Unless you’ve been living in a sealed cottage cheese container at the South Pole you’ve already heard that US Navy SEAL Team Six raided a three-story home in a walled compound in a densely populated area of the Pakistani city of Abbotobad and shot Osama Bin Laden in the head.
Yes sir. I’ll say that again. They shot OBL in the head. There is no coming back from that.
Shortly after they shot him they provided a burial at sea, by which I mean they dumped him in the ocean inside a bag of rocks. Last week, he was the most wanted terrorist in the world. This week, he’s a seriously malfunctioning submarine.
The night the news dropped that US forces had killed OBL was filled with tons of anticipation and angst but very little in the way of information. For the first hour or so, all we knew was that the President was going to make an important announcement. That was a bit ominous. Just, “the President is about to tell the nation something important” and then nothing for an hour. Everybody in the house had a theory and I promise you that “we’ve killed Osama Bin Laden” was not in the top ten. Besides, everybody knows from the movies that when a black president comes on the TV to tell the nation something in the middle of the night that: A) a giant meteor is about to wipe out life on Earth or B) aliens are going to wipe out life on Earth or C) and accidental release of Defense Department war goop is going to wipe out life on Earth. Whatever it is, it isn’t going to be good. It isn’t going to be something we want. It isn’t going to be the kind of thing where people spontaneously start dancing in the street, chanting USA! USA! USA!
But, of course, it was. It was exactly that kind of thing.
The president was supposed to come on at the top of the hour and then that passed. And then it was going to be at the bottom of the hour and then at a quarter to and then finally again at the top of the hour. For the first 45 minutes of waiting, the network newsies talked and talked. They spewed a few minutes of nothing and then handed off to another newsie who spewed another few minutes of nothing and he then handed it back. They vamped for 45 full minutes with nothing, zero. The only facts they had were that the President had requested the time, he was supposed to start at such and such time and that has now been pushed. They filled time like the pros they were. The way those folks can fill up the air time with nothing is truly impressive and stands as a testament to the full flowering of the 24 hour cable news evolution.
But even they had to, at some point, start to tell us what they knew was coming. Somehow, info had leaked to them and they had begun busily dialing every government source they could to try to confirm to the satisfaction of the editorial bosses what they were dying to tell us. Oh yes, the news was good, we’d want to hear it but we have to confirm it before we can tell you. They were almost giddy in that they knew but couldn’t say. Then, in a flooding rush, there must have been sufficient corroboration for everybody to start blurting whole big gobs of it. Its military slash political slash terror related. Then, it’s about Bin Laden. And finally, they leaked the whole thing. By the time the president made his statement, every news anchor had already done so and had been doing so for the previous 10 minutes..
The President finally came on and told us the story. The story he told us was mostly true. The essential info was spot on but parts were hyperbole or hopefulness. Our guys had heloed in, assaulted a ”3 story, million dollar mansion” engaged in a 40 minute firefight, killed 4 people including Bin Laden, had no injuries to our people, we lost a helicopter because of a malfunction of some kind that resulted in the team blowing up the helicopter to keep secret stuff secret.
We came to find out later from other sources that President Obama and a roomful of military and state department heads had watched in real-time, transmitted from the helmet cams of the assault team. They flew 40 minutes into Pakistan from the border at 180 knots per hour in the New Blackhawk stealth variant that they’ve been using for a couple of years now (but since we haven’t lost one, we never had to tell anybody that we had them.) Our neighborhood dogs bark like the world is ending when a couple of teenagers walk down the alley smoking cigarettes. Imagine the dog noise when Blackhawk helicopters (even stealthy ones) the size of city buses swoop in and start unloading Navy SEALs.
The President and his team watched as the SEALs got off the helos, engaged (killed) the currier and his wife when they came out of the back of the house with small arms (pistols), and then cleared the house room by room moving to the top where they found and killed Bin Laden. They shot him in the head and in the chest. He was in his night-clothes and his youngest wife was with him. He offered no resistance thinking we were there to arrest him. Silly boy. The young wife threw herself at the SEALS and they shot her in the leg to stop her without killing her. (These guys can hit whatever they are aiming at without even thinking. They shot her in the leg to save her life.) It turns out that the “firefight” and the clearing of the house took a few minutes, not 40. Not many shots were fired. Our guys are really good at this. I would be especially surprised if any round left a SEAL weapon that didn’t hit a person exactly at the aim point. The majority of the time on the ground was spent collecting computers, notebooks, maps, video tapes, DVDs and other materials.
Turns out from the tapes that we got from the compound that he was a creepy old decrepid guy, wrapped in a blanket cause he’s too cheap to turn up the heat, sitting on the floor in a small room with really shitty furniture watching a crappy TV showing video of himself. He died his beard and hair black to appear more virile on his “public” videos and he had some weird kind of syrup locally believed to help with erectile problems. He was 56 years old, had several wives the youngest of whom was 13 years old when he married her. He was a wacky old perv living in a compound with a bunch of women and kids. The only difference between him and David Koresh was that Koresh hadn’t been able to talk people into blowing up innocent strangers using jet airplanes yet.
It is important to note that even though I say Seal Team Six here like there’s been some sort of public announcement that says, yep, that was them, Seal Team Six, doesn’t exist. Not really. Their operational name is The Navy Special Warfare Development Group or DevGru. They are Seals, but separate from Seals. They are extremely elite SEALs. They are a counter terrorist strike teams. They were formed to test American security a long time ago, but they been doing anti terror for a long time. They dress like normal folks. They have, in some cases, long hair and or beards. They wear civies. They blend in and speak languages. They are Ninjas. They are the baddest of all the ninjas. Truly we have badass ninjas, oh yes we do. But how they walk so quietly with those big brass balls is an enduring mystery. But everybody calls them Seal Team Six and a few days after the action, somebody in the SEALs got a visit from the President in a closed room on a naval base and got Unit and Personal citations (medals) for what they didn’t do while not existing.
For most of the night the Pakistani government claimed to have had boots on the ground during the operation. My first thought on that was, “What side were they on?” But as it turns out, they were not there at all. Oddly enough, our guys didn’t think Pakistan could be trusted with the information. 20 times out of 20 in the past, joint operations to get one high value target or another went tits up because we shared information with the Pakis. They have zero operational security and we don’t trust them. So why do we keep giving them a couple billion dollars a year?
The twitterverse went nuts. The most common retweet: Knock Knock, Who’s there? Not Osama Bin Laden because he’s dead.” Later in the night that became, “Knock Knock, Who’s there? Seal Team Six. Seal Team Six who BOOM!”
You know what the twitterverse knows; What Facebook knows; what the internet has now told everybody with electricity…?
They all know that we have really bad ass ninjas. Oh yes we do. Yes we do.