Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Men Who Killed Bin-Laden: Time to Honor Our Heroes

On May 2nd, 2011, (May 1st in the USA) members of the elite SEAL Team 6, a highly trained and experienced counter-terrorism special operations group, with intelligence support from the CIA, executed a daring, and surgical operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that brought an end to the hypocritical, vulgar life of the psychotic thug Osama Bin Laden.

Abbottabad is a pleasant town, or hill station, named for a British Major James Abbott, that lies between the mountains and Rawalpindi, a garrison town for the Pakistani Army and, until 2003, the home of the infamous Khalid Sheik Muhammed.

It remains unclear what support Bin Laden was receiving from officials in Pakistan, however, while it would have been foolish for man with a $25 Million bounty on his head to trust anyone in the government of a country that had “helped” bring some of his “friends” to justice, we must not overlook the fact that a 6 foot 4inch irrational theocrat was living in a mansion, with no telephone or internet connection, just down the road from the Pakistan Military Academy. Time will tell whether the messiah complex gripped son of a Saudi billionaire was either lucky or was simply the highest bidder and, therefore, a guest of the Pakistan military and intelligence brass.

Since the death of Bin Laden, many, especially those who have never served in any armed forces or for any intelligence agency, have sought to heap praise or cast criticism, in equal measure, on President Obama; I believe he deserves praise. Regardless of political ideology, everyone must concede that it took courage to order an operation on the territory of a foreign, nuclear armed nation, ostensibly without the knowledge of that nation’s government. It would have been far too easy to drop a bomb or launch a missile risking no U.S. lives. Had that been done, however, there would have been significant risk to the nearby civilian population and no body left on which to perform facial recognition or DNA testing.

That being said, the highest praise must, and rightly should, be saved for those brave members of the armed forces and intelligence community who executed this mission with extreme professionalism and great personal courage.

There are several groups who deserve recognition. Firstly, the intelligence operatives who obtained, developed and verified the probable whereabouts of Bin Laden. Up to the last moment, I am sure, they were checking and re-checking their sources and assets. Utilizing advanced (rather than enhanced) interview, interrogation and analysis skills they would have to have determined whether they were certain enough to recommend an action, through channels, to the Commander-in-Chief. Had they been wrong, not only would the intelligence community, again, have been the scapegoat for angry politicians, but also lives of service personnel and civilians would have been put at risk based on “bad intelligence”.

Next, we must recognize the artful work of the pilots who brought in the SEALs. They utilized their intensive training and state of the art technology while flying, likely using visual reference while they engaged in nap of the earth flight. They did not know what to expect by way of air defenses, nor did they know what, if any, arms may be used against them when they arrived at the Abbottabad “mansion”.

Greatest credit, and our gratitude, must go to the members of SEAL Team 6, also known as the US Naval Special Warfare Development Group, involved in this daring mission. They should, in my opinion, receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions. This is not hyperbole, they deserve it. They embarked on a flight into Pakistan knowing, as they did so, that Pakistani air defenses might well kill them on the way in, that members of al-Qaeda could open fire on them with any array of weapons, or engage in a suicidal attack on them in the compound or that Pakistani forces and air defenses could kill them on the way out.

Another reason why all of these brave individuals should be honored by us is that from now forward their lives, and the lives of their families, will forever be at risk should any of their identities ever become known. Should some charlatan like Julian Assange wish to pump their own ego by finding and releasing the names of those involved they will become marked men, and women forever. All those involved, I am sure, knew this was a risk they took as they embarked on their missions, yet they chose to put their lives at risk and serve their nation anyway. That is bravery!

Finally, I must add that there has also been much debate over whether pictures of a dead Bin Laden should be released in the press. They should not. We must listen to the advice of those who work in the intelligence and defense fields. While many, who have no concept of counter-terror, adorn their Facebook pages and write “letters to the editor” of their local rag with jingoistic quotes and demands for pictures, they should realize that releasing them would serve no purpose. It may inflame different groups around the world and provide a rallying symbol for those waiting in wings to take over the position of Bin Laden. While many, those who are often willing to seek wars as long as others do the fighting, may say they do not care about causing offense, those with some knowledge of the dynamics of terrorism know that publishing them would be a mistake.

So, we must give credit where credit is truly due and should call on the government to award the highest military honor to those who did their duty and brought justice to the victims of 9-11 while remembering that this fight is far from over. There are plenty of “Fuhrer” complex riddled individuals already jockeying for position. We must remain ever vigilant and be proud of those who protect us.

27 comments:

  1. This is great! I wholeheartedly agree with everything that you've stated. Also, thank you for posting this. Most of what you've written, I didn't even know until I read all of this.

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  2. Bravo, Peter!

