**Posted by Phineas
Bar none, the most riveting article you’ll read this week. The New Yorker’s Nicholas Schmidle interviewed principals involved in the raid to kill
that porn-addicted medieval psychopath bin Laden –including members of SEAL Team 6– and put together an account of the mission from planning stages to aftermath that you won’t be able to put down. An excerpt:
The SEALs’ destination was a house in the small city of Abbottabad, which is about a hundred and twenty miles across the Pakistan border. Situated north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, Abbottabad is in the foothills of the Pir Panjal Range, and is popular in the summertime with families seeking relief from the blistering heat farther south. Founded in 1853 by a British major named James Abbott, the city became the home of a prestigious military academy after the creation of Pakistan, in 1947. According to information gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency, bin Laden was holed up on the third floor of a house in a one-acre compound just off Kakul Road in Bilal Town, a middle-class neighborhood less than a mile from the entrance to the academy. If all went according to plan, the SEALs would drop from the helicopters into the compound, overpower bin Laden’s guards, shoot and kill him at close range, and then take the corpse back to Afghanistan.
In other words, no matter what was said publicly, this was a mission to kill, not capture. Fine by me. I figure anyone objecting to this is either a hopeless pacifist, someone who thinks this a law enforcement matter rather than a war, or a transnationalist who can’t stand the idea of nation-states actually defending themselves by any means more stern than a press conference, a memo of concern, and perhaps sniffing “unacceptable” if the terrorist atrocity is really bad.
(In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have much regard for those types. None at all, actually.)
Anyway, on reading this, here are three things that jumped out at me:
- After weeks of training, we were this close to having the mission turn into another Eagle Claw. Helicopters are darned difficult to control in restricted areas.
- I want to meet the guy code-named “Ahmed,” the Pakistani-American who pretended to be a Pakistani cop to keep curious locals away while our guys were inside killing the world’s most wanted man. His assignment prior to this raid: a desk job.
- As of the article’s writing, the President of the United States does not know who fired the kill shot(s). He didn’t ask, and the SEALs didn’t offer. Probably for security reasons. That secret may well go to the grave.
Anyway, after weeks of wondering if our government can do anything right, here’s something that shows they can, and do it superbly.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)