Monday, July 03, 2006

Oh, Osama!

Listen to NPR's piece on the failure to catch (or kill) Osama Bin Laden. There are some interesting aspects to the story. At one point in the report Mary Louise Kelly notes that Gary Burnson (former CIA field commander in Afghanistan after 9/11) "scoffs at the notion that war in Iraq has drained resources and distracted attention from the pursuit of Bin Laden." She states this as if this argument were given airtime earlier in the report, which would make sense given that many consider the War in Iraq to have been a huge diversion from really achieving security success in Afghanistan (see this Democratic Policy report--be sure to look at its references). I had to re-listen to the report and found it astounding that nowhere in the report is this argument made! So all we have is Burnson's judgment call on this.
Other interesting items are the really scary comments dropped about Pakistan and Musharaff by several counterterrorism "experts." Basically they all hint that his hold on power is precarious, that his government is rife with Bin Laden sympathizers, oh...yea...and that Pakistan has lots of nukes. The obvious questions that come to my mind are, What realistic non-proliferation policies is the US pursuing both for itself and the region? Are US actions in Iraq building sympathy for Bin Laden within Pakistan? What do polls suggest Pakistanis think of the US, of Musharaff, etc.? Unfortunately these never come up.
Readers should also take a look at these "old" but still quite relevant pieces: one from the New Yorker and the other from Knight Ridder(through Common Dreams).

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