Saturday, October 23, 2004

Iraq clusterfuck: 9/11 Commission member—Bin Laden location known, funded by Saudis 

Well, well. So why can't we go get him? Iraq. That's opportunity cost. Read on:

CLAREMONT -- The Pentagon knows exactly where Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan, it just can't get to him, John Lehman, a member of the 9-11 commission, said Thursday.

Bin Laden is living in South Waziristan in the Baluchistan Mountains of the Baluchistan region, Lehman told The San Bernardino Sun after delivering a keynote speech on terrorism at Pitzer College in Claremont.

In the exclusive interview, Lehman noted, "There is an American presence in the area, but we can't just send in troops. If we did, we could have another Vietnam, and the United States cannot afford that right now."

"We'll get (bin Laden) eventually, just not now," he said. Asked how bin Laden was surviving, Lehman said he was getting money from outside countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and high-ranking ministers inside Saudi Arabia.
(via Claremont Daily News)

Gee, I thought Saudi Arabia was our ally? And Bush was really good friends with them? So how come the Saudis are still funding Bin Laden?

And why didn't we capture Bin Laden when we had him cornered at Tora Bora? (The increasingly shrill Josh Marshall tracks the Bush revisionism on Tora Bora) The answer: That's one of the opportunity costs (back)of Iraq:

Twenty months after the invasion of Iraq, the question of whether Americans are safer from terrorism because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power hinges on subjective judgment about might-have-beens. What is not in dispute, among scores of career national security officials and political appointees interviewed periodically since 2002, is that Bush's choice had opportunity costs -- first in postwar Afghanistan, then elsewhere. Iraq, they said, became a voracious consumer of time, money, personnel and diplomatic capital -- as well as the scarce tools of covert force on which Bush prefers to rely -- that until then were engaged against al Qaeda and its sources of direct support.
(via WaPo)

The test of a CEO, as any shareholder knows, is not whether the CEO made good choices with the shareholders money. The test is whether the CEO made the best use of it. The difference between good (granting the Iraq war to be good) and the best (really nailing AQ) is the opportunity cost. Bush traded Iraq for nailing Al Quaeda. Are you feeling safer? I didn't think so.

NOTE Bush already missed Zarqui—another opportunity cost. Now, apparently, Bush has sent the Marines into Fallujah to get him. Not "too little, too late," but "too many lives, too late." Typical

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