|While the newsreels play out a perfect scenario of success, we sit back on our couches and pat each other on the backs for what “we” just did in Pakistan. We all have the images in our heads (myself included) that Navy SEALs are invincible; highly trained and disciplined young men and women that somehow through deification become invincible the second they pass BUD/S INDOC. Not to mention things like that if you fail the OC (obstacle course) twice you are out. Contrary to the “GI Jane” opinion, you don’t necessarily have to ring “the bell” yourself.|
|In truth it takes a SEAL 30 months of training before they are ready for deployment. The SEALs that emerge are ready to handle pretty much any task called on including diving, combat swimming, navigation, demolitions, weapons, and parachuting. The training pushes them to the limit both mentally and physically but that doesn’t make them invincible.|
|These young warriors aren’t anything like our wonderful Hollywood caricatures. A model SEAL is 5’10” and 175 pounds, about the only similarity to the Charlie Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, and Keifer Southerland avatars we watch boldly walking down mud streets or wading in rice patties, guns blazing, as the venerable enemy drops silently in droves at either side. Obviously these made up lipstick wearing Adonis’s wouldn’t last 5 seconds in an actual fire-fight, but that’s not the point.|
|As we sip our white wine with our fat asses on that couch, congratulating ourselves for a job well done (and for those of you who have been and done, this obviously does not apply to you) let us take pause to reflect upon just how “easy” it was to kill bin Laden. We get a picture of the Spec-Ops guys gearing up for the pre-op briefing, huddled around Dennis Haysbert and the rest of The Unit, casually leaving their all very attractive wives for another mysterious little “outing.” Every now and then one of them might be injured, but there is very seldom any wholesale gore, and it is very easy for them to “leave no man behind.” We also have a tendency to look at the statistics of that particular (bin Laden) mission and have it validate our Jack Bauer image of what Spec-Ops duty is like: build a practice scenario, shoot at some dummies, get briefed, get on a plane, get on a Blackhawk, insertion, recon, flash-bang, fire a few quick shots, egress, extraction, and appearance with the President.|
|I t would be fine if life were so simple.|
|We can all mouth the words “war is hell.” Very few of us can appreciate how true that is. Sure we’ve all seen Ben Hur , Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan but the familiarity of the stars, the surreal nature of the sets and the dislocation of the context makes it beyond our sensibilities to comprehend or relate to. It becomes as abstract as a computer game where the figures just disappear when you kill them or the car always returns to the track no matter how many times you crash. A more true representation of “war” can be found in BBC History of World War II if you have the time, and the stomach to sit through it. It would change your life.*|
|We have so much to be thankful for, and so much to regret. Joseph Schumpeter (economist) was correct in his publication of 1942 (Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy) in asserting that the success of capitalism will lead to a form of corporatism and a fostering of values hostile to capitalism, especially among intellectuals. The intellectual and social climate needed to allow entrepreneurship to thrive will not exist in advanced capitalism; it will be replaced by socialism in some form. (Does this sound like anything we have been hearing lately in political debate?)|
|The end result of this is that we Americans have spent beyond our means, that stockholder equity has dictated that we ship our jobs offshore, that our past industrial success has left us with an abnormal dependency on foreign oil, and that the greed, arrogance and ignorance of our people has left our country gasping and vulnerable. Can we get it back? Hell yes, but not without hard work and sacrifice. Corporate bail-outs and pork-barrel legislation should be punishable by death.|
|So we got ourselves in a bit of a jam. There are people out there that hate us: Shiites, Sunnis, Cripps, Bloods, you name it. In some part we have to be aware of the disparity that our opulence has caused, and the result of our largely Christian Evangelistic society and the push-back it can instigate. We have been fortunate and not always particularly diplomatic about it. We have all experienced the “Ugly American” at some point in our foreign travels, and I have had the good fortune to be able to travel extensively and hear what some extremely intelligent people actually think about us and our politics. Since that experience it has been a comfort to watch BBC News more often than FOX, if you know what I mean.|
|The “war” on terrorism didn’t start on September 11, 2001. It did not end on May 2, 2011. How ironic it would have been if they could have negotiated the operation one day earlier. “Bin Laden comes to infamy on 9/11 and is executed on May Day,”|
