The Bush administration had a golden opportunity to capture Osama bin Laden in December of 2001, and it didn’t even try, writes John Kerry. The historical record is by now crystal clear: bin Laden and his No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, were trapped at Tora Bora—bin Laden even wrote his will on Dec. 14, sure he’d perish. Military experts estimate that just 2,000 US troops could have done the job.
Instead, Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Tommy Franks left it their Afghan allies, with a mere 100 US troops to help them. There’s no guarantee we would have succeeded, but “failing to try meant that we had no chance for success,” writes Kerry in the Los Angeles Times. “Our men and women in uniform have been paying the price for eight years.” The lesson, as we send more troops: “We can’t ensure our national security by turning our backs on enemies who have sworn to destroy us.”