May 2nd, 2011

Killing Osama

Fragmentary information is slowly emerging about the Navy Seal operation that got Osama Bin Laden. It should be fascinating to learn more. The tale—if ever learned in its entirety, which I doubt will occur for security reasons—would no doubt rival scenes from any action movie.

I try to imagine the mindset of those who set off on this mission. They have so much more courage than I that it’s hard to channel, even imaginatively, what they must have thought and felt. Their coolness and steely determination, and their willingness to die in such an endeavor if need be, is both awesome and necessary. I think of Orwell’s (possibly misattributed) words: “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

One of the nuggets of information revealed so far is that tracking the doings of an al Qaeda courier led the Seals to their prize, and that the information that led to identifying the courier’s was gleaned many years ago from questioning of a Guantanamo prisoner. Just another argument in favor of what went on at Guantanamo and its usefulness to us:

One courier in particular had our constant attention,’ one official said.

The hunt was frustrated because detainees could only give his nickname and ‘nom de guerre.’ He was a protege of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States now in custody at Guantanamo Bay prison.

It wasn’t until four years ago that the CIA, working with other US intelligence organizations, uncovered the courier’s identity. It took another two years of ‘persistent effort’ to find the general area where the courier and a brother operated in Pakistan.

‘Still, we were unable to pinpoint exactly where they lived, due to extensive operational security on their part,’ an official said.

In August 2010, they finally found the compound where the brothers lived – a million-dollar, well-fortified mansion in an affluent area where retired Pakistan military officers lived…

It was about eight times larger than other homes in the area, with 4-to-6 metre high walls topped with barbed wire.

Then there were the give-aways: the residents of the compound burnt their refuse, unlike their neighbours who put it out for collection. There were few outside windows. And it had no telephone or internet connections.

Intelligence analysts learned there was a third family living there, in addition to the families of the courier and his brother. The best assessment was that it was ‘most likely’ bin Laden, with several family members, including his youngest wife.

As confidence mounted, Obama finally gave the signal – after chairing five national security meetings, the last of them on Friday – to raid the compound.

Early Sunday, in the ‘early morning hours in Pakistan,’ the assault force moved on its target.

The raid itself was a cliffhanger, being carried out inside Pakistan by US operatives – possibly including CIA agents, but that was not specified by the official – in a civilian neighbourhood on a highly fortified compound, making it an ‘especially dangerous operation.’

The team used two helicopters to get to the compound, where they spent ‘under 40 minutes’ and avoided contact with local Pakistani authorities.

Bin Laden ‘did resist the assault force’ and ‘he was killed in a firefight,’ an official said.

In addition to bin Laden, four others were killed. Three men who were believed to be the brothers and an adult son of bin Laden’s – and a woman who ‘was used as a shield by a male combatant.’ Two other women were injured, officials said.

49 Responses to “Killing Osama”

  1. Ritchie Emmons Says:

    How great is it to be the person that actually killed bin Laden? I wonder if we’ll ever know the person’s identity.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Ritchie Emmons: maybe a hundred years from now. But at present it would be too dangerous to know.

    Unless Julian Assange and Wikileaks gets hold of it. Then everyone will print it and put the person and his family at risk.

  3. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    “They have so much more courage than I that it’s hard to channel, even imaginatively, what they must have thought and felt. Their coolness and steely determination, and their willingness to die in such an endeavor if need be, is both awesome and necessary.”

    For some idea of what it takes to become a SEAL (and by extension -Special Forces) read Marcus Luttrell’s book, “SOUL SURVIVOR.” He describes the training he went through to become a SEAL. I doubt that I would not have lasted two days in the initial training even though I considered myself to be quite fit in my younger days. The job requires a combination of physical prowess and mental toughness that less than 1% of the population has. We are fortunate that these individuals are on our side and willing to step forth. The warrior ethos is alive and well among our SEALs and SOFs. God bless ‘em.

