Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Riveting Must Read

A friend who subscribes to "The New Yorker" recommended I read one of their recently published articles, Getting Bin Laden, written by Nicholas Schmidle, that detailed the mission to get Osama bin Laden. Having read the article, I'm going to now pay it forward and offer the same recommendation to you guys.

This must-read article reads like the type of spine-tingling spy thriller novels you just can't put down, and which you know will soon end up on the big screen. The article was an enthralling read which detailed the harrowing events which took place the night of May 1st, when two Black Hawk helicopters loaded with a total of 23 Navy Seals took off from Jalalabad Air Field in Afghanistan and embarked on their designated mission to kill "Crankshaft" - the target name that the Joint Special Operations Command, had given bin Laden. The risky plan was to land one of two helicopters directly inside the compound where bin Laden was holed up, overpower and dispose of any of bin Laden's guards and then kill him and take his corpse back with them to Aghanistan; of course, as in any great story, all did not initially go as planned.

From paragraph to paragraph, every detail ropes you into the tale and brings you along for the ride; from the intelligence work which lead to identifying the trusted courier which was hiding bin Laden, to the Seals initial training exercises in North Carolina where a replica of the compound where they believed bin Laden was hiding was built for practice maneuvers, ending with the culminating moment when one of those Seals confronts bin Laden, shoots him in the chest, followed by a second round in the head, and then per the Native American theme code words which had been given to each stage of the mission (Geronimo was to signify bin Laden was found), reports through his radio the words "For God and country, Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo," followed by "Geronimo E.K.I.A." - "enemy killed in action."

Since the article was published, there has been some criticism from other news outlets (The Washing Post) to the fact that at no point in the article does the author describe the sourcing of the story, and the fact that the story is not based on first-hand interviews with any of the Seals themselves, but instead based on interviews with others who debriefed the men. I don't think this fact takes away from this riveting read which in addition to offering some previously unknown details, such as the fact that initial plans considered tunnelling into the compound, it also helps to correct false reports originally out in the media, such as the fact that the Seals were wearing helmet cams during the mission. It's an informative and gripping read which you'll recommend to your friends as well.