US: Choose Allies Carefully

In the discussion about Osama bin Laden, a key point is often omitted: that Mr. bin Laden began his career as a US ally. Indeed, he has followed in the tradition of Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein -- unsavory leaders who began as America's "friends," and later became archenemies. Moreover, from 1994 to 1996, the US encouraged Pakistani aid to the Taliban, which seemed the best bet for protecting Western interests in the region. In backing the mujahideen, US officials knew the risks.