  4. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I’m channelling Mark Twain this morning – or maybe it was Clarence Darrow:
    “I’ve never killed a man, but I’ve read many an obituary with a great deal of satisfaction.”

    This morning, I am reading the obituary with a great deal of satisfaction. I would have liked to have seen his head on a pike in front of the White House, but I’ll settle for what we can get. And our “friends” in Pakistan do have a lot of explaining to do, don’t they?

  5. Libby Says:

    JJ – you beat me to the punch – the book is “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation redwing and the Lost heroes of SEAl Team 10″.

    After you’ve read the punishing mental and physical training that goes into making a SEAL, it becomes obvious why the SEALs, and only the SEALs, were the ones to take Osama down. I hope they remain anonymous for their own safety.

  6. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Just a note Neo, I remember an essay by Orwell in which he did use that quote. I am not sure if the wording is 100% but he did write something almost exactly like that.

  7. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Libby, thanks for the correction on the book title. The old memory ain’t waht it used to be.

    Yes, those people involved in “black ops’ be they SEALs, SOFs, or CIA are best served by remaining in the shadows.

    Read some of Vince Flynn’s books about the exploits of his CIA covert ops character, Mitch Rap, to get an idea of how they operate. Life for them is anything but what we consider normal. We are lucky we have such patriots.

  8. Ritchie Emmons Says:

    neo,

    But I’m highly unlikely to be alive in 100 years. What do I do about that?? Haha!

    At the very least, Obama should have a night of drinks with the one who killed bin Laden and the SEALs who pulled this operation off, like Margaret Thatcher allegedly did with some of her Special Forces heroes. A 6-pack of non-alcoholic beer should be brought and GWB should be invited too.

    Hopefully Julian & Wikileaks have been diminished enough to no longer be a threat, although that doesn’t mean a Wikileaks II can’t emerge. As I mentioned here before once, I wonder if it isn’t a good idea to somehow inundate the “secret” cables with loads of irrelevant and untrue information and mix it in with the real stuff. If done properly (and perhaps announced publicly), it would make it impossible to know what information was real and what was false. Or at least give us plausible deniability if needed.

  9. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    A link to an unofficial photo of bin Laden’s corpes at Mudville Gazzette. Not pretty! But pretty certain it is him.
    http://mudvillegazette.com/

  10. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Oops, that’s corpse….

  11. John Says:

    He needed to be killed and congrats to the team who carried out this mission.

    Now it’s time to find and add Ayman al-Zawahiri to the list of dead Al Qaeda leaders.

    It’s a good thing no one leaked the plans of this impending raid to Wikileaks or the NY Times.

  12. Ritchie Emmons Says:

    J.J., I think that’s a photoshopped picture. It looks like a doctored up picture of a previous bin Laden photo. Also, I’m not sure the Mudville Gazette would be the one to have such a photo – before the NYT, Fox, NBC, etc…

  13. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Mudville has confirmed that it’s a photoshop. (And a pretty gruesome one, at that. If you really want the details, go to mudvillegazette.com and start clicking.)

    I’m amazed that he was able to stay hidden for that long — almost ten years! It’ll be interesting to hear, as details emerge, about the people (and governments!) who helped him stay hidden.

    I also can’t help thinking about how this issue was used to bash our President’s predecessor, in 2008 and before. (In particular, I remember Hillary Clinton declaring that she couldn’t believe we were unable to find the tallest man in Afghanistan. By implication, it would have been easy had she been in charge. I imagine President Bush, knowing about the operations then in progress, and keeping his mouth shut about them.)

    And hey — my hat’s off to President Obama. He was at the helm when the pieces fell into place, and he gave the order — for a special-ops team to invade a friendly country, find the man, kill him, and get the body out. It couldn’t have been easy for him, but it was the right thing to do.

    And, of course, my hat’s off to the people who did the job — and, apparently, made a clean exit. I suspect that, in the special-ops community, these people will never be allowed to pay for their own drinks again.

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  14. blert Says:

    OBL’s safe house was built by the ISI…

    Plainly, OBL has been an ISI cash cow.

