Aug 6, 2011

Excellent Article: The taking of Osama Bin Laden

When James, the squadron commander, spoke, he started by citing all the forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan that had been named for SEALs killed in combat. “Everything we have done for the last ten years prepared us for this,” he told Obama. The President was “in awe of these guys,” Ben Rhodes, the deputy national-security adviser, who travelled with Obama, said. “It was an extraordinary base visit,” he added. “They knew he had staked his Presidency on this. He knew they staked their lives on it.”

As James talked about the raid, he mentioned Cairo’s role. “There was a dog?” Obama interrupted. James nodded and said that Cairo was in an adjoining room, muzzled, at the request of the Secret Service.

“I want to meet that dog,” Obama said.

“If you want to meet the dog, Mr. President, I advise you to bring treats,” James joked. Obama went over to pet Cairo, but the dog’s muzzle was left on.

Afterward, Obama and his advisers went into a second room, down the hall, where others involved in the raid—including logisticians, crew chiefs, and SEAL alternates—had assembled. Obama presented the team with a Presidential Unit Citation and said, “Our intelligence professionals did some amazing work. I had fifty-fifty confidence that bin Laden was there, but I had one-hundred-per-cent confidence in you guys. You are, literally, the finest small-fighting force that has ever existed in the world.” The raiding team then presented the President with an American flag that had been on board the rescue Chinook. Measuring three feet by five, the flag had been stretched, ironed, and framed. The SEALs and the pilots had signed it on the back; an inscription on the front read, “From the Joint Task Force Operation Neptune’s Spear, 01 May 2011: ‘For God and country. Geronimo.’ ” Obama promised to put the gift “somewhere private and meaningful to me.” Before the President returned to Washington, he posed for photographs with each team member and spoke with many of them, but he left one thing unsaid. He never asked who fired the kill shot, and the SEALs never volunteered to tell him.

The above is a very small sample of the excellent New Yorker Magazine article.  Click the link for the full nine pages, but be prepared to spend some time.  It is an excellent read.


  1. Good article, and good job, Go Navy, Go SEals!!!!

  2. I've read that this was an excellent article; I'll make sure I read it.

    This is especially poignant since some of the members of SEAL Team 6 were apparently among those killed in Afghanistan in the most recent attack. It doesn't look like any of those who participated in the operation to get bin Laden were on it, but other members of the team were.

  3. A very intense read. They walked a tightrope over a pit of flames to accomplish their task. Amazing courage and resilience, because they never got off track when things started to stray...

    ...and good on leadership for letting them go and not interfering... no one was worried about what if had they been wrong and they allowed the team to take the shot!


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