When it comes to superhuman feats, though, many Americans let the military do our talking. The politicians are just along for the ride and photo ops.
The special ops, on the other hand, come special delivery from elite units that keep us safe in ways we’ll never know. Such is the case with the hunt to eliminate the mass murderer, Osama bin Laden.
Meet SEAL Team 6.
New York Times’ bestselling author John Weisman has crafted a thriller about the operation that led to bin Laden’s demise. Based on insider knowledge of how special ops work, Weisman has produced “KBL: Kill Bin Laden,” a novel based on true events. Reading it, you’ll feel like you are in a Bond film.
According to The Washington Times, Weisman is “perhaps wired more tightly into the reclusive special operations community than any other.” After reading “KBL: Kill Bin Laden,” I believe it.
Weisman has a fascinating answer as to why this story had to be told in novel form:
“The people who put Neptune Spear together and carried it out aren’t talking, and won’t be, for some time. And all the factual accounts so far have been colored by who sourced them. There’s a lot of political spin about Neptune Spear: The White House has its own version; so do the operators and so does the CIA. There were so many contradictory accounts that after talking to sources in the military, the intelligence community and political operatives, I decided that the best way to go was fiction. The gist of what they all told me was that I’d get closer to the truth by doing fiction – and equally important, get a lot more help that way.”
Weisman’s deep contacts within the intelligence community and his great writing style (as seen in the “Rogue Warrior” series with Richard Marcinko) give us this gem, perhaps the most complete version of what really happened in that Pakistani village.
He also gives insights into how the U.S. managed to divert Pakistani attention during the raid and also what happened when bin Laden’s body was brought to the U.S.S. Vinson.
One gets a real sense of what a wild ride “KBL” will be with the opening lines:”The retired Airborne Ranger stepped up to the body bag on the plowed wheat field just as two young SEALs were about to load it into the big enabler helo. He put his arm up like a traffic cop and shouted over the whine of the big twin idling Lycoming jet engines, ‘Hey, dude, lemme see him quick.’”
“Him,” of course, is bin Laden, the al-Qaeda terror master who bedeviled the intelligence community for a decade before hard intelligence gave the U.S. high command the intel needed to pull the trigger, literally, on an operation to kill him.
Weisman takes the reader on a trip that makes one feel he is actually “boots on the ground.” For those who are squeamish, don’t read the next few words, but Weisman’s description of the state of bin Laden’s body after the SEAL hit differs from the official version: one round to the head, one round to the body. Uh, our boys made sure bin Laden stayed dead.
In a sense, “KBL” is much like the old “Why We Fight” films, reminding Americans not only what is at stake, but what our military men and women go through to make sure we sleep safe in our beds.
We also get a sense of the distorted view of Americans that even our erstwhile “friends” have: “The news spread through Pakistan like a wildfire. All about the nest of spies at the American Consulate in Lahore and the CIA cockroach who had killed two innocent Pakistanis out of pure racist spite. And the three other American dung beetles who had killed a third brother – run him down in cold blood – as they raced in their Land Cruiser Prado to the scene to rescue the first cockroach.”
You get the picture. So Weisman succeeds not only in giving an accurate picture of the bin Laden kill, but also in framing the broader terror war. His gift for storytelling and painting both big picture and detail are the hallmarks of an amazing writer.
“KBL” is much more than a tense account of those few minutes in Pakistan. It’s also about what Weisman calls those “political tussles,” the year-long CIA operation to gather intelligence, and the internals that went on behind closed political doors.
This is a tour de force. If you are a fan of action-packed novels, or know someone who is, do not hesitate to get your copy of “KBL.” You might even be tempted, like me, to read it twice!