Originally Posted by mjd1982
The crux of your argument, then, is that OBL had been "handed to the US on a platter". We have four sources that relate to this:
- The Taliban were prepared to hand over OBL to Pakistan in 1998 but changed their mind after US cruise missile attacks.
- The Taliban negotiated with private individuals to hand over OBL to Pakistan but the plan was vetoed by President Musharraf because he couldn't guarantee OBL's safety; the US Ambassador to Pakistan knew about all this.
- US diplomats negotiated strenuously over three years to get OBL handed over but the negotiations failed, possibly because of Taliban stalling and possibly because of cultural misunderstandings; opinions vary.
- The Taliban offered a plan to the Clinton administration to have OBL and his supporters killed by a US cruise missile strike, but the Bush administration never picked up the plan and ignored subsequent offers of a handover.
Note that the fourth of these pieces is based on the opinion of a single individual who feels that the Bush administration was criminally negligent. It contradicts the third source, and the first and second are partly in agreement and partly contradictory.
There are many possible interpretations of all this. Your interpretation that the US administration deliberately prevented any real progress to avoid capturing OBL is a possible one, which only really agrees with the Counterpunch article. Another is that the three years of fruitless negotiations, in which US diplomats never had the sense of achieving anything, left the US thoroughly disillusioned and reluctant to trust anything the Taliban said.
Most notable is the suggestion that cultural differences were the main factor that derailed the negotiations. This would be consistent with the opinion of Kabir Mohabbat, himself an Afghan, that US officials were not accepting offers that to him were clearly made, and also the opinion of those US officials that no genuine offer was forthcoming; Mohabbat was able to understand the Taliban's way of bargaining, but the US officials were not able to understand fully either the Taliban or even Mohabbat. In other words, as usual there's a perfectly valid cock-up theory that not only explains the facts as well as the conspiracy theory, but even explains some of the apparent contradictions rather better than the conspiracy theory.
As with the PNAC and propitiousness argument, I'm finding your opinions very illuminating here, but not in the way you seem to want; the more you advance arguments for an inside job, the more it prompts me to look into the details, and the more it seems to me that those arguments are poor reflections of the sources they're based on. In that respect, at least, I value this thread.