The popularity of all things SEAL Team Six-related couldn't be more fitting. The success of the eponymous book by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin and the fitting solemnity over the death of 22 of the team's members last month came quick on the heels of Team Six's termination of the wretched life of Osama bin Laden.
While we sleep, the SEALs are staring death in the face and doing the dirty work that saves American lives. And despite the recent attention, little is still understood about these commandos. Perhaps the most enlightening information followed the bin Laden kill: "This was one of almost two thousand missions that have been conducted over the last couple of years, night after night." Reread that sentence and consider just how awe-inspiring it is.
This remark came from the ubiquitous unnamed Defense Department official representing the administration in a widely-discussed New Yorker article written by Nicholas Schmidle entitled "Getting Bin Laden." Schmidle's piece, which provides a moment-by-moment account of the raid on the compound in Abbottamad, has come under fire for what appears to be interviews he conducted but, in fact, apparently did not.
What struck me about the article, though, had less to do with Scmidle's journalistic integrity than it did with a passage near the end of the piece related to the actions of President Obama's counterterrorism advisor John Brennan. Brennan, with whom Schmidle did apparently speak, reportedly called a Saudi intelligence official to get his permission before throwing bin Laden's body off of the USS Carl Vinson.
As Brennan knew, bin Laden's relatives were still a prominent family in the Kingdom, and Osama had once been a Saudi citizen. Did the Saudi government have any interest in taking the body? "Your plan sounds like a good one," the Saudi replied.
Let me get this straight: after nearly 10 years of hunting for a man ultimately responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent Americans (and others, as we are continuously reminded) on 9/11, not to mention the attack on the USS Cole and the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, we finally exacted our revenge, and before dumping his corpse overboard the administration sought acquiescence from the Saudis? Can this possibly be true?
It seems it is. Perhaps the Obama administration's counterterrorism team should be given copies of The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robby Swan. The book makes the case that the Saudi government had been paying al Qaeda millions of dollars in protection money, and reveals intriguing allegations of Saudi Arabian financing for the 9/11 hijacking operation (carried out by 19 men, of whom 15 were Saudis). That offer of reverence to the Saudis was a far cry from the way thousands of Americans were slaughtered, and contrary to our sovereign right to defend ourselves.