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The Raid

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Latest account of the raid on Bin Laden is a good read.   Two thoughts:

  • While it’s best to view any account of a raid like this with skepticism, I grow weary of “they changed their story AGAIN” headlines.  There can be no single story of an event like the Bin Laden raid, because all of the actors have different perspectives and different interests.  These differences can make certain factual claims seem plausible and others not so much.  Indeed, I’d be more concerned about veracity if the administration had put forth one coherent story from the beginning and then stuck to it.  Operators and decision-makers will undoubtedly be arguing about the details for the next thirty years…
  • Those of us who remember Eagle Claw (and I do, believe it or not), can appreciate how wrong this raid could have gone.  If the helicopter had gone down badly, a dozen SEALs might have been killed.  Bin Laden might not have been present at the compound, civilians might have been killed in the process, Pakistan might have intervened, etc. The raid was extremely dangerous in both an operational and a political sense. It is entirely reasonable to praise both the expertise, capability, and courage of the SEALs, and the willingness of the administration to take a huge diplomatic and political risk.
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