    Our ‘buddies’ in Islamabad ARE at covert war with us.

    It’s high time that we openly declare war upon Pakistan.

    It’s her proxy armies that aggress against Afghanistan.

    The Taliban are NOT Afghanis — they are Pastun from the FATA.

    Even though the Wan won’t sign it — Congress should declare war on Pakistan. They are the active counter-party in all of our frustrations.

    Almost all terrorism leads to Islamabad, not Tehran!

  15. kolnai Says:

    In the end, it’s probably better that OBL was offed, but still… I feel more than a little regret that we weren’t able to interrogate him. We evidently got a windfall from KSM; we might have been able to learn a lot more from OBL (even about past things like possible collaboration with Saddam).

    Unfortunately, this is one reason why going cold turkey on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques is not at all a cost-free decision. It raises the price, as it were, of capture, and so makes the market for outright killing more attractive.

    It would have been an absolute circus if we’d captured him – though if the SEALS had wanted to be truly Machiavellian they could have capture him, interrogated him, killed him, and then reported he was downed in the firefight as they dumped him into the sea. We don’t work like that, so all told, killing OBL on-sight was the optimal choice.

    In a world where the price of capture was lower, however – a world where a mixture of Gitmo, EIT, and military commissions were functional and ratified by law – would it be wrong to say it would have been better to capture him? Meaning: all else equal, capturing him was preferable to killing him?

    I’m just thinking out loud here. We may have on our hands another perverse joke of the gods: it was the ostensibly inhumane EITs that made possible the supposedly more humane capturing of bin Laden, but it was the banning of the inhumane EITs that got bin Laden a bullet in the head.

    (That’s just speculation, but it’s the kind of irony that only a Sophocles or a Shakespeare could get a grip on – like Oedipus seeing a truth that makes him stab his eyes out).

  16. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Oh, I believe elements in Pakistan were up to their pretty little necks for years, in hosting Bin Laden in an expensive villa, in a military cantonment town, just across the way from their equivalent of West Point. I am wondering if someone within the Pak intelligence service gave him up, or that ours just figured it out and went to get him on our own.

    On another topic – I actually met Marcus Lutrell – he was a speaker at a special event that I was part of planning. He was our keynote speaker, and it struck me that he was … not a happy person – that it was an agony for him to go out and be a public speaker and a celebrity of sorts and have his picture taken with people. I have a picture that I took backstage at the event, and he is standing in the middle of about thirty other people, just radiating misery. Everyone else was mingling, talking, laughing, being really excited — and he was just standing there. Earlier, he was on the edge of a group of young veterans, who were also talking and swapping stories of service in the Big Sandbox. One of them was my daughter and she said she also picked up on the fact that he was desperatly unhappy. He never wanted to be a hero to other people – he was just lucky to have survived a horrific experience, and now he was laden down with a celebrity that he absolutely hated. He went through the motions, though – but all I kept thinking about was the experiences of the men who raised the Iwo Jima flag, after WWII. I wished that we hadn’t paid him money to be our speaker; it was so plain to me that he was desperatly unhappy to be there at the event. But it’s a good book, though – I just hope that someday, he can find some kind of contentment and happiness.

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    If done properly (and perhaps announced publicly), it would make it impossible to know what information was real and what was false. Or at least give us plausible deniability if needed.

    This method is classic disinformation and is often used by competent counter-intel agents to nullify enemy spy rings. The issue is mostly the rate of information transfer (not an issue with the internet) and politics (major issue currently).

    To kolnail,

    any information obtained from an insurgency means more lives saved and a better strategy formed to defeat the enemy. Because of the world we live in, capturing the enemy has begun to lose all its advantages, thus the preference on kill. Bush delayed such things for awhile using Gitmo, but it’s finally here. The military can no longer trust the lawyers in the back, civilian or military, with not releasing terrorists. So they, regardless of their orders, probably had a very high chance of killing Osama regardless of the circumstance.

