The Tora Bora campaign presented the opportunity to decapitate al-Qaida by capturing Osama, Zawahiri and others. But obviously they were able to escape by paying the Afghani besiegers, as you say. Not enough US troops on the ground. Too bad. The surviving guerillas only survive because their heads are still around, and I assume also because many are Taliban who want to return to power. (But this time, only as a local Afghani problem.) As you know, there was no relation between Saddam and "the war on terror". And there wouldn't be any if Iran is attacked. But some of the excuses would be: Saddam was supporting Palestinian terrorists, Iran is supporting Hamas and Hizballah, etc. The fact that Hamas, Hizballah, and the Pals have nothing to do with worldwide terror will be conveniently overlooked.
Joint Arab List's Odeh: I won't set red lines on resistance to occupation (Haaretz)
from the article: U.S. tells Israel it will shun PA gov't that includes Hamas