October 19, 2004

Franks on "outsourcing" Tora Bora

A few days ago I thought about writing a long post about Tora Bora, but I see this "Tommy Franks" fellow has beat me to it, in the pages of the New York Times no less. On the merits, he's more or less right: Kerry's line on "outsourcing" Tora Bora is deeply misleading at best. (Though I think I'll still write my long Tora Bora post, because Franks is also being misleading, at least if you compare his Times op-ed to the his account in American Soldier.)

That said, Franks goes waaay off the reservation towards the end of his piece:
As we planned for potential military action in Iraq and conducted counterterrorist operations in several other countries in the region, Afghanistan remained a center of focus. Neither attention nor manpower was diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq. When we started Operation Iraqi Freedom we had about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, and by the time we finished major combat operations in Iraq last May we had more than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.
False. The issue of course was that Special Forces units and CIA operatives were diverted, not just soldiers in general. Richard Clarke hammered on this point back when he was all the rage, and this old USA Today article pretty much summarizes matters for anyone who doesn't have the talking points down pat. Franks should know better. Franks does know better. And that, I'm afraid, is a wee bit troubling.
-- Brad Plumer 4:10 AM || ||