The book “No Easy Day,” which was released about six weeks ago, ranks an impressive eighth among all the best-sellers on Amazon.com. The author, who uses the alias Mark Owen, was one of the Navy Seals who raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan last year and killed the Al-Qaeda leader.
He wrote the book, he says, because all the other published accounts of the raid have been incorrect, and he wanted the American public to know the true story. He isn’t trying to get rich, he adds. He intends to donate most of the proceeds to organizations that provide support for ex-Seals or, in many cases, their survivors.
If you recall the vague, confusing and conflicting accounts that came out of the Obama administration in the days immediately following the raid, you will know why Owen is exasperated. As one wag put it, Bin Laden got killed but the public got the 72 versions.
One widely circulated account had it that Bin Laden put up some sort of fight, and that he and one of his wives, who tried to defend him, were killed simultaneously. In fact, Owen discloses, that scenario occurred in another of the rooms invaded by the Seals, with another man and his wife cut down by gunfire.
Bin Laden’s demise was humdrum by comparison. According to Owen, the no-good bastard stuck his head out the door to see what the commotion on the stairway was all about, and the Seal who was first in line shot him in the head without knowing for sure who he was. Bin Laden was not holding a weapon, and Owen calls him a “pussy” for not trying to defend himself and his cause.
Owen’s true name has been outed by the media, but I will not repeat it here. The disclosure has placed him in danger of reprisal from Al-Qaeda soreheads, and I am not going to make things the least bit easier for them.
When the book came out, it also rankled some soreheads in the administration and the military. Some denounced Owen because the book goes into considerable detail about the way Seals conduct raids, information which the critics say might prove useful to future Seal targets. There also is a lot of detailed information about the kinds of weapons and other gear the Seals use, which may hold some interest for our nation’s enemies.
I suspect that the danger of such disclosures has been greatly exaggerated, and I agree with Owen that the public deserved to know the truth about this important event. Owen took great pains to conceal the identities of his colleagues, and if it hadn’t been for the media, his story probably would have been reprisal-proof.
The Pentagon contends that Owen, who retired from the Navy not long after the Bin Laden raid, was obligated to submit his book for review before publishing it. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that the government may bring a legal action against Owen to deter other military operatives from publishing without seeking official clearance.
Could this be the same Leon Panetta who is a creature of a presidential administration that has leaked classified information whenever it suited their political purposes – including information about the Bin Laden raid?
I have read “No Easy Day,” which I am happy to recommend to other readers, and I will tell you what I think really bothers the administration about the book.
It is politically incorrect — if your politics happen to favor Obammunism.
The author doesn’t like Obama, doesn’t like his politics or the way he handles his role as commander in chief, and isn’t timid about saying so. In a presidential election year, that is loaded material coming from a military hero, which Owen certainly is.
The administration would dearly love to discredit the book, but evidently can point to no errors, so it has fallen back on a procedural peccadillo.
Here are some passages from the book that undoubtedly would have been blue-penciled out if the administration had gotten its paws on the manuscript before publication:
*Owen laments the restricted rules of engagement the administration imposed on the U.S. military in Afghanistan, where he participated in many missions. “For years, we had been sneaking into compounds, catching fighters by surprise. Not anymore. On the last deployment, we were slapped with a new requirement to call them out. After surrounding a building, an interpreter had to get on a bullhorn and yell for the fighters to come out with their hands raised…If we found guns, we arrested the fighters, only to see them go free a few months later…The first question to the detainee at the base was always, ‘Were you abused?’ An affirmative answer meant an investigation and more paperwork.”
*Owen complains about Obama’s unaccountable delay in giving final approval to the Bin Laden hit, and says that the same thing happened when he was part of a Seal mission in 2009 to rescue the captain of a cargo ship who had been kidnapped by Somali pirates.
*Owen and a colleague are chatting, before the raid, about the potential repercussions. The colleague says “…we’ll get Obama reelected for sure. I can see him now, talking about how he killed Bin Laden.” Owen agrees, recalling how Obama had taken all the credit for rescuing the cargo-ship captain.
*Soon after getting back to the United States, the triumphant Seal Team Six meets privately with Obama and Vice President Biden to receive their congratulations. Owen describes Obama’s speech as full of platitudes, and says that Biden “kept cracking lame jokes that no one got…he reminded me of someone’s drunken uncle at Christmas dinner.” Obama promises to receive the Seals at the White House for a beer fest, but never keeps the promise.