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Trifecta: Fiascos and Frauds in Iraq and Afghanistan

October 26, 2004

Even in Iraq, when it rains, it pours.
Examples of the Bush administration's staggering blunders and clumsy cover-ups are coming fast and furious as election day approaches. Each new revelation only serves to highlight the administration's incompetence, denial and deceit:
1. The Missed Zarqawi Opportunity
As The American Prospect details, the Bush White House rejected Pentagon plans to destroy Zarqawi and his Ansar al-Islam camp in Northern Iraq in June 2002. The same people who lambasted President Clinton for merely lobbing missiles at Bin Laden in Afghanistan refused to strike Zarqawi for purely political reasons: it would complicate Bush's efforts to sell the attack on Saddam. The WSJ cites military sources - including General Tommy Franks - who confirm this account.
2. The Missing Explosives
Talking Points Memo provides an in-depth analysis of the cataclysmic blunder surrounding the American inability to safeguard the massive explosives depot at Al Qaqaa in the early days of the Iraq campaign. TPM also thoroughly refutes the White House claim that the explosive materials were already gone by the time the 101st Airborne Division's Second Brigade arrived on April 10, 2003.
As NBC's Lai Ling Jew (embedded with the unit) told CNN's Amy Robach:
"No. There wasn't a search. The mission that the brigade had was to get to Baghdad. That was more of a pit stop there for us. And, you know, the searching, I mean certainly some of the soldiers head off on their own, looked through the bunkers just to look at the vast amount of ordnance lying around. But as far as we could tell, there was no move to secure the weapons, nothing to keep looters away."
UPDATE: Channel 5 Eyewitness News in Minneapolis/St. Paul provides an video footage of what its embedded crew saw on April 18, 2003.
3. Bin Laden Running - and Hiding - in Tora Bora
President Bush labeled as a "wild claim" John Kerry's statement that President Bush "outsourced" the hunt fot Osama Bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora:
Now my opponent is throwing out the wild claim that he knows where bin Laden was in the fall of 2001, and that our military passed up the chance to get him in Tora Bora. This is an unjustified criticism of our military commanders in the field.
But as the Washington Post reported in April 2002 ("U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight")
The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.
For Commander-in-Chief Bush, these fiascos represent yet another case of "three strikes and you're out."


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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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