Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: No Easy Day

Early on in Matt Bissonnette's (nom de plume Mark Owen) recap of both his own life and the Special Ops mission that resulted in the death of UBL he states that he hopes the book will someday inspire another individual to dedicate his (or her I suppose) life to being one of the select few to be willing and able to go into harms way in order to do the dirty jobs that the real world requires but that few civilians give thought to.

At the very least he gives readers an excellent view into the life that is that of a Navy SEAL which should serve as both a goal and a warning to those who may want to take on a similar role.

The book moves along at an extremely rapid pace, written in plain spoken English and a straightforward timeline that traces Bissonnette from his Alaskan roots to his missions around the world.  The most revealing thing about the book is the casualness with which it states the operators would roll from one mission to the next here there and everywhere.  With each operator having participated in hundreds of missions and dispatched assumed scores of targets around the world, you get the feeling that SEAL teams are on the move and undertaking various tasks at nearly all times but rarely in the news.  How they keep their operations so quiet is what I came away wondering about the most.

Regardless, it is the story of the raid that killed UBL that most people will come here looking for.  Find it they will as it is laid out, if not in detail, with enough background and color to give you an idea its complexity and audacity.  Luck, you come to realize and as is noted by the author, plays a far larger role in events than most people care to admit.  Something like the pair of bolt cutters you have strapped to your back that keep a piece of shrapnel from cutting your neck open can mean the difference between life or death, success or failure.

UBL's final moments are an anti-climax to the whole book as there is no firefight, no suspense, no danger, no looking into a dying man's eyes, nothing that would even approximate drama.  UBL's underlings at least stood to fight.  UBL spent his last moments cowering with his wives, an AK and a pistol within reach, unused, trying to peak around a corner only to take a bullet to the skull, the shooter not knowing who he had killed at first.

Politics play a fortunately small role in the book and where they do appear only minimally disparage the Office of President and Vice President stating that none of the SEALS were fans of Obama and joking that they had just got him re-elected after killing UBL while complaining that the President never made good on his promise to share a beer with the SEAL team at the White House.  Small stuff but you get the feeling the SEALS don't like being used as political toys no matter what the party.

Not an in depth book regarding SEAL training or tactics or military procedure, No Easy Day is very worthy of your time if only so that one can learn the true details regarding the end of one of a figure who loomed so large over world machinations at the beginning of the 21st century.

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