The author seems sincere in his effort to describe the Seal experience. One thing comes through very clearly; the arduous training and dedication of the Seals is of the highest order. The book reads like a novel. In its honesty, it is totally refreshing. Being a whistleblower is not easy and I can’t help but wonder who gave away his identity. The book was originally attributed to Mark Owen, an assumed name. His real name is Matt Bissonnette
The Pentagon and some military spokespeople have portrayed him as a traitor to his oath. For me, the only thing this young man seems to be guilty of is fighting patriotically and bravely for his country. He should be hailed as a hero, nothing more and nothing less. Anyone who feels differently should try walking in his shoes.
If his only crime was that he didn’t vet the book properly, I don’t blame him. There is no way this President or anyone in this administration, would have let this truth be exposed, but the American people do deserve, and also have the right, to know what really went down in Pakistan when Bin Laden was captured.
The book is about more than the Bin Laden capture. It is this man’s story, beginning with his childhood and how his life in Alaska, hunting and fishing alongside his dad, laid the groundwork for his ability to be a Navy Seal. It is about his dream, nurtured in high school, to become one. With his dad, he learned how to survive even under dreadful conditions of cold and exhaustion, so he was mentally ready for the Seals, and he went through the rigorous training, succeeding and eventually becoming part of Seal Team Six.
The main thrust of the book concerns the time period he was with the Seals, from 1998-2012. He describes the way the rules of engagement changed as the years passed, often preventing them from doing a proper job, and how the decision making process ground to a halt at times, moving too slowly. Some men felt that risking their lives under such conditions was becoming too risky. They had to warn their enemy before they approached, provide photographic evidence of their militancy and if captured, the emphasis was often on whether the enemy had been abused rather than his militaristic activity.
I am not sure why there is such brouhaha about the information in the book. Yes, Bin laden was shot in cold blood, without even a loaded weapon in his room; contrary to the story told by the White House, but the Seals had been fired upon, entering his compound, even if the shots were not fired by Bin Laden. Yes, they dragged his body down the steps, disrespectfully, when we were told he was treated with respect, but then, this man was responsible for the death of thousands of Americans so is anyone really surprised?
Paraphrasing, the main objection this Seal voiced, which was a sentiment shared by other Seals, as well, was that the President had a need and/or tendency to take credit for everything to advance himself politically. Even before they captured Osama Bin Laden, they joked about Obama taking credit for it. Still, they said, their mission was what was important, not his speeches or grandstanding.
I think the book had a bit too much detail, but still, I found I could not put it down. I thought it was interesting reading about the training, preparation and deployments. I respect what these men sacrifice to guarantee my security, and I applaud their efforts. On the other hand, my husband found it a bit tedious reading about all the preparations for the missions, so reader beware.
You may ask if it was necessary to treat Bin Laden’s body like a car seat or was it necessary to throw him onto the tarmac “like a dead fish”. I just don’t know if he deserved better. Making friends with our enemies has not served us that well, so far. If Washington compromised the safety of the Seals with their leaks of information and pictures, just for political capital, then I think this Seal was within his rights, to write this story.
Mr. Bissonnette states that he is donating the majority of the profits from the book, to veterans’ or wounded warrior charities. I donated, have you?