Recently when former US Navy SEAL member announced publication of his memoir about the life of SEAL members and the most important mission in recent decades written under the pseudonym “Mark Owen” everybody expected that would be a mind blowing story. Media, US government, and military officials jumped on and started going in details what could be in this book about the death of Osama Bin Laden and how the publication will impact a life of current SEAL members or will Owen face himself with legal troubles. I was interested so read this book just to see if there’s a real and factual differences between the facts presented in Peter L. Bergen recent book “Manhunt – Ten year search for Bin Laden” published earlier this year. Bergen who’s one of the rare foreign journalists who interviewed Bin Laden in a years leading to 9/11 and who had great access to all administrations since Al-Qaeda and its leader attacked US embassies and NYC had an detailed description of events and what happened in Abbottabad in 2011.
His (Owen’s) book is light read, I would say weekend read, which almost tells a novel/memoir stripped of emotions, personal comments or that human touch which often makes the biggest impact on the reader. Yeah it tells some bits and pieces of the story what involves to be a SEAL and how you’re becoming that secret order member, but nothing special or extraordinary what we didn’t hear or read before in books telling SEAL’s story. Also his language sometimes is more than harsh, story is often focused on his actions and how important he was in the events. Often looks like his utterly confident that whatever happened in Afghanistan, Iraq or Abbottabad (during his deployments) couldn’t happen if he was not there. I would say classic history redaction or bending to suit your own story and make you one of those indispensable people in the group or team. You can especially see this in a moments when he’s describing moments just after UBL is killed and how important was he there to take pictures of UBL’s dead body, move his beard to confirm that’s really UBL and that HE moved UBL’s body to hangar where at that time Vice-Admiral McRaven was waiting to see the body.
UBL part of the Owen’s book covers just over 100 pages and makes approximately 1/3 of it, and if you change the print size and font it will be even less than that. Whole story about the raid, what happen when they got inside and how they killed UBL’s son Khalid, courier and at the end UBL in his version is far far less than Bergen described in his book.
Comparing Owen’s story with Bergen’s you’ll easily found that Bergen was more detailed and he presented more facts about the action, planning, informations gathering and how the decision and whole action went on the day when UBL was killed. It’s important to add that Admiral William “Bill” McRaven, who lead Neptune Spear Operation and was mid-man between SEAL team in Abbottabad and White House on the night when UBL was killed, recently disputed this claim after he personally contacted all SEAL members who were engaged in this operation and witnessed what happen on the night when UBL was killed. And that’s about it, really nothing serious or nothing special in this book which cause so much media buzz recently.