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SEAL Target Geronimo
The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama Bin Laden
Chuck Pfarrer

St. Martin's Press
November 8, 2011 / ISBN: 978-1250006356
Military/History/Espionage & Intelligence

Reviewed by Dennis Collins

This story begins with the Navy SEALs; their history and their standards. The author, a former SEALtakes the reader through the training regimen showing just how grueling it can be. The physical and psychological stamina required to become a Navy SEAL are nothing short of superhuman. Once a SEAL makes the grade he can be regarded as one of the most effective military weapons in the world. He is trained to operate under any imaginable conditions and how to use any and all tools at his disposal. They claim that there is no place on earth where you can hide from a Navy SEAL.

Then the author shifts his focus to Osama Bin Laden, the men who shaped him, and the evolution of his cause. Bin Laden was not raised to be an extremist. He was the son of riches, and growing up he enjoyed all of the pleasures that unlimited money could bring, jetting around the world and living like a billionaire playboy. But as he grew and attended college, he began to study Islam under the tutelage of a radical teacher. He fell farther and farther into the hate-filled cult. He eventually joined the cause -- fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. In the beginning he wasn't a very good soldier and continually embarrassed himself in combat. Eventually, though he won a significant battle and gained the respect of his peers. But it was mainly his money that sustained him and gave him stature.

When U.S. intelligence finally pinpointed Bin Laden's whereabouts, the task of smoking him out fell to SEAL Team Six. They were prepared. Now the center of attention moves to the actual raid and the strategy that was required to sneak into "friendly" Pakistan without their knowledge and take down the number one terrorist in the world. The author describes the raid in vivid detail and rapid-fire dialogue. It's an extremely exciting story and told with military precision.

This book, however, is harshly criticized by the Pentagon and the White House. That shouldn't surprise anyone, given the sensitive nature of the operation. The author is somewhat critical of the political intervention. He claims to be speaking on behalf of the SEALs who aren't permitted to second-guess their superiors. I'm sure that the government has some valid points and concerns, but I doubt that the entire truth will be known until 50 years from now when the papers are declassified. But for now, it's the best story we've got and it's a really good one.

Reviewer & Columnist Dennis Collins is the author of Turn Left at September, The Unreal McCoy, and The First Domino
Reviewed 2012
© 2012