ourselves after getting attacked. Gallup should have included a few more questions, like "what else could America have done", etc. They are blaming Wikileaks for that higher number, btw.
Had Gallup put this another way--such as "are we spinning our wheels in this effort, and is it worth it"--perhaps that would have been more descriptive.
It's worth saying again--we cannot 'end a war' by leaving the battlefield. Wars have three possible outcomes-- win, loss, stalemate. Stalemates involve staying on the battlefield as we are in South Korea; wins are obvious; losses always occur if we leave, as in Vietnam. This isn't rocket science. If we leave Afghanistan the Taliban/AQ will win. The Pakistanis will win. The Iranians will win. Terrorism as a tactic will win. And it will be used again.
Team Obama definitely understands the eventualities and their place in history should they throw down the sword before victory. But as the above indicates, perhaps it's time to identify the real enemies and adjust tactics. This was promised, after all. And if it can't be done then maybe we'll have to settle for losing--so long as everyone understand what it means.