US must not outsource Bin Laden hunt

Making an interesting comparison with the hunt for fugitive Nazis who had taken shelter in General Franco’s Spain, Leon Hadar argues that the Bush administration must not outsource the hunt for bin Laden to an inept and untrustworthy dictator whose associates espouse anti-Americanism, coddle terrorists and sell WMD to “rogue states”.

As American and Allied forces invade Nazi Germany in 1945, Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and several SS troops flee to Fascist Spain, where they hide in the Pyrenees Mountains and mount guerrilla attacks against the Free French government. The American response? To ask Generalissimo Francisco Franco if he would be kind enough to send some of his forces to catch those Nazis — and it would be nice if it could all be wrapped up before the 1948 presidential election.

Sound absurd? Well, there is an element of the absurd in the acrimonious debate on 9/11 taking place these days. Lawmakers and pundits are arguing about what could have been done to prevent the terrorist attacks. But they all agree that if Americans could rewind history to pre-9/11, they would have done everything humanly possible to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda associates — sooner rather than later.

But why look backward? Bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri — the war-on-terrorism’s Hitler and Himmler, respectively — are still alive and well, as far as we know, and living somewhere in Pakistan. Yet to whom is the United States assigning the task of dealing with the gravest threat to its national security and to ensure that such horrific events won’t happen again? To the best and the brightest in the American armed forces and intelligence services? You would assume that we owe as much to the victims of 9/11 and their families…

But no. In fact, the job of wiping out the leaders of the group responsible for the worst attack on the homeland has been outsourced to a corrupt and incompetent regime that is ruling a country where anti-American Islamist groups roam the streets — and the corridors of power.
Take your pick, but consider what an American “war president” would have done in that 1945 scenario. He would have given Franco an ultimatum: Catch Hitler and Himmler, hand them over to us alive or dead, and destroy all the SS remnants. And do it ASAP. If you can’t deliver, the full force of the U.S. military will be employed to make that happen.[Los Angeles Times]

Hadar has it spot on. What was done or not done before 9/11 is certainly informative, but what was done after 9/11 is crucial – not just for the United States, but for much of the rest of the world as well, after all it is a global war on terror. More than two years after 9/11, pressure on Musharraf is at at best episodic while the reliance on Pakistan near total. Several wild good chases later, bin Laden and Zawahiri are still issuing taped threats.

(Thanks to Vijay Dandapani for the link referral)