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  3. Thank you, Mr. Romary, for a very well thought out and insightful post that reflects what many of us feel. From the tenor of your writing you seem to have a deeper insight into this field than most. But I will leave it there and just thank you!

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  4. You and your CIA friends caused this mess to begin with.

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  5. I have no idea where you get all your information but this is an amazing article and I have not seen much of this anywhere else. Thank you for your support of our troops and the outstanding men of ST-6 and the Agency men and women and contractors who serve with honor.

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  6. Outstanding! Very well written and very informative. These brave warriors make me proud and i agree, time for CMH for all who stormed the compound!

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  7. Mr. Romary, after reading this I get the impression your bio has left some things out regarding your past and your experiences. Well written piece, sir.

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  8. I am very concerned with the rush to rejoice over the death of this monster. We should be different from him and his kind, that is and should be what makes our society worth protecting. I am also concerned that most of those who write the testosterone filled facebook posts and letters have never seen war and many have never served. It is different when you have seen this up close. Thank you then for your reasoned and well written analysis.

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  9. Up front I will say that I did not support Obama or vote for him but I give him props on this and bigger props to the SEALS who got the business done!!!!!

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  10. Very well stated, Mr. Romary. I especially appreciate your comments about neither releasing photos of Bin Laden nor releasing the names of the men and women who successfully completed this mission. I always appreciate the insightfulness of your blogs.

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  11. Nicely written, great thoughts and information. Sounds like you have some true life experience somewhere!?!

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  12. The Unknown StuntmenMay 4, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Excellent post, Peter, proud to know you!

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  13. Written by the man who brings his friend the CIA counter terror chief to speak!!! Can you smell bias???

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  14. I think this article is fantastic. Nicely written and says what many of us want to say, thank you!

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  15. Fascinating article. I attended the training that you and your former CIA colleagues from Qverity provided on detection of deception and interviewing and it was the best training I have ever attended. My hat is off to any and all who serve our great nation and I completely agree with your sentiments. Thank you!

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  16. Peter, this is so well stated. It was truly a pleasure to read. Always have, and will, respect your advice and opinion.

    Best,
    Justin Davis

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  17. Some might think this shows bias in favour of your "friend the CIA counter terror chief" (was he the only speaker at the recent Symposium? I don't think so!) but I know you would be equally fervent in your argument did you not agree with the actions taken. This is a carefully researched, well-reasoned article which shows pride in your adopted nation and I am very proud of you for that.

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  18. Benjamin Ferencz, an American lawyer who was a US prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials and who lives in New York state, asked whether the killing was justifiable self-defence or premeditated illegal assassination. He would have preferred for Bin Laden to have been captured and put on trial.

    Ferencz, 92, said: "The picture I get is that a bunch of highly trained, heavily armed soldiers find an old guy in pyjamas and shoot him in the chest and head, and that borders, without access to more facts, on murder." He added: "Even [the head of the Luftwaffe Hermann] Göring had a right to trial."

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  19. Benjamin Ferencz worked in a time when armies fought each other rather than hit and run terrorists who have sworn "you will never take me alive".

    He is also the man who said: "I once saw DPs beat an SS man and then strap him to the steel gurney of a crematorium. They slid him in the oven, turned on the heat and took him back out. Beat him again, and put him back in until he was burnt alive. I did nothing to stop it. I suppose I could have brandished my weapon or shot in the air, but I was not inclined to do so." and

    "You know how I got witness statements?" "I'd go into a village where, say, an American pilot had parachuted and been beaten to death and line everyone one up against the wall. Then I'd say, 'Anyone who lies will be shot on the spot.' It never occurred to me that statements taken under duress would be invalid.

    Any further release or inquiry into operational details could well compromise the identities of those involved. Ferencz knows that and is just seeking attention while ignoring his own past!

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  20. If you're not already on the CIA / DoD payroll you should be. The man should have been taken alive and made to stand trial. Eloquent writing cannot mask the fact that justice has been bypassed.

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  21. I took Professor Romary's course to learn about protective intelligence and he really knows his stuff. This is a great piece and makes a lot of sense, I have no idea why people are on here bashing him, you should read and listen and maybe you will learn!

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  22. FANTASTIC!! Great information that I have not seen anywhere else and great analysis that must be based in experience somewhere. I have sent to some military friends. You honor them!

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  23. Excellent Read, Peter... Thank you!!

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  24. Maybe it wasn't really him.

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  25. @ Anonymous: People like you are dangerous and display extreme ignorance.

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  26. Pure PropagandaMay 5, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Sorry this is pure propaganda you are servant to you government and bow to them bidding.

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  27. You are a peice of sh*t apologist for an illegal war! This was terror act itself!

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