Tommy Sowers on the Killing of Osama bin Laden

Introduced: May 16 2011

Tommy Sowers was a 2010 candidate for Congress in Missouri’s 8th District. He served 11 years in the Army (Kosovo and Iraq) as a Ranger, Green Beret, and West Point professor.


“When I was in Iraq, it was clear Osama bin Laden was not.  It was difficult drawing the line of connection between 9/11 OBL and our day to day activities.  What motivated me was attempting to do a good job, not letting down my men, my men’s safety (and that they were husbands, fathers, brothers, sons), and doing my best to put in the foundation for a democracy.


That connection is going to be very difficult for people in Afghanistan (and definitely in Iraq) going forward.  In many ways, OBL being killed, by special forces, in Pakistan is the best case scenario for our foreign policy.  If he had been killed in Afghanistan we double down (increase or lengthen our presence there).  Somewhere else (Yemen/Somalia), we go there.  But it will also be difficult to motivate troops to train the Afghans/risk their lives now that the we are basically doing terrain denial (occupying territory with ground troops so the enemy can’t go there) which is not a viable long term mission.


My main takeaway is that it emphasizes my belief on how you combat terrorism—not with occupation, invasion, large, expensive ground forces.  You do with special ops and this will continue, just as it did before 9/11.”