Since we only have seven days until the election, let me summarize it: John Kerry apparently thinks he is smarter than his generals, and will micromanage the war; George Bush will let his generals make the battlefield decisions.
The WaPo has a recent article reviewing the second-guessing on Tora Bora. The lead:
Soon after arriving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Oct. 1, 2001, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers raised doubts about the war plan -- days from execution -- to topple the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Gen. Tommy R. Franks, then chief of U.S. Central Command, planned a single thrust toward the Afghan capital from the north.
Franks anticipated, correctly, that resistance from Taliban and al Qaeda fighters would collapse. He did not, however, position a blocking force to meet them as they fled. Some Bush administration officials now acknowledge privately they consider that a costly mistake.
Hindsight is often 20/20. My takeaway - if the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff chose not to overrule his subordinate, why should Bush? This article actually strenghtens Bush's case - the issue was identified, alternatives were weighed, and a decision was made. We all wish the right guess had been made, but I, at least, am glad that the decision making team was aware of the issues and the alternatives.
If Kerry is campaigning on a promise to make the battlefield decisions and always make the right ones, good for him. Say Anything, John.
MORE: The transcript which provided Bush's ammo is excerpted at this post; please also note that, on Dec 14, 2001 Kerry was obsessing about Saddam. And let's all give props to Rich Lowry - from the NRO to Bush's lips.
UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer crushes Kerry:
This election comes down to a choice between one man's evolution and the other man's resolution. With his endlessly repeated Tora Bora charges, Kerry has made Afghanistan a major campaign issue. So be it. Whom do you want as president? The man who conceived the Afghan campaign, carried it through without flinching when it was being called a "quagmire" during its second week and has seen it through to Afghanistan's transition to democracy? Or the retroactive genius, who always knows what needs to be done after it has already happened -- who would have done "everything" differently in Iraq, yet in Afghanistan would have replicated Bush's every correct, courageous, radical and risky decision -- except one. Which, of course, he would have done differently. He says. Now.