Sunday, October 7, 2012
A RIGHTEOUS FIGHT NOW PROTRACTED STANDOFF 11 YEARS IN
HOW GEORGE W. BUSH & HIS NEOCONS BLEW IT IN AFGHANISTAN
AND WHY IT MATTERS
These irresponsible men have long since left the scene of their crimes
while our troops still fight a battle that could have been won if not for Bush & Company
(Oct.7, 2012, New York City) The war that began in Lower Manhattan the clear Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001 continues today in the ancient, forbidding landscape of a land that time forgot. As much as time, progress, modernization and all the accoutrements of civilized 21st century society have eluded establishing a toe hold in Afghanistan, as our troops continue to fight and die they seem to have been forgotten particularly by an uninterested public as well as the Administration that sent them there, failed to honor their commitment to those they sent into battle as well as the current Congress and Administration. This is a shameful story of what was a righteous cause gone horribly, unnecessarily awry.
The numbers across the board are staggering as our military campaign in Afghanistan marks its 11th anniversary today. On September 30, 2012, the 2000th American serviceman was killed in action there while the American taxpayers have ponied up almost $580 billion thus far for the overall costs of our intervention in that perpetually troubled ungovernable country with an estimated $400 billion going directly to the criminally corrupt, duplicitous, sham “government” of part time statesman/part time drug kingpin, Afghan “president”, Harmid Karzai. We have paid dearly in blood and treasure for in this unnecessarily elongated slog and the reasons why it was not a swift victory when that swift victory was at hand are well documented and shameful. But, we are where we are today, we’ve traveled the strategic, tactical and diplomatic paths we have and nothing can change what has been. It is just heartbreaking and sickening, looking back, realizing, if not for the Cheney/Bush designs on Iraq, our involvement would have ended a decade ago. We were there for one reason and one reason only; to banish Al Qaeda and their unholy hosts, The Taliban, in the wake of the attack on America of September 11, 2001. We were there to settle the score, teach a lesson, and demonstrate to any group or nation intent on bringing harm to our shores that there would indeed be dire, lethal consequences. We were not there to install a government in a notoriously ungovernable tribal nation-state or to rebuild a country that has changed very little since Jesus Christ walked the earth. But, we lost our way. And we have lost far so much more than that.
PAYBACK US STYLE
The cause was just, the battle righteous, the war had to be taken to the enemy. They had struck first drawing first blood and there was going to be retribution. A 19 man cadre of Al Qaeda terrorists carried out a devastating attack on American soil on September 11, 2001. The renegade Taliban, the strict Islamic regime who had taken control of Afghanistan in 1996 had granted Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, its leader, safe haven in their country, and the America would bring the fight to Afghanistan in a furious tempo. Within 14 days of September 11, 2001, CIA operatives were on the ground in Afghanistan enlisting the support of the Northern Alliance, a ragtag bit tenacious fighting force who were bitter enemies of the Taliban. The CIA formed a partnership of mutual utility with the Northern Alliance as units from our Special Forces began to join with the CIA in the preliminary efforts laying the ground work for a full scale military assault.
October 7, 2001 that fight began in earnest. In response to the attacks of September 11, the early combat operations that took place beginning eleven years ago today, included a mix of strikes from land-based B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress bombers, carrier-based F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet fighters, and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from both U.S. and British ships and submarines signaled the start of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan (OEF-A). 
The initial military objectives of OEF-A, as articulated by Former President George W. Bush in his 20 September Address to a Joint Session of Congress and his October 7, 2001 address to the country, included the destruction of terrorist training camps and infrastructure within Afghanistan, the capture of Al Qaeda leaders, and the cessation of terrorist activities in Afghanistan.
The pounding was relentless, the troops on the ground unleashed the wrath of the nation on the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces who were truly no match for our military technology and superiority. As the harsh Afghan winter was about to descend on that desolate rugged land, the surviving remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces were essentially cornered in the timeless mountainous region near the Pakistani border known as Tora Bora. What occurred in the later the short but pivotal days from December 12 to 17th eleven years ago is well documented. The incredible blunders, abysmal decisions made, and the myriad of errors made by then President George W. Bush and his closest group of neoconservative hawkish advisors, not only robbed our forces on the ground of imminent victory but began the cascading series of falling dominoes that have American troops still fighting and dying in that Godforsaken land 11 years after the fact.
FROM JAWBREAKER TO OUTSOURCER
By the end of November 2001, Al Qaeda fighters were driven to their mountain refuge and holding out in the mountains of the Tora Bora region, however, at this time the Cheney/Bush White House had already shifted their attention to their war of choice to be waged in Iraq. This was the time of fatal errors in judgment. Military resources were diverted from Afghanistan by the Pentagon as they prepared what would be their horribly planned, ill conceived, reckless foray to “bring democracy to the Middle East” by ousting Saddam Hussein from power. The facts are damning. The Pentagon outsourced a vital component of the Tora Bora battle to the inept, corrupt, largely pro-Taliban Pakistani military. Instead of the Administration answering the pleas from Berntsen for additional specialized American troops such as the 82nd Airborne and the 10th Mountain Division to seal off the Pakistani side of the Khyber Pass thereby assuring the remaining Al Qaeda and Taliban hold outs including Osama Bin Laden and his surviving top command structure and most trusted body guards, the Cheney/Bush directed Pentagon simply said “no”. And that was that.