|* If you want just one example of what kind of hell a SEAL operation can actually endure I encourage you to read the story at the following link. It is not my liberty or bandwidth to articulate how many stories there are like this, or how many young heroes have given their lives in the service of their country, and the pursuit of this threat. Suffice it to say that the administrations statement of “no casualties” on this operation makes me sick. This was part of a huge global operation that eventually culminated in a victory. No victory for American service men and women comes cheap, nor should their sacrifices be overlooked. Hooyah!|
|Please note that they had it right, even then. This Op was in Asadabad, where we finally caught him. They opened the door. They did NOT die in vain.|
|This Op stared out with a crew of 4 SEALs. Take a look at how “Jack Bauer” this turned out:|
|11 Navy SEALs and 8 Army Task Force 160 aircrew died in the battle.|
|Marcus Luttrell, Matt Axelson, and Danny Dietz each received the Navy Cross, the second-highest decoration for valor in the military.|
|For his actions, Michael Murphy received the Medal of Honor on October 22, 2007.|
|The men who gave their lives on the helicopter are:|
|Staff Sgt. Shamus Goare, 29, Danville, Ohio.|
|Chief Warrant Officer Corey Goodnature, 35, Clarks Grove, Minn.|
|Sgt. Kip Jacoby, 21, Pompano Beach, Fla.|
|Sgt. 1st Class Marcus Muralles, 33, Shelbyville, Ind.|
|Major Stephen Reich, 34, Washington Depot, Conn.|
|Sgt. 1st Class Michael Russell, 31, Stafford, Va.|
|Chief Warrant Officer Chris Scherkenbach, 40, Jacksonville, Fla..|
|Master Sgt, James Ponder III, 36, Franklin, Tenn.|
|Chief Petty Officer Jacques Fontan, 36, New Orleans, La.|
|Lt. Cmdr. Erik Ristensen, 33, San Diego, Calif.|
|Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Lucas, 33, Corbett, Ore.|
|Lt. Michael McGreevy, Jr., 30, Portville, N.Y..|
|Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery Taylor, 30, Midway, W. Va.|
|Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Healy, 36, Exeter, N.H.|
|Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh, 28, Deerfield Beach, Fla.|
|Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Patton, 22, Boulder City, Nev.|
Category Archives: Tent
WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden, the glowering mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that murdered thousands of Americans, was killed in an operation led by the United States, President Barack Obama said Sunday.
“Justice has been done,” said the president in a dramatic late-night announcement at the White House.
A small team of Americans killed bin Laden in a firefight Sunday at a compound in Pakistan, the president said, and took custody of his remains. Americaj officials said they were being handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.
A jubilant crowd gathered outside the White House as word spread of bin Laden’s death after a global manhunt that lasted nearly a decade.
Former President George W. Bush, who was in office on the day of the attacks, issued a written statement hailing bin Laden’s death as a momentous achievement. “The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” he said.
Obama said he ordered the operation after receiving undisclosed intelligence information. Senior administration officials said the terrorist mastermind was found inside a custom-built compound with two security gates. They said it appeared to have been constructed to harbor one high-value target and that for undisclosed reasons, officials became clear the hideout was bin Laden’s.
Officials also said they believe the death puts al-Qaida on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse, but there was no word on the whereabouts of bin Laden’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri.
The stunning end to the world’s most widely-watched manhunt came just months before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon, orchestrated by bin Laden’s al-Qaida organization, that killed more than 3,000 people.
The attacks a decade ago seemed to come out of nowhere, even though al-Qaida had previously damaged American targets overseas.
The terrorists hijacked planes, flew one of them into one of Manhattan’s Twin Towers — and, moments later, into the other one. Both buildings collapsed, trapping thousands inside and claiming the lives of firefighters and others who had rushed to help them.
A third plane slammed into the Pentagon, defacing the symbol of America’s military night. A fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the hijackers and forced the craft from the air — before it could hit its intended target in Washington.
The attacks set off a chain of events that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and America’s entire intelligence apparatus was overhauled to counter the threat of more terror attacks at home.
A senior administration official says Obama gave the final order for U.S. officials to go after bin Laden on Friday. The official added that a small team found their quarry hiding in a large home in an affluent suburb of Islamabad. The raid occurred in the early morning hours Sunday.
Administration officials offered some details of the operation.
Based on statements given by U.S. detainees, intelligence officials have known for years that bin Laden trusted one al-Qaida courier in particular and they believed he might be living with him in hiding. In November, intelligence officials found out where he was living, a huge fortified compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad. It was surrounded by walls as high as 18 feet high, topped with barbed wire. There were two security gates and no phone or Internet running into the house.
