While the president is taking responsibility for things that haven't gone "fully right," he might want to take a gander at his global war on terrorism.
The Pentagon and the president marked the fourth anniversary of the attacks of 9/11 this week with a "Freedom March" and a country-western concert aimed at honoring the troops who are fighting in Iraq. We've been thinking about another anniversary that's coming up, and it's one that George W. Bush probably won't be celebrating so publicly.
On Saturday, it will be four years to the day since the president announced that he wanted Osama bin Laden captured, dead or alive. In a talk at the Pentagon on Sept. 17, 2001, Bush said that bin Laden was "a prime suspect" in the 9/11 attacks, and he vowed to bring him to justice. "There's an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive,'" Bush said. Asked whether he was saying that he wanted bin Laden "dead or alive," Bush explained: "All I'm doing is remembering when I was a kid -- I remember that they used to put out there, in the old west, a wanted poster. It said: 'Wanted, Dead or Alive.' All I want and America wants [is] him brought to justice. That's what we want."
That may be what he wanted -- it may be what he wants today -- but that doesn't mean that he has it. Over the weekend, the New York Times provided a long look at how the United States let bin Laden slip away from Tora Bora in December 2001, and asked whether bin Laden is winning what the paper calls the "forever war." The news today suggests that he's at least holding his own. The al-Qaida group in Iraq announced today that it is launching a new wave of suicide bombings to punish Americans and their Iraqi allies for their efforts to eliminate insurgents in Tal Afar. Already today, at least 141 people have been killed in insurgent attacks in Baghdad. While there are no reports of U.S. casualties yet today, 15 U.S. troops have died so far this month in Iraq, bringing the total to 1,897.
The one bright spot for the president? The London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat is quoting a U.S. military official who says that bin Laden is in poor health and seeking medical attention.