That's reason to be outraged - but even more outrageous is the fact that in a flurry of sound bites what was lost was a real discussion of the fact that more than four years after the devastating attacks of 9/11, more than four years after George Bush boasted we wanted Osama "dead or alive," more than a year after Osama Bin Laden showed his hateful face in yet another video, this barbarian is still very much alive and boasting of additional attacks against the United States.
President Bush's mouthpiece Scott McClellan can claim this administration puts terrorists out of business, but yesterday's tape reminds us that instead of being out of business, Osama is still out there.
If this administration had followed through on the opportunity to capture Osama Bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001, the world would be a better place with Osama Bin Laden brought to justice -- and we wouldn't be having this discussion today.
And here's what the media should insist we discuss.
President Bush and his defenders continue to claim that Osama Bin Laden didn't escape at Tora Bora. But Gary Bernstein's book Jawbreaker documents what I said early in 2002 and during my debates with George Bush: that because Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon didn't use American troops to do the job and instead outsourced the job of killing the world's #1 terrorist to Afghan warlords, this cold blooded killer got away.
So what's the truth? There's a question that the full force of cable television should demand be answered. Press accounts over the last month have raised new concerns about the reliance on Afghan forces at Tora Bora in 2001. One account cited a Department of Defense document said to summarize the case against a suspected al Qaeda militant. The militant was believed to have helped Osama bin Laden escape from Tora Bora. More recently, August Hanning, the head of German intelligence, has said bin Laden bribed Afghan forces at Tora Bora to make his escape.
The evidence keeps mounting:
Among the people who say Osama Bin Laden escaped at Tora Bora:
Gary Schroen, former senior CIA agent, Author of First In: How seven CIA officers opened the war on terrorism in Afghanistan
Gary Berntsen, former CIA operative in Afghanistan, requested additional U.S. troops for the assault on Tora Bora, author of Jawbreaker.
Peter Bergen, terrorism analyst and author of The Osama bin Laden I Know
U.S. DOD, in a legal brief summarizing evidence against a suspect in U.S. custody at GTMO
Still - the Administration toes their party line. In 2004 they even dispatched their surrogate General Tommy Franks to dismiss all those who say otherwise.
Isn't it time we had the truth? Yes or no, did Osama Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora in 2001?
Here's a subject suited for true hard ball, on Hardball: four years of failure - enough is enough - why hasn't Osama Bin Laden been captured or killed, and how will he be destroyed before he next appears on tape to spread his disgusting message?
That discussion -- rather than criticizing American citizens who exercise their right to free speech and express dissenting opinions - is the discussion that America needs. That would be the kind of debate on Hardball to which we should all tune in.
P.S. I want you all to know that I’m reading your many comments. My wife Teresa reads blogs passionately, and I follow blogs too, and I’m glad I can be a part of this – and frankly I’m not worried about taking some slings and arrows along the way. I’ve faced worse! So keep the comments coming -- good, bad, hopefully not indifferent.