Intelligence officials believed the $1 million home was custom-built to harbor a major terrorist. CIA experts analyzed whether it could be anyone else, but time and again, they decided it was almost certainly bin Laden.
Three adult males were also killed in Sunday’s raid, including one of bin Laden’s sons, whom officials did not name. One of bin Laden’s sons, Hamza, is a senior member of al-Qaida.
Obama spoke with Bush and former President Bill Clinton Sunday night to inform them of the developments.
Obama struck a less than boastful tone in his brief announcement, although he said the death of bin Laden was “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaida.
“His death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant,” he added.
Moments after he spoke, American officials cautioned that the events could lead to heightened threats against the United States.
Officials said the U.S. would ensure that bin Laden’s body was handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.
I have always been a California boy. I was born here, went to school here, worked here, and will most likely die here unless I am traveling at the time.
For some reason the women I have attracted have never been from California. My first two wives were from Michigan and my current (and last) was raised in Oregon/Washington. My sensibilities tend to gravitate towards football games, hot buttered rum drinks, and over-eating when the rains come. This is obviously not too healthy, but the “rainy days” are few and far enough between that the lifestyle never gets too sedentary. Of course ski trips and other “outward bound” trips break up the winter. My skiing career started when I was 5, walking up the hills and skiing down. The thing I never really embraced was the all day, grey day in March when there is no Football, Baseball is just in training, and BasetBall and Hockey are not my favorites.
The mother of my children, although we split up 7 years ago she is still a dear friend, was one of the Michi’ganders. She was born in Kalamazoo, which is a name I have always loved just for the sound of it. “Tippy-canoe-and-Kalamazoo-Too.”
We had kidz. We had great kidz; they were into everything. They attended Adalante Spanish immersion school, the both got their kiddy black belts in Okinawa Karate, they played some music, held interests in teaching and journalism, partied like their parents, loved and helped people like their pastors, and were generally just great kidz.
This happens to be a very rainy day. It somehow reminded me of some of the most wonderful things that my Michigan wife and I did with our Kidz.
There was an area down from where we lived in the hills, down by Middlefield “Little Mexico” where the fields were not as well grated, and there were big depressions in the turf, where huge lakes (at least 8”deep) would accumulate during a good rainfall. Kip (Mom) would dress the girls all up in their finest Muck-luk attire (boots, hoods, slickers, goggles, astro-hand-warmers, etc…) and we would head for the puddles. It didn’t matter if it was raining 1” an hour at the time. It also didn’t really matter how cold it was outside, but being California, it was usually still mid ‘60’s when we were out.
The real game plan was to totally drench everybody around you. It didn’t matter that it was cold and wet, the action of the competition and play was such that nobody was ever cold. There would be the unsuspecting girl (or Black Lab) standing way too close to a 6” puddle, and it was irresistible to jump in with both feet and splash the heck our of everything.. As the exhaustion became an aphrodisiac and the endorphins mixed with the lack of sensitivity to the cold, we became a bit bolder. What were at first “foot- stomps” denigrated into full body slams into the cold rainwater. When the splashes were insufficient, there was indeed (hate to say it as a dad) dunking involved. There were side splashes, back splashes, back lashes and amazing crashes. There were times we brought our bikes, walked with spikes, floated tikes, it was all good.
The inevitable end to the day was to throw all the clothes (down to the undies) into a huge garbage bag, pile into the Astro Van (the best family vehicle we were ever exposed to until my wife decided we needed a leather lined Tahoe that got half the mileage and cost twice as much) and as hypothermia was beginning to take control, rolled back into the driveway of our Upland home.
Decontamination was efficient, concise, and incredibly poorly received. Upon return home after this afternoon of excess mud and clayurnal bliss, the clean-up process at home was not popular. There was the garden hose for the bulk of the mud, then the total strip search on the porch for the remainder of the mud. Tubs were simultaneously run, and by the time the girls had recovered from the shock of the hoses and subsequent stripping, and were ready for the hot tub. Not like we had a “HotTub” but the tub in their bathroom was by then, pretty inviting,
An hour later, dressed in their “onesies” or whatever attire was appropriate for their age, we were all snuggled in front of the fireplace. We were always resplendent with the memories of the day, the wonderful feeling of having an athletic “outdoor” day, enjoying the contrasts in temperature, the sheer excitement of the splashing and wallowing, and sharing the “Aprè” experience with our family.
Every time I see a puddle on the side of the road, I have to drive through it or stomp on it.
I love you, my girls! Kayla, Kelsey, and Kippy