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Why Didn’t We Capture the Terrorist Kingpin and Interrogate Him?

I’m as happy as the next red-blooded American that Bin Laden is dead.

For more than a decade, the government has said that Bin Laden is the world’s worst terrorist, a terrorist kingpin, the head of the worst terrorist group in the world.

But if we captured and interrogated him, he could have spilled a lot of beans which would help prevent future terrorist attacks.

Right?

The White House now admits that Bin Laden wasn’t armed, so why wasn’t he captured? The government says that the Seals who entered the compound thought he was reaching for a weapon. (You’re either going to believe that or not … just like you’re either going to believe the police officer who says he thought the suspect was reaching for his weapon, or you’re not).

Bin Laden’s 12 year old daughter purportedly claims that Bin Laden was successfully captured alive first and then later summarily executed by the troops. Hopefully, this isn’t true.

But assuming the government’s version of events is true, why didn’t the seals use knock-out gas and capture him? Even common thugs use knock out gas. For example, the U.S. state department warns:

Do not accept food or drink from strangers. Criminals have been known to drug food or drink offered to passengers. Criminals may also spray sleeping gas in train compartments. Where possible, lock your compartment. If it cannot be locked securely, take turns sleeping in shifts with your traveling companions. If that is not possible, stay awake. If you must sleep unprotected, tie down your luggage and secure your valuables to the extent possible.

(Be careful if you take any night trains in Italy).

If common hoodlams knock out their victims, you know that the U.S. military has stuff they can easily lob in and knock everyone out. Why didn’t the government knock out Bin Laden and then hall him off to the interrogation room?

Indeed, the U.S. may have gotten the clue about Osama bin Laden‘s Abbottabad location in 2008. As the Guardian notes:

US may have got Osama bin Laden‘s Abbottabad clue in 2008 – WikiLeaks

Courier’s interrogation at Guantánamo revealed network of messengers that US traced to track down the al-Qaida leader

The US may have obtained a clue three years ago that Osama bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad, according to information gathered by interrogators at Guantánamo.

***

WikiLeaks released the report last week, prompting speculation that the US, afraid that its planned raid might be pre-empted, brought forward its attack.

So the U.S. could have knocked him out in 2008 and interrogated him.

As I’ve pointed out before, the U.S. had multiple opportunities to get Bin Laden in 2001 and 2007:

According to the U.S. Senate – Bin Laden was “within the grasp” of the U.S. military in Afghanistan in December 2001, but that then-secretary of defense Rumsfeld refused to provide the soldiers necessary to capture him.

This is not news: it was disclosed in 2005 by the CIA field commander for the area in Afghanistan where Bin Laden was holed up.

In addition, French soldiers allegedly say that they easily could have captured or killed Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but that the American commanders stopped them.

***

A retired Colonel and Fox News military analyst said that the U.S. could have killed Bin Laden in 2007, but didn’t:

We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers — Seal Team 6 [Note: this is the exact same team that is credited with killing Bin Laden yesterday] — nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it ….Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.

Indeed, a United States Congressman claims that the Bush administration intentionally let Bin Laden escape in order to justify the Iraq war.

Moreover, as I’ve previously noted, capturing Bin Laden and taking down Al Qaeda was never the real priority:

American historian, investigative journalist and policy analyst Gareth Porter writes in the Asia Times:

***

Feith’s book, War and Decision, released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W Bush on September 30, 2001, calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing “new regimes” in a series of states

***

If we had really wanted to get Bin Laden, we would have gotten him in 2001 (indeed, the Taliban offered to turn him over), or 2007.

And Gareth Porter reported yesterday that the U.S. didn’t even consider capturing Bin Laden as part of its Afghanistan war strategy:

The absence of any military planning to catch bin Laden was a function of Bush‘s national security team, led by Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, which had firmly opposed any military operation in Afghanistan that would have had any possibility of catching bin Laden and his lieutenants.

Rumsfeld and the second-ranking official at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, had dismissed CIA warnings of an al Qaeda terrorist attack against the United States in the summer of 2001, and even after 9/11 had continued to question the CIA‘s conclusion that bin Laden and al Qaeda were behind the attacks.

Cheney and Rumsfeld were determined not to allow a focus on bin Laden to interfere with their plan for a U.S. invasion of Iraq to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime.

Even after Bush decided in favour of an Afghan campaign, CENTCOM commander Tommy Franks, who was responsible for the war in Afghanistan, was not directed to have a plan for bin Laden’s capture or to block his escape to Pakistan.

We tortured a bunch of innocent farmers, children, and grandparents … supposedly to get information about Bin Laden. But it doesn’t seem like the government was very interested in actually interrogating Bin Laden himself.

View the original article at Washingtons Blog

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