How we let Bin Laden get away, yet again

This is one of the best articles on the search for Bin Laden ever, and a great reminder of why, despite our love affair with blogs, real journalism mustn’t go away. Absolutely extraordinary; it reads like a thriller and makes clear just how catastrophic the invasion of Iraq was to our actual goal, the defeat of al Qaeda. The invasion of Iraq was our gift to Osama Bin Laden, a new lease on life for a monster we had cornered, yet allowed to get away as we tripped on our own red tape and CIA vs. Defense Department infighting. And it’s a gift that keeps on giving. We now face an emboldened, more determined al Qaeda, flush with new recruits inspired by America’s trainwreck in Iraq and dead-set on striking us again. Thank you, Mr. Bush. Look at what you’ve spent (lives and dollars) and what you’ve gotten back in return.

Update: A US soldier blogging in Iraq. More proof the surge is working and that victory is right around the corner. All we need is another six months….

The Discussion: 13 Comments

why do you hate america’s freedoms and democracy, richard? why do you love the terrorists and hate the troops?

August 27, 2007 @ 10:24 am | Comment

If I hated the troops, I’d want them to stay in Iraq. If I hated America’s freedom and democracy I’d join Bush’s Republican Party.

August 27, 2007 @ 10:44 am | Comment

I don’t hate “the troops” (a very new and puerile phrase which wasn’t used in George Washington’s time), but to be honest, collectively there isn’t much to “love” in them either. They shouldn’t have been put into this mess, but that doesn’t make them heroic, or even honourable or even decent.

August 27, 2007 @ 11:15 am | Comment



August 27, 2007 @ 11:28 am | Comment

More interesting blogs by American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan can be found at:
And many of the bloggers suggest that Ivan’s view of America’s soldiers is not entirely accurate.

August 27, 2007 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

That is one of the oddest twists in this war – classifying every US serviceperson as a “hero.” Some of our troops are heroes, some are ordinary people and some are dangerous losers. This deification of “our boys” as all heroes robs the phrase of any meaning. They are all human beings. Some rise to the occasion and emerge as heroes. A few very bad apples do things we should all be ashamed of. All of them share one thing in common – they were betrayed by an idiotic little man who couldn’t give a damn about them, a man who dodged the draft along with most of his partners in crime. There really are heroes among our troops. There are none in this administration.

August 27, 2007 @ 1:00 pm | Comment

Amen, Richard.

August 27, 2007 @ 1:15 pm | Comment

>>They shouldn’t have been put into this mess, but that doesn’t make them heroic, or even honourable or even decent.

Putting on a uniform doesn’t automatically make one heroic or even honorable or even decent. Nothing automatically bestows any of the qualities on people. But putting your life on the line in the service of your country is worth something. The soldiers didn’t come up with this fucked-up policy or this war. That isn’t their job. But they at least deserve some respect for putting their asses on the line.

War brings out the worst, and sometimes the best, in people. I have friends who spent years in Iraq. Two of them are Navy doctors who’ve told me horror stories — spending hours digging shrapnel out of the heads of infants, operating on double amputees, getting shot at in the middle of the desert, on and on. Another guy I know wakes up screaming at night and can’t hold down a job anymore. Are they “heroes?” I don’t know. Are they honourable and decent? The few soldiers I know are. And they deserve some respect.

I guess it is harder to be blase about what these soldiers are sacrificing and going through, along with their ‘honor’ and ‘decency,’ when you see it up close. I opposed the war from the start and I still do, but I would hope that wouldn’t blind me to the obvious fact the soldiers on the ground are in an impossible situation — fucked over over there, fucked over when they get back.

Anyway, for what it’s worth…

August 27, 2007 @ 2:32 pm | Comment

“They shouldn’t have been put into this mess, but that doesn’t make them heroic, or even honourable or even decent.”

Volunteering to be ordered to fight and die for your country is an honor in itself and there is usually at least a shared respect among the militaries of world regardless of political relations because of that fact.

August 27, 2007 @ 3:37 pm | Comment

I read an interesting article not too long ago that talks about the recent use of the term “heroes” and ties it to nationalist, Fascist rhetoric. I think that’s what Richard is reacting to here. At least it’s what I’m reacting to.

That in no way diminishes the sacrifice these soldiers are making.

What fills me with rage is how casually the current adminstration sacrifices them.

August 27, 2007 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

88, I don’t think anyone disagrees with you. I have respect for our soldiers and a sense of revulsion at how they’ve been betrayed, led to believe they were protecting us from weapons of mass destruction, then led to believe they were liberators, and now led to believe they are fighting the same terrorists who attacked us on September 11. We can respect our troops while criticizing their mission – it’s never the troops I decry, only those who led them into harm’s way under the most cynical of arguments.

Fighting for one’s country when it is truly necessary is a noble thing. It does not, however, make everyone wearing the uniform a hero. If so (again), there is no meaning to the word. This is not a sign of disrespect toward anyone wearing a uniform. It’s just reality; all of us are humans, realtively few of us are heroes.

August 27, 2007 @ 4:18 pm | Comment

I of all people understand martial virtues, including the virtue of respect for honourable enemies. But simply enlisting in the armed forces is not enough to warrant martial honour, because honour (including martial honour) depends on your actual, personal conduct, not on whether you wear a uniform, and not even on whether you put yourself at risk.

The armies of Tojo put themselves at risk in their country’s uniform too, but that didn’t make them honourable, unless they refrained from committing atrocities against civilians.

One more thing: the attackers of 9-11 also risked, and gave their lives willingly for what they identified as their object of loyalty and martial honour. But that didn’t make them honourable.

August 27, 2007 @ 5:13 pm | Comment

War is not easy.

September 3, 2007 @ 1:15 am | Comment

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