(New Yorker) Nicholas Schmidle–Getting Bin Laden

On April 18th, the DEVGRU squad flew to Nevada for another week of rehearsals. The practice site was a large government-owned stretch of desert with an elevation equivalent to the area surrounding Abbottabad. An extant building served as bin Laden’s house. Aircrews plotted out a path that paralleled the flight from Jalalabad to Abbottabad. Each night after sundown, drills commenced. Twelve SEALs, including Mark, boarded helo one. Eleven SEALs, Ahmed, and Cairo boarded helo two. The pilots flew in the dark, arrived at the simulated compound, and settled into a hover while the SEALs fast-roped down. Not everyone on the team was accustomed to helicopter assaults. Ahmed had been pulled from a desk job for the mission and had never descended a fast rope. He quickly learned the technique.

The assault plan was now honed. Helo one was to hover over the yard, drop two fast ropes, and let all twelve SEALs slide down into the yard. Helo two would fly to the northeast corner of the compound and let out Ahmed, Cairo, and four SEALs, who would monitor the perimeter of the building. The copter would then hover over the house, and James and the remaining six SEALs would shimmy down to the roof. As long as everything was cordial, Ahmed would hold curious neighbors at bay. The SEALs and the dog could assist more aggressively, if needed. Then, if bin Laden was proving difficult to find, Cairo could be sent into the house to search for false walls or hidden doors. “This wasn’t a hard op,” the special-operations officer told me. “It would be like hitting a target in McLean”””the upscale Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.

This is not short but it is well worth the time. Read it all–KSH.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Science & Technology, Terrorism, The U.S. Government

10 comments on “(New Yorker) Nicholas Schmidle–Getting Bin Laden

  1. CBH says:

    Absolutely riveting. I found it interesting that VP Biden was fingering his rosary and planning to go to Mass. No further comment except that I hope he will go often enough to encounter some self knowledge.

  2. NoVA Scout says:

    I saw an interview with the author earlier in the week and made a note to get a copy of the New Yorker. You’ve saved me the trouble. It is indeed riveting, as No. 1, says, and reaffirms citizens’ confidence in the skill and valor of our uniformed services. I think it a very good thing that many of our future political leaders will come from this battle-hardened demographic of young adults who have served in these arduous theatres of operation: Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I did not find in the article the reference in the earlier comment about Biden’s need for acquiring self-knowledge through church attendance. Did I miss that? I don’t know the man, but, while he strikes me as a bit on the garrulous side, he never has come across as someone who lacks “self-knowledge”. There was no reference to this as having affected the Abbottabad operation, at least none that reached out and grabbed me as I read the article. Maybe I skimmed through parts a bit too quickly.

  3. Sarah says:

    RE: “I did not find in the article the reference in the earlier comment about Biden’s need for acquiring self-knowledge through church attendance. Did I miss that?”

    Oh how sad that NoVA Scout is so confused and lost! It is such a long-term trend for him.

    Keep reading, NoVA! I recommend that you re-read the article at least 19 times and you will eventually find CBH’s written-down hopes in that very article as he just expressed above in his comment.

    Keep trying, NoVA — just another 10 or 15 hours of reading that article and you’ll find CBH’s thoughts. I want to assure you of that. There is hope — if you just keep reading you’ll find what he said.



  4. Robert Lundy says:

    It was the right thing to do. Tom Wright is wrong.

  5. NoVA Scout says:

    It had not occurred to me that I was “confused and lost”, Sarah (although those conditions are not beyond my capabilities). I thought perhaps CBH had seen something that wasn’t there. The most I could find on the matter of the VP’s “self-knowledge” problem was that during the Abbottabad raid, he had recourse to his rosary and suggested to Admiral Mullen that they probably ought to attend Mass. If there’s more that emerges after nineteen readings, it’s probably too subtle for me in any event. Not enough time in the day, and all that. In any event, I thought the focus of the article (very well done, I might add) was elsewhere.

  6. CBH says:

    NoVa, sorry “Sarah” felt privileged to insult you. What I meant by reference to Mr. Biden was that most Roman Catholics in this administration are in trouble with their church leaders over their political positions, particularly abortion. As the lessons on Jonah pointed out, God does listen to sinners’ prayers (or not one of us could approach Him). However, attending Mass regularly when one is in conflict with the teachings of the Magisterium is dangerous to one’s soul. I wish our political leaders seemed more faithful more often.

  7. Formerly Marion R. says:

    [blockquote] [A]ttending Mass regularly when one is in conflict with the teachings of the Magisterium is dangerous to one’s soul. [/blockquote]

    CBH, do you really mean this? Are you Roman Catholic? Why don’t you draw any distinction between attending Mass and receiving the consecrated Host? The Magisterium, which you imply you so revere, certainly does.

    Are you one of those guys like [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Griffin#Francis_Griffin]Francis Griffin[/url], that’s [url=hthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Crap]more Catholic than the Pope[/url]?

    I’m not Roman Catholic, but they sure make a compelling case that Christ is present in the Eucharist. Wouldn’t you think Mass is exactly where a sinner should be?

  8. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    My godson did four tours in Iraq as SOF, plus a bunch of places he can’t talk about. My admiration for these men is immense because, like snipers, their actions minimise damage to innocent civilians.

  9. NoVA Scout says:

    Thank you, CBH.

    I see that your point is not related to the posted article, but another aspect of Mr. Biden about which you are concerned.

  10. MichaelA says:

    Awesome article, thank you Canon Harmon for linking to it.

    And what a difference fast roping has made!