    SEAL team six and various other SEAL teams have been infiltrating and reconning the Afghan-Pakistan border for years now. Marcus Lutrell is only one of the stories we know about it. They would be tasked for this job simply because

    1. They had the most experience in the terrain and with the objectives

    2. The intel and SOCOM branches that were doing other work wanted not to be noticed and have their work destroyed by American traitors. If their methods used to trace Bin Laden’s courier was exposed, how many other terrorists would benefit from such?

    I wouldn’t be surprised that the pipehitter unit that dug up Saddam using his tribal connections, started getting to work on the Pakis after Petraeus mostly suppressed the AQ insurgency in Iraq.

  18. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Just some corrections;

    Openly declaring war upon Pakistan would very likely lead to nuclear conflict, which is why options are so limited with nuclear armed countries. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is arguably, the world’s fourth largest. They also possess a robust missile capability.

    The Taliban are BOTH Afghanis — AND Pastun from the FATA. The Pastun tribes reside in both Afghanistan and Pakistani territory.

    The assertion that, “Almost all terrorism leads to Islamabad, not Tehran!” is a demonstrably false assertion and reveals a remarkable level of, at best, ignorance. Iran (directly) and the Saudi’s (indirectly) are right at the top of state sponsored terrorism.

    Elements in Pakistan are deeply involved in international terrorism and support for the Taliban but due to its nuclear capability, present an intractable problem. Currently, the only options with Pakistan are bad ones.

  19. Ymarsakar Says:

    I wished that we hadn’t paid him money to be our speaker; it was so plain to me that he was desperatly unhappy to be there at the event. But it’s a good book, though – I just hope that someday, he can find some kind of contentment and happiness.

    Ask him to talk about the pride of his unit, its traditions, the joyful memories he had in them, the various training mistakes he made, and whatever other positive emotions he can glean. He is a sole survivor and thus carries the duty of living in the place of those that fell. That’s why the happy memories, the funny ones, would act as a counter-agent to despair and sadness.

    Accomplish the mission with everything you have

    Despair not until your last breath

    Make your death count

    Lutrell has the mental strength to withstand that pressure and duty. But he would truly feel better if he could spend more time thinking and laughing about the time he had with his fallen friends.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    Pakistan’s tribalism and terrorism targets Indians and Americans. Iran’s terrorism targets Americans and Jews and Iraqis. Much of Iran’s networks are in reserve, so even if they exist in Mexico or the US, it would be mostly hidden from us. Precisely because AQ would not have data on Shia death squads. Although the Q agents we captured in Iraq supplying shaped IEDs to AQ definitely knew something about AQ. Captured and returned to Iran unharmed of course.

    Thus as a counter weight to Pakistan, the thing that would piss them off the most would be American backing India’s territorial and technological standards. I really think that would place the most pressure on Pakistan, every faction in Pakistan, regardless of who they think they are fighting for.

    P.S.

    In order to make their deaths count and not be in vain, SEAL Team Six (if 6 it was) sealed the deal, in a rather final fashion. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the members dedicated their mission to the previous sacrifices of those like Marcus Lutrell.

  21. Scott Says:

    I grew up with a guy — we went to school from grades K-12 together and our families engaged in social activities together — who was Airborne, Ranger, Special Forces and selected to be among the first members of Delta Force when it was formed in the early 1980s.

    He had prepared well for a Special Forces Army career while in high school: avid camper/hunter/fiisherman; Eagle Scout; excelled in all sports and track; trained in karate and Tae Kwon Do, won prizes at amateur rodeos in the community, and he still managed to be in the National Honor Society of our class. Pretty special guy.

    After our high school graduation, I didn’t see him again until our 10 year high school reunion. He told me he was having doubts about re-enlisting when the time came.

