An extract of the book ‘No Easy Day’ by Mark Owen, a pseudonym for one of the Navy SEALs who stormed bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad on that fateful day in May last year, came up in my RSS feed.
The first rounds always surprise the s— out of you.
So Owen describes the sound of AK-47 rounds from inside the guesthouse that shattered the glass above the door, narrowly missing him and showering him with glass as he and his team towards the stairs that led to the roof. I can only imagine the amount of adrenaline coursing through their veins as they navigated the tight space, knowing that danger lurked around every corner and even things that are second nature to such veterans, like applying pressure to the trigger, become so visceral in the heat of the moment, that it stays with them long enough for one of them to include it in the unauthorised-and-you-will-likely-get-sued-for-this book he’s writing.
He also describes how the point man shot bin Laden (not knowing whether it was him or not) in the side of his head as he peeked out of a door down a hallway. As they cautiously approached the room, they saw the man convulsing. Then Owen and another SEAL fired more rounds into his chest until he stopped moving. He then describes in grisly detail his and his comrades’ examination of the body:
The man’s face was mangled from at least one bullet wound and covered in blood. A hole in his forehead collapsed the right side of his skull. As I crouched down to take a closer look, Tom joined me. ‘I think this is our boy’, Tom said.
Indeed, bin Laden didn’t put up a fight, despite the SEALs fully expecting one and being absolutely prepared for it. The only weapons they found were a rifle and a pistol, neither of them loaded. Owen was surprised that bin Laden hadn’t prepared a defence. And it wasn’t until they questioned the frightened women and children who the dead man was did they get their confirmation, that indeed, they had just killed the world’s most wanted terrorist.
Reflecting back on the mission, Owen notes:
In all of my deployments, we routinely saw this phenomenon. The higher up the food chain the targeted individual was, the bigger a pussy he was.
Did he (bin Laden) believe his own message? Was he willing to fight the war he asked for? I don’t think so. Otherwise, he would have at least gotten his gun and stood up for what he believed.
There is no honour in sending people to die for something you won’t even fight for yourself.
The true cowardice of a terrorist mastermind. So much for sending people to die for a cause when, push comes to shove, you won’t do the same thing with your own life.
The extract provides a gripping account indeed; but as usual, conspiracy theories will continue to abound as the naysayers continue to posit that Osama died years ago of kidney failure or that he’s still alive (like OMG what a big fat lie the US would’ve told the world!!) and that Al-Qaeda conspired with the US government to fake his death JUST LIKE THEY DID WITH THE 9/11 ATTACKS SO TAKE THAT YOU SO-CALLED LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD.
Well, here’s my two cents: GIMME A FUCKING BREAK.
I mean, yes, the US government refused to publish photographs, but that was because they didn’t want the images to be used to further inspire his legion of extremist fanatics and encourage martyrdom. Besides, US congressmen who have been allowed to see the top-secret pictures have said that it is indeed him. But I think the one detail that’s gotten people really fired up is the fact that they disposed of bin Laden’s body at sea, apparently in accordance with Islamic burial rites. Though more than anything, perhaps to avoid his followers trying to track down his grave and turn it into a site for pilgrimage.
I MEAN, WHATEVER, HE’S FUCKING DEAD.
Though really, it doesn’t change anything. Sure, the manhunt’s finally over, but does that mean terrorism based on extremist religious ideology will stop? Absolutely not. And that won’t change until religious schools and terrorist leaders teaching and preaching extremist interpretations of the Koran are stopped. And change can only come from within. The Middle East will have to save itself and change itself from the inside before anybody else can step in, just like we saw with the Arab Spring last year. The Western world can continue to berate them for their numerous human rights violations and harbouring of terrorist groups, but until someone, somewhere in the Middle East starts a revolution, there is nothing anybody else can do.
Wow, I kinda went off-topic there. But whatever, now you know what I think about conspiracy theories regarding Osama’s death, terrorism and the Middle East. Sorta.