Why didn’t the United States invade Afghanistan and destroy Al Qaeda before September 11, 2001?
This isn’t as farfetched as it might sound. In 2001, President Bush issued a presidential directive instructing the Department of Defense to “‘develop contingency plans’ to attack both al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan.” After the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings, CIA Director George Tenet told employees that the Agency was “at war” with Al Qaeda. And the intelligence community well understood Al Qaeda’s grave threat to the homeland: the August 6, 2001, President’s Daily Brief included an item entitled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US,” the 36th PDB item briefed that year on Al Qaeda.
Read the full piece on Lawfare.
More from CNAS
CommentarySharper: Global Coronavirus Response
As regions across the United States enforce states of emergency and a growing list of countries restrict travel, close schools, and quarantine citizens, the economic and human...
By Chris Estep & Cole Stevens
CommentaryHow the US can learn from Israel to counter Iran
During the COVID-19 crisis, one would have thought the United States and Iran would find ways to reduce tensions. Instead the Trump administration refuses to relax sanctions i...
By Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas
ReportsCountering Iran in the Gray Zone
American freedom of action to strike Iranian targets in the gray zone may be greater than previously assessed, if U.S. policymakers are willing and able to replicate at least ...
By Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras, Kaleigh Thomas & Jennie Matuschak
Commentary9/11 swallowed U.S. foreign policy. Don’t let the coronavirus do the same thing.
For two decades, American foreign policy has been shaped by the 9/11 attacks. The catastrophic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our failure to see the full threat posed by Russia...
By Ilan Goldenberg