    It was my impression he could handle the physical challenges, but the mental stuff bothered him. It was my impression that he was forbidden from saying ANYTHING to ANYBODY about his missions. Not even his wife and his parents. He couldn’t tell them where his missions were, how long he’d be gone, how dangerous, etc. It was like he was living his life in near total secrecy and isolation. So, not surprisingly, his marriage had fallen apart and he was struggling with whether to re-enlist or not. He did some soul searching and ultimately decided he wanted a family life, including children, more than he wanted to put his life on the line whenever his country asked him to.

    He left one of the most elite units in military history, Delta Force, after serving for 12 years (giving up the potential for a lifetime pension if he could have lasted for only 8 more years). He then bounced around with odd jobs for a couple of years, stopped running and working out, gained a bunch of weight, and developed an alcohol problem. His parents were worried he was falling into a depression and was giving up on life. Then, luckily, he found the love of his life, got re-married, gave up the booze, lost a few pounds, and they now have two daughters.

    And his current profession? He’s a pastor.

  22. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    SGT Mom said, “I actually met Marcus Lutrell – he was a speaker at a special event that I was part of planning. He was our keynote speaker, and it struck me that he was … not a happy person – …”

    Many combat vets come home with aterible case of survivor’s guilt. His story is such that he has to ask, “Why me? Why did I survive and my team mates didn’t? What does it mean?” Writing the book was a form of therapy and a tribute to his fellow SEALs. However, working through survivor’s guilt is a process that often takes years. It takes both therapy and often a spiritual transformation. Sometimes realizing that you are a living memorial to your friends can be a heavy burden. Especially when you get the kind of notoriety he has received. I’m hoping he is getting the help he needs and eventually works his way back to happiness.

  23. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Arrgghh! It’s ….”a terrible case….”

  24. LAG Says:

    neo,

    I have to disagree that it will take a hundred years to find out what happened. We will know almost everything in five years or less.

    In that time either a WH or CIA staffer or a member of the team or ship’s company who gets out at the end of his hitch will spill the story. In either case the publicity/status/money will be a strong motivator.

    As for the courage and mindset of those who carried out this mission, they would tell you it’s less about courage than sound training–good planning and preparation–and trust in your team members. Though you would need to have the stamina to get through Hell Week.

  25. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Luttrell’s commander committed a commander’s big no-no.
    When deciding whether or not to kill the two locals who’d discovered them, he put it to a vote of the team.
    Officers don’t get the big bucks to take votes. Part of the commission is responsibility.
    Luttrell’s vote was the deciding vote to let the guys go, after which the team was assaulted by a large group of Taliban, leaving Luttrell as not only the lone survivor but the guy whose vote led to it.
    The commander’s decision to put it to a vote was both tactically wrong–but nobody could have known that in advance–and wrong according to the way the military is supposed to work. Officers should not put such responsibility on the shoulders of the enlisted men under their command.
    Not that I would make this case to Luttrell in person….

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    The matter isn’t really whether Obama is given credit or given blame. Blame and credit are games people play to bolster their status and sabotage somebody else’s.

    Responsibility is on Obama because Obama is the President, for good or ill. It doesn’t matter what he did or didn’t do, for indecision is the same as decision. What matters is that Obama has the responsibility for the action, ultimately.

    The Left likes to play this little game where they blame certain people for things like racism and rich corporate sharking, in order to redistribute the political power base. They demand that Obama be “given credit” as if credit is given rather than earned.

    Hey, Obama was given credit in Harvard so he should be “given credit” as President too, correct.

  27. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Richard – I wouldn’t have made that case in person myself! And JJ – I am certain that Marcus Luttrell was still working through a terrible burden of survivor’s guilt when I met him – which would have been 4th of July, 2009. The misery just radiated from him, it was palpable to me, and to my daughter, and I was baffled because no one else seemed to sense it, save for another military veteran present at the time – who agreed with me, only after I pointed it out. I am pretty sure he was getting some kind of treatment and therapyat the time, but whoever had OK’d him doing speaking engagements was not doing him any favors. I would have suggested something like coaching a Boy Scout troop, or going off to South America to dig wells or build an orphanage: something strenuous, with a sense of purpose and service. Every time someone told him what a hero he was, I could see it was for him like being stuck with a red-hot needle. I can only hope that his burden of living when all the rest of his team died, will not eventually become unbearable.

