Thursday, July 26, 2012

the last book I ever read (Man Hunt, excerpt four)

from Man Hunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--From 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter L. Bergen:

On January 4, 2002, at President Bush's vacation ranch in Texas, Michael Morell had the delicate task of informing Bush that it was the CIA's assessment that bin Laden had fought at the Battle of Tora Bora and survived. Bush was incensed at this and became hostile, as if Morell himself were the culprit.

Two and a half years later, during a close election race, Democratic nominee John Kerry made a campaign issue of whether bin Laden could have been finished off at Tora Bora. The notion that there had been a real opportunity to kill bin Laden at that point was a "wild claim," Bush said, and Vice President Dick Cheney termed it "absolute garbage." Nevertheless, from the totality of the available accounts, it is clear that when presented with an opportunity to kill or capture al-Qaeda's top leadership just three months after September 11, the United States was instead outmaneuvered by bin Laden, who slipped away, disappeared from the American radar, and slowly began rebuilding his organization.

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