The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
9 years in Afghanistan and no Osama?
Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
UPDATE 5/5/2011 - On Sunday, May 1st, 2011 President Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces at a compound in Pakistan. From several reliable sources I had heard that Bin Laden had been dead for many years. If what the White House says is true - we were wrong. I apologize for the error.
Today marks the ninth year of our conflict in Afghanistan and there are tough questions that need to be answered. Let's start with the most obvious issue: It's been several years since I wrote that Osama Bin-Laden was dead, and with the reappearance of General Pervez Musharraf on the Pakistani political scene, it's worth exploring the source of that information.
Just prior to her assassination, Benazir Bhutto slipped up in a television interview and briefly mentioned that Bin-Laden had died from natural causes. Fox news published a report of his death, but it was never aired or publicized. The policy of the FBI is to not remove a person from the wanted list until either capture or with physical proof of their death. It is interesting that since Bhutto's statement, there has not been any new video of Bin-Laden. There have been audio and videos released, but they were not really of Osama. Would Bhutto have a reason to lie about it? Probably not, since she was highly critical of the Pakistan government, and no Bin-Laden would mean less outside interest in her return to power.
It is also worth looking at the circumstances surrounded her assassination in Islamabad. Three countries (United States, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia) knew of the death threats, yet still didn't prevent her assassination. Ultimate responsibility for her safety lies with the Pakistani government which was headed by General Musharraf. Musharraf blamed her death on Beitullah Mehsud who was the head of the Taliban in Pakistan. While there were members of al-Queda wanting to assassinate her, Bhutto was also aware of plots from several levels within the government of Pakistan.
The Pakistani government under General Musharraf are responsible for two aspects of her death. First, they failed to adequately protect her despite their knowledge of multiple assassination plots. This was a failure of both federal and provincial security forces. Secondly, the Pakistan intelligence agencies ensured that her assassination could never be properly investigated. Immediately after the explosion, they hosed down the crime scene which erased most of the forensic evidence. Then they only bothered to collect two dozen pieces of evidence from the crime scene which ensured there would never be enough evidence to hold the perpetrators responsible for her death.
After almost a decade of being in Afghanistan, what have we accomplished? What is our goal and what is the measure of success over there? If Osama is dead - how would that change our justification for being there? Our troops have done an outstanding job, but what exactly do we expect them to do?
As a veteran, there is a part of me that feels guilty for not being over there with our troops. I don't know what I could exactly do to help them, so all I can do from here is recognize their sacrifices and to keep asking our leaders these tough questions.
-- Gary Wright II