  28. John F. MacMichael Says:

    For anyone who wants to get a better idea of what it takes to become a SEAL, I recommend the books of Dick Couch (himself a former SEAL (Vietnam era)). Titles include “The Finishing School: Earning the Navy SEAL Trident” and “Down Range: Navy SEALS in the War on Terrorism”.

  29. Parker Says:

    I’m with Sgt. Mom & blert in assuming OBL’s location and activities could not have been a secret to Paki military intelligence. This isn’t all that surprising, but it is disturbing nonetheless.

    Geoffrey Britain says, “Currently, the only options with Pakistan are bad ones.”

    Nuclear armed Pakistan and want to be nuclear armed Iran are indeed problems with no readily apparent solutions available. IMO, one or the other or both will have to be taken down in the near future, and if that comes to pass there will be plenty of casualties.

    Ymarsakar says, “Thus as a counter weight to Pakistan, the thing that would piss them off the most would be American backing India’s territorial and technological standards. I really think that would place the most pressure on Pakistan, every faction in Pakistan, regardless of who they think they are fighting for.”

    Our troublesome relationship with Pakistan has roots back in the cold war days when the USSR was very friendly with India and we chose, as a counterweight, to buddy up to Pakistan. Now, 2 decades after the collapse of the USSR, its time to openly side with India as it confronts Pakistan.

  30. Parker Says:

    Sgt. Mom and others,

    Thank you for reminding us of the incredible sacrifices and the burdens borne by our brave warriors. The Orwell quote becomes even more poignant when we consider the hardships these men and their families make to protect our way of life.

  31. Richard Aubrey Says:

    A couple of years ago. two punks shot Luttrell’s dog. He chased them over several counties–which is big distance in Texas–and held them for the cops.
    The cop got there.
    “You know who I am?”
    “Yessir, Mr. Luttrell sir, I do”
    Punks didn’t know how lucky they were that Luttrell didn’t kill them in exchange for what was mentioned as his “therapy dog”.
    So I guess he’s making some progress.
    Props to the village that sheltered him in Astan, too.

  32. Capn Rusty Says:

    Of course Pakistan knew OBL was living in that compound; he was being given sanctuary in there. I wonder if the elements in the Pakistani military and/or special police that were guarding OBL are the same people who are guarding Pakistan’s nukes.

  33. Capn Rusty Says:

    As an interesting footnote, Wikipedia tells us “The [Joint Special Operations Command] is credited with coordination of Operation Geronimo that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011 near Islamabad, Pakistan.” JSOC was commanded from 2001 until 2008 by . . . LTG Stanley McChrystal.

  34. Richard Aubrey Says:

    The people who know best how good our intel gathering and analysis is is us. Next best, due to practical experience, is the ISI. Thence to the Pakistani government.
    Did they really think they could hide OBL? Did they not think that we’d go after him once we found him?
    Did they think they could defend him against us?
    Keep in mind that many people think the US helped the IAF completely fox the Syrian air defenses a couple of years ago to the extent that a nuclear reactor the Syrians didn’t have wasn’t destroyed by an IAF strike that didn’t happen and left no traces except for the ruins of a nuclear reactor that never existed in the first place.
    Defend OBL against us? Hide him forever?
    Something not right here.
    But, as I keep saying, applying rational analysis to a good many decisions is a loser’s game. How, as many have said, would you rationally go through the steps that started WW I, in a novel written in 1910 and expect an editor to buy it as possible?

  35. Occam's Beard Says:

    Too bad he didn’t. That pup was doubtless more worthy than the pieces of human detritus who killed him.

  36. Occam's Beard Says:

    Oops. That was in reference to Lutrell’s dog.

