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Enlightening read that should make you angry.
on October 7, 2008
I thought we'd learned some expensive lessons in Vietnam. Apparently I'm wrong, and the proof of that is the book Kill bin laden (lower case intentional) by Dalton Fury (not the real name) and Col. David Hunt. In Vietnam there was constant interference by Washington in the conducting of operations in the field. I thought we'd learned to turn command of combat operations over to field commanders, define, in advance, the rules of engagement and then step out of the way and let them go. I also thought we'd learned that international borders couldn't always be respected, especially when those borders provide aid and comfort to foreign fighters. This is especially true when the host government knows they are providing cover for these fighters and takes no steps, or weak ones at best, to put an end to that cover. Boy, was I wrong. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.
Fury was the leader of an elite Delta Force unit inserted into Afghanistan with the sole mission of finding bin laden and then killing him. Not an easy mission but certainly clear enough. No ambiguity here. As Dalton and Hunt point out, not only was there interference from up the chain of command in disallowing mission options, but the Delta Force was paired with Afghan fighters that were very thin in their commitment of finding bin laden. It is a paradox that the mission seemed doomed almost from the start and yet came very close to succeeding. Dalton maintains that they may have come within a few meters of actually killing b. l. The cave the team thought b. l. was in was targeted and successfully bombed. Later, teams searched the area for b.l. body parts but none was ever found. After reading Kill bin laden, one has to wonder whether our leaders really wanted b. l. found and dispensed with.
Kill bin laden is well written. Why shouldn't it be? The man who wrote it was there.
As a veteran, I've never doubted that the U. S. military is the finest in the world. There's not another soldier in the world that can stand toe to toe with the American fighting man. Our combined forces are simply the best. However, it seems clear that even after the hard lessons learned in the past, we seem doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Will we ever learn?
Dalton and Hunt deliver a masterfully written inside story about the failed attempt to get b. l. Kill bin laden is not a partisan read but it is one that should make you angry.
I highly recommend.