Review of No Easy day
The book No Easy Day coauthored by Mark Owen, Kevin Maurer and Holter Graham is a military description of how US Seal Team carried out one of the most famous special forces operations in history. The book is significant in debunking some of the myths that surrounds the raid; it gives a fascinating insight into the thirty-eight minute mission. The seals were not wearing any camera when they went in for the operation and hence it is easy to get obsessed with the detailed aspects of the operation. The book is the only account that has been published of the mission. A man who was part of the seal team that executed the highly secretive mission authored it.
In regard to the heroism and the bravery of the seals, rich examples have been provided. The author has spent the first chapters of the book explaining the work of the U.S Navy seals; he uses some of the examples from missions that took place in both Iraq and Afghanistan and the mission that rescued Captain Richards Phillips from the Somali pirates who had kidnapped him from the Maersk Alabama. The author of the book was a backup for the seals who rescued the ship’s captain (Owen, Maurer and Graham 13). The Navy seals shot three pirates and took the other one prisoner as they freed Phillips. The author contends that it felt good saving a life instead of taking guys out, he complains of the delay from the Washington side to make calls to rescue Captain Phillips (Owen, Maurer and Graham 17). This is significant and has helped many people to understand just how slow the decision making process is. In the book, it is point clear that Owen considers himself as a perfectionist and the idea that there was luck involved in the operations is something that he is not comfortable with. The writing in the book is very sparse and is inclusive of a huge list of equipment and Barrack room language, however, in the detail of the preparation and raid on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound, the book is brought on its own.
This book helps to confirm much of the government story about the death of Bin Laden. When the body of Bin Laden was dumped in the Indian ocean, many conspiracy theories emerged, many people claimed that the leader of the Al-Qaida had died years earlier before the raid, others claimed that Bin Laden death was a propaganda used by the American government and that Bin Laden was still alive. Americans were not able to hear the testimonies of the eyewitnesses, apart from that one given by the Bin Laden’s widow (Owen, Maurer and Graham 34). Eyewitness testimony is one of the most power full evidence that one can give. The book has not quelled the skepticism of conspiracy theorists, however, it has provided very powerful eyewitness evidence that the story by the government is essentially true apart from some minor details that differ from the version that was provided by the Pentagon.
With the Obama administration coming into power, the author brings in the issue of bureaucracy in getting the military assaults approved in Afghanistan and Iraq, he explains that with every rotation, there were limitations and restrictions. It took many pages of Power Point slides to have missions approved. Lawyers and staff officials pored over details on every page, to make sure that plans were acceptable to the Afghan government. In the last deployment that the author went to, they were required to call out the authors, after they surrounded a building an interpreter had to use a bullhorn to yell for the fighters to come out of the building. This was similar to what the police in the United States did, according to the author, acting like the police was in bad form (Owen, Maurer and Graham 56). The government was too slow to call for lethal military aids. Local and Afghan governments often let the prisoners escape. The author contends that in some cases, the arrested the same guy many times. These sentiments are understandable as the US was trying to eradicate the primary Al-Qaida staging ground for the September 11 attacks in Afghanistan. In Iraq, the United States was the aggressor and the foreign invader in a nation that did not have any Al-Qaida elements.
The author does not indicate anywhere in his book, that his combat role was that of the military aggressor when the focus turned to Iraq. He contends that he spent half of his time in Iraq, a country that did not have any links with the Al-Qaida. From the book, it is evident that a military and populace that have no intention of questioning orders is what Washington wants (Johnson and Ingersol par 2). The author seems to be smart and could have helped in the management of the war machines; however, the book does not indicate any of this. If there was a dissension in the ranks of the seals about invading Iraq or transformation of the Afghan mission from one of stopping attacks in the US, in one of policing the streets, the author has not brought them up in this book. The book has many general platitudes concerning how the US soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan did not die in vain.
The author’s exhibits a striking lack of concern for his enemies; his view is positively humanitarian, compared to the civilians who give the orders. When he talks with Jen one of the CIA operatives , Jen supports drone strike against the Bill Laden compound, even though it is quite clear that the collateral damage would involve children and women in the compound, Jen tells the authors that she rather, push the easy button and bomb it. Owen notes that this is the attitude that is in the joint special operations command. Zeal for close quarters and the need for real evidence that the U.S killed Bin Laden, prevented the use of the easy button. Despite the strict rules of engagement in combat troop deployment, the Obama administration has used the easy button many times in military operations and this has resulted in many casualties (Johnson and Ingersol par 4).
The Obama administration seems to have followed the proper just war policies in Bin Laden’s raid. The author notes of the preparation for the raid, he takes the pain to credit for the raid. As he explains, the mission was a team effort, the people who are absent are the politicians in Washington in particular the Obama administration. Despite the fact that the author has taken pains to deny that his book is not an attack on politicians and political parties, some people conclude that the book was intended as a slight against Obama.
The book has received notoriety from the pentagon criticism. According to the Pentagon Spokesman, the book in serious breach of the U.S secrecy agreements. One of the primary beefs that the pentagon has with the book is the fact that it was not submitted to the military for editing. The author claims that he has changed names, tactics, techniques and procedures used to protect identities and security. The author captures the leadership of the Al-Qaida by the fact that the leader of the group was not willing to fight. It is the young and the impressionable who strap explosive and blow themselves up, there is no honor in sending people to die for things that you cannot fight. This can be said of American leaders and the people sent to fight and die in avoidable wars such as the Iraqi invasion.
Johnson, Robert and Geoffrey Ingersol. “25 things we learned from seal book no easy day.” 6 9 2012. 5 5 2015 <http://www.businessinsider.com/highlights-of-no-easy-day-by-mark-owen-aka-matt-bissonnette-2012-9?op=1>.
Owen, Mark, Kevin Maurer and Holter Graham. No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden. New York: Penguin Publishers, 2012.