“I want justice,” President Bush said, referring to bin Laden after September 11, 2001. “And there’s an old poster out West. … I recall, that said, ‘Wanted, Dead or Alive.'”
The United States unleashed an onslaught on Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban, but bin Laden slipped away. By most accounts, it’s because the United States did not have enough boots on the ground, not enough U.S. soldiers to pin him down and block off escape routes in December 2001.
“In the first two or three days of December, I would write a message back to Washington recommending the insertion of U.S. forces on the ground,” Gary Berntsen, the leader of a secret CIA unit pursuing bin Laden at the time, told CNN. “I was looking for 600 to 800 Rangers, roughly a battalion. They never came.”
Michael Scheuer, who once headed the CIA’s bin Laden unit, says bin Laden has been given permission by a young cleric in Saudi Arabia authorizing al Qaeda to “use nuclear weapons against the United States … capping the casualties at 10 million.” .
This is excellent reporting from Christiane Amanpour, especially for placing this in perspective with Bush’s failings in capturing bin Laden. I see why Amy Sherman-Palladino has made her Rory Gilmore’s role model.
Update: Brent Budowsky at Huffington Post looks at how Bush cut and run at Tora Bora, allowing bin Laden to escape.
Update II: Before over reacting to the threat, consider the opinions expressed in two articles discussed here that our overreaction to terrorism is more dangerous than terrorism itself.