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Berger: Pre-9/11 Taliban attack impossible

March 24, 2004 at 1:35 PM

WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel Berger told the Sept. 11 commission a major military attack on al-Qaida was impossible before Sept. 11, 2001.

"I do not believe before Sept. 11 that the American people or the international community would have supported an invasion of Afghanistan," in response to al-Qaida terrorism, Berger said.

Berger said a strong immediate response to the 1998 bombing of the USS Cole was impossible because intelligence linking al-Qaida to the attack was inconclusive

Berger added U.S. options for dealing with al-Qaida were limited to prohibitively difficult special forces actions, unreliable cruise missile attacks or a full-scale invasion of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, which domestic and international opinion ruled out before the attacks on New York and Washington.

Less reliable measures than invasion were infeasible since failure would have made the United States look weak and glorified Osama bin Laden in the Arab world, he said.

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