November 29th, 2009
10:25 AM ET
4 years ago

Report: 'Bin Laden was within our grasp'

Washington (CNN) - President Obama got some political cover Sunday for his upcoming announcement on sending more troops to Afghanistan.

A report released by the Democratic staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee blamed the Bush administration for failing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden when the al Qaeda leader was cornered in Afghanistan's Tora Bora mountain region in December 2001.

Bin Laden had written his will, apparently sensing he was trapped, but the lack of sufficient forces to close in for the kill allowed him to escape to tribal areas in Pakistan, according to the report.

It said former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and top U.S. commander Gen. Tommy Franks held back the necessary forces for a "classic sweep-and-block maneuver" that could have prevented bin Laden's escape.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Popular Posts
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Annie, Atlanta

    This isn't new, and it's certainly no surprise. We all saw the video of him after they bombed the area extensively. He definitely sustained some type of injury. Personally I was surprised he actually survived.

    November 29, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. valwayne

    What a corrupt joke!!! The DEMOCRATIC staff comes out with a report saying we could have captured Osama bin Laden in 2001. HELLO, folks do you know what year it is? We've know that for how many years? Do the Democrats know what year it is? And Obama was going to stop the old politics!

    November 29, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. Independent Lilarose, Bandon, Oregon

    There is NO WAY adding 30,000 more American troops to fight in Afghanistan is going to stop the Muslim world from taking over just about everywhere.

    They make up twenty-percent of the Earth's population and they are all willing to die for their cause...whatever that is....taking over the world?

    All adding more troops will do is send more dead Americans home. We need to get out of the mid-East NOW and stay out!

    But it ain't gonna happen. I have lived nearly 70 years and we haven't "won" a war since World War Two.

    November 29, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. End the war

    Spin this one Republicans. It was clear Bush never intended to catch Bin Laden. The question that needs to be asked is why – that and why were members of Bin Laden's family flown out of the United States after 911 without even being questioned? False flag anyone?

    November 29, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Tony in Maine

    More Cheney/Bush/Rummy/Frank criminal stupidity.

    The Republican response will be:

    a. "old news" (it is, but so what?)
    b. it's Obama's fault
    c. it's Clinton's fault
    d. it's a partisan attack meant to distract the country from impending commie pinko socialist fascist doom
    e. all of the above

    Time for the Republicans to become the party of responsibility rather than always ;pointing fingers to deflect blame for their massive screwups.

    November 29, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. PAUL W.

    Just more clear evidence of GOP incompetence in governance. We need to kick all these Republican chunderheads out of office before they get us all killed.

    November 29, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. SOL

    So the Obama adminstration continues to play the "Blame Bush Card". No surprise there. That seems to be the only thing they have been able to do since coming to office. Sure it plays well with the liberal left. But it leaves the middle independents feeling as though we wasted our votes when we help elect this president. Obama might have won our votes in 2008, but he is losing our faith in 2009.

    Not sure we can survive 3 more years of his inept leadership. I certain that he will not carry the independent vote if he contines delivering nothing but the Blame Bush Card.

    We're tired of the finger pointing, get something done or get going.

    November 29, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Carnell From The Motor City!

    I Guess "The Weapons Of Mass Distruction (...Distraction That Is.)" Got In The Way. George W. Bush Was Too Busy Salivating At The Fact That He Finally Had The Recipe For A "Perfect Excuse" To Finish His Fathers War With The Late Sadaam Hussein.

    November 29, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Jane

    Here we go again– Senator Kerry beating his chest and being the "hero" in his eyes to blame someone else for all the terrorism that has happened since 2001. When will the Democrats and current President put their "big boy pants" on and stop looking in the past. When you accept jobs you take it for better or worse. I am sick of the fingerpointing and blame gaming–can't wait for the next election so we can get rid of the winers.

    November 29, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Felonious Monk

    SOL November 29th, 2009 11:46 am ET
    "So the Obama adminstration continues to play the "Blame Bush Card". No surprise there."

    If you ever bother to read and comprehend-
    "A report released by the Democratic staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee"-the article stated.

    The nation endured 8 years of the height of irresponsibility.
    How dare you.
    How dare you and anyone who supports and/or supported the Bush administration.
    You guys should spend a little more time inviestigating the issues and the stance that you support.

    November 29, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Chris

    I remember hearing about a study where they took all the speaches, press releases, etc. coming from the Bush administration over the period of a few months. They went through and counted all the instances of key words and phrases like "9/11", "War on Terror", "Saddam Hussein" and so forth. As you can imagine, each key word or phrase was mentioned a total of several hundred times apiece.

    Except one.

    Osama Bin Laden literally was only mentioned a handful of times. And then a few of those were only in response to direct questions about him during press confrences. The Bush administration didn't care at all about capturing Bin Laden. They were too busy focussing on the unnecessary war with Iraq and using the ongoing "War on Terror" as an excuse to ram through their own political agenda.

    November 29, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. End the war

    The Republican position that this is old news , move on completely disregards that fact that GWB intentionally decided not to catch Bin Laden when he could have.Yes, it was GWB , not John Kerry or Barrack Obama – It seems to be highly relevant to today's issues to find out why Bush dropped the ball.

    November 29, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

    This article makes it sound like the Military had trapped UBL and then let him go. It is easy to be a Monday morning quarterback.

    The military did the best they could. They could have done better, but they could have done worse too. The past is past, let's concentrate on finding UBL now! and then see how serious PK is in being our ally.

    November 29, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. SOL

    Monk. I didn't support the Bush administration. But I and a lot of other independents that supported Obama, am tired of seeing nothing done and hearing nothing but blame and finger pointing.

