It was December, 2001, just months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks - and Osama bin Laden was at his most vulnerable - and within the potential grasp of the U.S. military. But in spite of his public pledge to go after those responsible for the mass murder of nearly 3,000 people - President Bush failed to pursue bin Laden until it was too late. By then he had disappeared into the impenetrable, lawless region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Leading to the insurgency that controls the bulk of Afghanistan today.
That damning assessment is contained in a U.S. Senate report - one that was requested by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) just prior to President Obama's Tuesday prime time address to the nation outlining the nation's future military approach to Afghanistan.
The timing of the report is political. Providing cover, or justification, for whatever decision the president makes. But it also gives new insight into the hunt for bin Laden - and a missed opportunity that's resulted in years of fighting on the ground of Afghanistan and the deaths of more than 15-hundred coalition troops to date.