  37. Gary Rosen Says:

    From a poster on Michael Totten’s blog:

    “It [OBL compound] is within walking distance of the Pakistani Army equivalent to the US West Point, as well as the largest Pakistani Army hospital they have, at least one police station, and the retirement homes of numerous Pakistani military/intel officers”

  38. SteveH Says:

    Anyone else feel like they have to self censor when our whack a mole media gets hung up on a frenzied subject like Bin Laden? Something is fundamentally wrong with how a few thousand people in a mostly biased media inform Americans that an jihadi redneck being killed is more important than $4.29 a gallon gas and groceries costing 15% more in just 4 months.

  39. Ymarsakar Says:

    Our enemies are no longer, if they ever were, simply foreign nationals and terrorists.

    They are here with us now, in our domestic scene. That is a rather large problem.

  40. waltj Says:

    The job requires a combination of physical prowess and mental toughness that less than 1% of the population has.

    Of the two, mental toughness is the far more important. I knew a few SEALs back in my military days, and to a man they were of slender to average build–not guys you’d pick out as being SpecOps types from central casting. But mentally, they never wanted to quit. One that I knew, who was a former SEAL by that time, broke his ankle in one of our company softball games. Badly broke it. But after putting an Ace wrap on it, he insisted on going out to have a few brews with his buds after the game, and before he went to the ER.

    I feel more than a little regret that we weren’t able to interrogate him.

    Kolnai, I hear what you’re saying on this, but all things considered, I believe it’s far better that OBL got a 5.56mm vent hole in his cranium. Yes, it would have been nice to pick his brain instead of splattering it over the walls of his hideout, but this way, the media circus will subside in a few days, there won’t be any criminal defense lawyers lining up to defend him pro bono, and there is no possibility that he will ever rejoin the fight. In some cases, like this one, dead is better than alive.

  41. Capn Rusty Says:

    Correction: McChrystal began his command of JSOC in 2003, not 2001.

  42. Ymarsakar Says:

    http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2011/05/missed-anniversary-vous-les-americains.html

    Though this author had very different experiences than MLutrell, their guilt is the same that lives with them for eternity.

    Read the article with Lutrell’s situation in mind.

  43. Artfldgr Says:

    Who provided the information about the courier, and how was that information obtained…

    without that… the big O would have nothing….

  44. MT of Hollywood Says:

    Wow – I just read the link to the blog that Ymarsakar left for us – two comments up from here.

  45. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Some years ago, I contacted about a dozen peace&wonderfulness organizations and asked them what they’d done/said about the Cambodian Killing Fields.
    One said I must be a redneck for asking and the rest hadn’t heard of it.

  46. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Ymarsakar and Richard A — I remember all that very well, though I finished college in 1976. One of my formative life experiences was working to help resettle Vietnamese refugees in 1975. The ones who came out in ’75 — those lucky few — most of them were good peope, honest and hardworking and educated people. Our political establishment turned their back on them, after karking up their country and their civil war, leaving them out to twist in the wind, and our so-called intellectual and media establishment allied themselves with their enemies… god, how I despise Jane Fonda and Noam Chomsky to this day. That experience was the reason that I decided to join the military.

  47. Richard Aubrey Says:

    sgt. mom
    Do you ever force yourself to change a line of thought because you know you’ll be so upset/horrified/enraged it wouldn’t be healthy?
    I do that about, among other things, the era of 75/76. And Fonda, and Chomsky, and Kerry and the Winter Soldiers and….
    Oh, look. A bottle of cheap port.
    See you tomorrow or something.

  48. foxmarks Says:

    I’m off primary media. With all the congratulations and back-patting, is anyone paying attention to the fact we lost a chopper?

    This wasn’t a textbook-slick mission.

  49. nolanimrod Says:

    They have so much more courage than I

    Neo: When you bust into a room full of people with guns the worst you can expect is to be a quadriplegic for the rest of your life or getting snuffed.

    You risked a lifetime of shunning. I know. I have had relatives in your neck of the woods. Not fun.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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