If this isn’t cluelless I don’t know what is. We have to start a war with Iraq to go after terrorists – but the guy who is actually doing the terrorism isn’t important.
Defense Secretary Says Capturing Bin Laden Would Not Change the Problem of Terrorism
By Robert Burns The Associated Press
Published: Mar 16, 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) – Capturing or killing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden would not “change the problem” of international terrorism, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday.
Rumsfeld also raised the possibility that bin Laden was dead.
“The reality is that bin Laden is spending a great deal of his time – if he is alive today – hiding and running and trying to communicate and trying to survive,” Rumsfeld said in an interview at the Pentagon with WTN radio in Nashville.
Because of the pressure on bin Laden, al-Qaida and its affiliates have become more decentralized, Rumsfeld said.
“It would be a good thing if he were not there, but it certainly isn’t going to change the problem. We’re going to have to find the rest of the terrorists and his associates and see that they’re put in jail.”
The interview was one of a series that Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials gave to radio stations around the country Tuesday as part of a Bush administration public relations offensive marking the one-year anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. The war began March 19.
In an interview with WPHT radio in Philadelphia, Rumsfeld was asked about a reported remark Monday by the chief of France’s armed forces that bin Laden several times had narrowly escaped capture by French troops in Afghanistan.
“We don’t know” whether U.S. or coalition troops have come close to bin Laden, Rumsfeld said.
“We haven’t caught him,” he added. “Close doesn’t count. This isn’t horseshoes or hand grenades. We’re trying to capture or kill this man. We don’t even know if he’s alive for sure.”
The consensus of intelligence analysts is that bin Laden is hiding out in the Afghan-Pakistan border area.
Last weekend the U.S. military command in Afghanistan announced the start of an offensive, dubbed Operation Mountain Storm, aimed at destroying al-Qaida and the Taliban and ultimately finding bin Laden.