    The democrats can't win 2010 or 2012 on their own, you need the real majority in America, the Independent voice. if you want victory then start by getting things done now. If you can't, then step down and let someone else take the lead.

    Maybe an Indepenent.

    November 29, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. g ontario

    it should have been won and done at torra-borra, but that did not fit cheneys master plan,years of war and profit

    November 29, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. Paul from Phoenix

    For all of you out there saying what the Republican response is, here it is coming from a former GOP'er now independent:

    Bush screwed up. Plain and simple. Oops. Clinton also screwed up when he didn't take out Bin Laden in the Sudan when we were offered him by the Sudanese government.

    That was then. Those times have passed. Because those two presidents screwed up, and here is the important point, that does NOT mean Obama will get the freedom to screw up. He has known about Afghanistan since the day after the election when Bush included him in daily briefings.

    The fact that he has spent his time vacationing in France and taking jaunts to Copenhagen while the troops squirm without a policy is almost criminal. He has had over a year.

    November 29, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Biased

    I would just like to ask how many times do the democrats feel that announcing that Bush let BinLaden escape is really newsworthy anymore? For years we have been hearing Democrats say that over and over,so is there some point now in repeating it for the thousandth or so time? Do they think this will protect Obama in some way? What can they release in the next day or two that will show why deliberations for probably doing what McChrystal asked for back in August has taken this long? Can they explain why when discussing more troops off to war he opts out for the photo-op rather than being a President talking seriously to all Americans from his desk in the Oval Office? Can the democrats release something that will allay fears for some that this President gives off an aura of being reluctant to make hard decisions rather opting out for putting off decisions until it might affect his own popularity ratings? If he basically announces what his handpicked general asked for back in the summer, then why should we not consider all this time to be nothing more than a stalling tactic for something we don't know about yet?

    November 29, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Eric

    If Bush had caught him
    1. how would he have kept people scared enough to justify going into Iraq?
    2. How would Haliburton have made all those billions they were handed in a no bid contract as a result of working in 2 war zones?
    3. How much would have come to light as to the Bush/BinLaden family ties (remember Bush chartered a private jet for the BinLadens living in this family to get them out of the country (and away from potentially revealing interviews)

    November 29, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Reaganomics Leads To Feudalism

    Of course we had Bin Laden within our grasp. We've known that for years.

    But...oh no...we had to pull out of Afganistan and go to Iraq so we could get that miserable s.o.b. who tried to kill George W. Bush's father.

    Taking down the man who tried to kill George W. Bush's father was sooooooo much more important than getting the man who was behind the 9/11 attacks.

    Sick....absolutely sick.

    November 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. DennisG

    So the right-wingers immediately jump up and rant about not blaming Bush and not paying any attention to the past. THE PAST IS WHY WE'RE IN THIS MESS!!!!! You can't ignore the fact that Bush/Cheney's policies and actions did get us into the situation both economic and war-related that we're in. Don't bother denying it.

    November 29, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. S M R

    Just further proof that Republicans LOVE war.

    November 29, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Felonious Monk

    Call it "the blame-game" if it makes you feel better. The fact is there are criminals in prison right now and people, Judge, Jury and Parole board, are playing the blame game and keeping them in there.

    Do you not believe we should all be held accountable for our actions?
    Why do you want to give this administration a pass and not that administration?
    Are you American, or are you democrat or republican?

    It's about responsibility and accepting it. It's about legal and illegal. It should be about right and wrong, but it isn't.

    Are you dense, or are you just stubborn?

    November 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. independent

    This does not surprise me. Those it should surprise, won't believe it, or will make excuses for it.

    November 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    so whats new ,the Cheney presidency didn't want to catch him . the war would have been over and ,who could they go after then .. this mess that not just the US is in but most of the world is involved in will not stop until an agreement has been made with the uneducated people in the region. they want to be able to control the women with total control ,that they have had for ever, also they want to be able to freely roam and pillage the countryside with war lords in control of each region. they want western influence gone . and they want support from other countries incase they have a bad year on raising opium poppies.
    so what should we and the rest of the world do ?
    placements of un exsploded bombs in each region ,that would wipe out each region if the people didn't settle down and begin to work together in a productive way ..
    OR just like JAPAN end it all with what we did to JAPAN to stop a war that would never end and would cause the deaths of more than a few thousand inocent people .
    you can blam every one in the past for poor decisions, all we want . but the bottom line is .we need to stop what is going on ,( the holy war )is nothing more than men controlling women and drugs for profit.
    we were attacked at PEARL HARBOR . and we were attacked AT THE TWIN TOWERS ,simple solution with a serious concequence, but it would stop the blood shed and the hate from uneducated thugs ruling a region of the world for profit and power . :(

    November 29, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Lloyd Roberts, Jamaica NY

    It was obvious from day one after 911 that the Bush Administration had no real interest in going after the people that attacked us. We were attacked on 911 by 19 hijackers, 15 of then were from one country, Saudi Arabia. NONE were from Iraq. When the WTC was attacked in 1993, again it was Ramsey Yusef, a Pakistani and a bunch of Pakistani militants. Again, NONE from Iraq. I'm not trying to sugar coat Saddam Hussein, but Iraq had about as much to do with 911 as Sweden, nothing. We wasted a golden opportunity to really deal a blow to Islamic fundamentalism after 911 but Bush and his moronic advisers were hell bent on Iraq at any cost, even making up lies. Iraq was a secular country, not run by Islamic militants that control most of the rest of the Islamic world. That shrub wasted a golden opportunity but his Saudi friends prevailed in the end

    November 29, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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