Sunday, September 24, 2006
Bush and Musharraf On Capturing or Killing bin Laden
Joseph Curl of the Washington Times reports here on a September 22, 2006 joint press conference of President Bush and President Musharraf of Pakistan in which they said they are united in the effort to capture or kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, even though the Pakistani general has signed a treaty with tribes along the Afghanistan border thought to harbor members of the Taliban.
According to the Washington Times: "Bush has said U.S. forces cannot simply walk into Pakistan in search of the mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Gen. Musharraf did not invite troops to scour the mountainous border region, where bin Laden is thought to be holed up. But Mr. Bush also did not back off his pledge this week that if he had convincing U.S. intelligence that bin Laden was in Pakistan, he would send troops in to capture or kill him."
If he had convincing intelligence that bin Laden is in Pakistan? Doesn't Bush already have this, and hasn't he had such intelligence for a long time? All Bush's flunkies claim, when asked, that bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan!
Interestingly, while the Washington Times reported that Bush did not back off on his pledge to send troops into Pakistan to get bin Laden, the Los Angeles Times reported here that "President Bush, struggling with turbulence in the important U.S.-Pakistani relationship, eased back Friday from his vow to order U.S. troops to invade Pakistan, if necessary, to track down Osama bin Laden."
According to the Los Angeles Times: "U.S. confidence in the Pakistani government has recently been shaken by Musharraf's decision to end his army's attempt to root out Taliban from the border territory of North Waziristan and to reach a peace deal with tribal leaders there."
The Washington Times reported: "Gen. Musharraf said a peace treaty between his government and tribes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is not meant to support the Taliban, and that news reports had mischaracterized the deals.
"The deal is not at all with the Taliban. This deal is against the Taliban. This deal is with the tribal elders," Gen. Musharraf said.
Mr. Bush said: "I believe him."
So the bottom line is the U.S. is trusting that the government of Pakistan will capture or kill bin Laden. It really looks to me as if, despite all of their "wanted dead or alive" rhetoric, capturing or killing bin Laden is not very high on the list of Bush Administration priorities.