Former Navy Secretary and 9-11 commissioner John Lehman says the U.S. knows where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is hiding but can’t reach him because he is in a region of Pakistan controlled by Islamic extremists opposed to President Pervez Musharraf. Lehman spoke to the San Bernardino Sun yesterday after delivering a keynote speech on terrorism at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif.
He said the terrorist leader is in South Waziristan in the Baluchistan Mountains of Pakistan’s Baluchistan region. “There is an American presence in the area, but we can’t just send in troops,” Lehman told the Sun. “If we did, we could have another Vietnam, and the United States cannot afford that right now.”
The paper said Department of Defense spokeswoman Capt. Ronnie Merritt confirmed the U.S. military believes bin Laden is in Pakistan. Also, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday bin Laden was alive and operating in the western part of the country.
From these statements, it sure sounds as if the accusations that Iraq is a distraction from the so-called War on Terror is more than a little accurate. Lehman doesn’t explain why the USA can’t afford going in and getting bin Laden right now, but presumably the fact that a large part of the US military is occupied with nation building in Iraq would have something to do with that.
Iraq was never a central base for the global jihad, and it is unreasonable to think that the global jihad could or will be defeated there.