On December 3, 2001, a group of 20 U.S. CIA team members of the code name Jawbreaker were inserted by helicopter in Jalalabad, Afghanistan to begin the operation. On December 5, 2001, Afghan Northern Alliance fighters wrested control of the low ground below the mountain caves from Al Qaeda fighters. The Jawbreaker team and Special Forces teams called in Air Force bombers to take out targets. The Al Qaeda fighters withdrew to higher fortified positions and dug in for the battle. Approximately a week later, 70 Special Forces operators from the Army's Delta Force, Navy, and Air Force arrived overland by vehicle to support the already ongoing bombing campaign operation with ground forces. 
The Northern Alliance fighters continued a steady advance through the difficult terrain, backed by air strikes and U.S. and British Special Forces. Facing defeat, Al Qaeda forces negotiated a truce with a local militia commander to give them time to surrender their weapons. In retrospect, however, many believe that the truce was a ruse to allow important Al Qaeda figures, including Osama Bin Laden, to escape. 
On December 12, 2001, the fighting flared again, possibly initiated by a rear guard buying time for the main force's escape through the White Mountains into the tribal areas of Pakistan. Once again, tribal forces backed by U.S. special operations troops and air support pressed ahead against fortified Al Qaeda positions in caves and bunkers scattered throughout the mountainous region. Twelve British SBS commandos, and one British Royal Signals Specialist from 63 Signals squadron now known as 18SFUK, accompanied the U.S. special operations forces in the attack on the cave complex at Tora Bora. 
As the Taliban teetered on the brink of losing their last bastion, the U.S. focus increased on the Tora Bora. Local tribal militias paid and organized by Special Forces and CIA paramilitary operations officers, numbering over 2,000 strong, continued to mass for an attack as heavy bombing continued.
By December 17, 2001, the last cave complex had been taken and their defenders overrun. No massive bunkers were found, only small outposts and a few minor training camps. Those who had been trapped had been allowed to flee through the porous, if not welcoming border into Pakistan.
A search of the area by U.S. forces continued into January, but no sign of bin Laden or the al-Qaeda leadership emerged. Former CIA officer Gary Berntsen, who led the CIA team (consisting primarily of CIA Paramilitary Officers from Special Activities Division) in Afghanistan that was tasked with locating Osama Bin Laden, claims in his 2005 book Jawbreaker that he and his team had pinpointed the location of Osama bin Laden. Also according to Berntsen, a number of Al Qaeda detainees later confirmed that bin Laden had escaped Tora Bora into Pakistan via an easterly route through snow covered mountains to the area of Parachinar, Pakistan. He also claims that bin Laden could have been captured if United States Central Command had committed the troops that Berntsen had requested. Former CIA officer Gary Schroen concurs with this view and Pentagon documents are strongly suggestive of this reality. 
The last time Osama Bin Laden was overheard on the VHF radio was on December 14, 2001. In 2008 Andy McNab, the pseudonym of a former SAS trooper, echoed the claims of Berntsen, claiming that the Coalition were, "within a whisker" of capturing Bin Laden at Tora Bora.
Today we find ourselves mired in the longest war in our history which seems to have become largely forgotten by the American public, our elected leaders and one man seeking to be our next President, Mitt Romney. The sacrifice of military service is no longer shared and is limited to that extremely small percentage of a specific segment of the population who voluntarily enlist in the Armed Services but that is another discussion for another time.
Afghanistan and Iraq have created a generation of warriors to whom we owe not simply the political lip service of respect and gratitude, but the very real, practical assistance they and their families need. Everything from proper medical and mental health care for the returned and returning veterans, affordable housing and jobs as well.
Eleven years, in the broader context of our lives is not a very long time. This we learn as we get older and time’s passage seems to acquire a rapidity we’d never imagined in our youth. Eleven years for many in our military have literally been their entire adult lifetime thus far. Those who enlisted in droves in the wake of 9-11-01 at age 18 or 19 are now approaching 30 years of age. Some are more intact physically and mentally than others. Far too many have been lost as a direct result of the idiocy and irresponsibility of Cheney/Bush and their delusional crew of neo-cons. They have more blood on their hands than any Administration in our history, they forever altered our historic military doctrine by committing to and waging a war of choice under the guise and supported by lies regarding Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” which, incidentally, did not exist and that was known by the CIA and British Intelligence before the first shot was fired in that quagmire.
, , , , , : credit given to Wikipedia. Some excerpted, some paraphrased.
TAGS: WAR IN AFGHANISTAN 2001, AL QAEDA ATTACKS AMERICA 2001, GEORGE W. BUSH, DICK CHENEY, NEO-CONS, AMERICAN TROOPS, CIA, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, OPERATION JAWBREAKER, OUTSOURCING TORA BORA, BETRAYAL OF OUR TROOPS BY CHENEY/BUSH, 2000 SERVICEMEN KIA, VETERANS ISSUES
Sources (and further in depth reading):
First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan
By Gary Schroen
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 By Steve Coll
Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda - A Personal Account by the Cia's Key Field Commander
By Gary Berntsen, Ralph Pezzullo
Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror
By Matthew M. Aid
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