Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Murder, Inc.

Well I'm hot blooded, check it and see
I got a fever of a hundred and three

Come on baby, do you do more than dance?

I'm hot blooded, I'm hot blooded

--Hot Blooded
, Foreigner

--Why'd you do it? Why did you kill him?

--He had bad breath

--Murder, Inc. (1960)

When Smith attacked Mr. Clutter

he was under a mental eclipse,

deep inside a schizophrenic darkness

--In Cold Blood, Truman Capote


February 1, 1968, B. G. Loan, Chief of the Vietnamese National Police, executed what was a guerrilla, Vietcong soldier or terrorist (take your pick, as this designation is irrelevant to this discussion.) Whichever, the recipient of General Loan's attention was shot dead on a Saigon street corner.

This was called field adjudication at the time, and in a perverse way this shooting was understandable and strangely appropriate. The killing was done in hot blood during a period of extensive combat.

However, this photo was a galvanizing moment which enabled the U.S. to pivot against the war.
From 1 Feb 68, there was not a fart's chance in a windstorm for the U.S. to win the war in Vietnam. Even though the execution was explained as a consequence of guerrilla activity and war crimes and due to a pervading wartime mentality -- despite any possibly legitimization of the act -- the pure violence was a turn-off to the American public.

The stark reality of the brutality was the final straw which broke the American voter's backs. That one death symbolized the futility of the shooting match in a black-and-white manner, in a way that no amount of debate could achieve. Gen. Loan's photographed action was the beginning of the end.

That was 43 years ago, and now
we allow a U.S. president to issue a death warrant without anyone blinking an eye. In 1968 the U.S. public recoiled from the sight of a naked street-corner execution; in 2011, we exult at a presidentially-ordered murder of a thug in cold blood, no better or worse than a VC member on some Saigon street corner.

Why the recoil then, the approval now? The only difference is that Loan had the stones to pull the trigger himself in broad daylight. Why do we glorify a once and future president when both are akin to cold-blooded killers, something we once found so repugnant in the not-so-distant past?

Are we so disconnected from our national policies that we accept this violence in passing as business-as-usual? What does it mean to be an American today vis-a-vis war and assassination?

The lesson from Loan's/Obama's assassination is that any government with a tenuous hold on a situation will resort to desperate acts. Though the South Vietnamese restored short-term order via brutal tactics, NOTE: Saigon no longer exists.

When regimes execute people on street corners the end in nigh. Gang-style executions are symptomatic of bankrupt policies. If the U.S. was being successful, it would not have to resort to such activities.

[cross-posted @ rangeragainstwar]


  1. Well taking the UBL thing aside, I think it's much more disconcerting that BHO ordered assassination attempts on some cleric who has a U.S. passport.

    That should not be possible short of an official civil war.

  2. But we don't bat an eye at the innocents we murder daily, so why all the horror over the murder of someone undeniably guilty? Assasination was a way better idea than invading Pakistan.

    Really seems odd to me that an assasination destroys the soul of our nation, but needless invasions with the loss of thousands of innocent lives aren't considered a billion times worse.

  3. SO,
    Maybe someone can help me out here, but citizenship aside i just don't know that the Constitution grants the POTUS the power to confer a death sentence on anybody. In a rebellion he can suspend Writ of Habeus Corpus. Or so i remember.
    After the CW when the shooting was stopped the gov't resorted to Military Commissions to kill those deemed in need of killing.The Lincoln conspirators , and later CPT. Wurz come to mind.
    The common answer to this is that he can put out hits based upon his C in C role. Obviously this is a point that needs clarified. Kings could historically sentence people to death upon whim, and our system was set up to eliminate this problem, or at least that's how it was taught to me in college western civ classes.

  4. Rick,
    We have several points of agreement, but we must clarify your comment a little.
    WE DID INVADE PAKISTAN to perform this raid, which is a violation of international law. Don't you get that??!?? Remember Gary F. Powers and the problems of 1 lonely u2 pilot being caught in Soviet air space Numbers are irrelevant. The death of 1 man started ww1.
    Did i say that assasination destroys the soul of a nation? I'm saying that it shows that we lost the pwot. If OSAMA was guilty then why did we not convene a grand jury and issue appropriate legal action??
    We have no legal proof that he is in fact guilty. It's not a slam dunk.
    Historically Terrorists/ orgs always take credit for any and all opns that they can possibly squeeze onto their plates. This aids recruitment and collection of funds. This self aggrandizement is not legal proof of guilt.
    Of course we all accept that ubl is a killer, but so what, does that allow us to be the same?
    We have taken international and US law, treaties, the GC's, guerrilla, UW, LIC, insurgency and terrorism and heaped them into an indecipherable ball of crap. The knot defies even the sword.
    Is it any wonder the tax payers can't even begin to understand the shell game?
    The concept of shape shifter describes the pwot perfectly, since we can twist facts to fit any scenario desired by the powers that be.

  5. Rick,
    I would say that we lost our souls when we terror bombed cities in WW2, which include fire bombing and poping off on 2 jap cities.
    Everything since is just sliding down hill. These are hard acts to follow.
    2 wrongs, 2 rights etc..
    If the pwot were real we surely could've exploited UBL's contacts and developed intel that would've been of much more benefit than was his death. Since we chose not to do so then i'm back to square 1- we have lost. We chose the ax over the rapier, which shows the level of our sophistication.
    Please remember that everybody killed, maimed on either side is always replaced with a unit that is the same as the one eliminated. Where's the progress in that- how many aq no. 3's have we killed to date? Will the next ubl be less violent after this event?
    Death is not an indicator of success. It's a tactical event in a strategic scenario.

  6. Jim, UBL was to be considered leader of a faction at war with the U.S.. I don't see how he should be more protected than hostile combatants (and he possibly even was a hostile combatant).

    I don't remember the U.S. constitution explicitly telling that war legalises killing people - some things need to be based on interpretation.

  7. SO,
    Give me a break here.!
    Show me a definition of war that includes a gov't v. a non govt entity such as a terror cell. We can't redefine war on a whim and a hope.
    Did your country declare war on RAF , or did you follow civilian law? Did France or Italy kidnap, torture or throw T's in secret prisons? What about Spain and ETA?
    SAYING IT IS WAR DOES NOT MAKE IT SO. For christ sake we say it's war and then deny the GC's. We then say it's criminal and ignore civil law. We are more duplicitous than the Terrorists.
    Terror groups CANNOT declare war on us , nor visa versa.
    MY point is that the POTUS IS NOT JUDGE , JURY AND EXECUTIONER ROLLED IN ONE BALL. This is what makes him different than say AH or Stalin.
    The Constitution issues no such possibility in time of war or in civilian matters.
    If we say the ubl is a soldier then we have legitimized him

  8. I find the picture...interesting.
    The man being shot was also the same man who went into the local home of a political official, butchered the family, women and children, along with servants with a machete. He then surrendered when he was obviously surrounded, and as been documented, summarily executed after the General was informed of the crimes.

    But that all aside, we have lost our soul, we have become the thing we hate, but because we define ourselves as the good guys all our deeds are blessed by our motive...to unwrong the wrong that was done to us, and oh-so-sad for the collatoral damage along the way.

    Which is what brings me to my final point...this whole afair of traipsing through the Middle East on our jolly jaunt of GWOT has left a trail of non-combatant devastation in our foot-prints. But because, in our judicial process, if a bad guy flees from a burglary, and the pursuing police officer harms a bystander, the suspect gets charged with the harm done by the police.
    You see, the US government wants it both ways...they want the "BOOO'YAHH BITCH, THIS IS MOTHERFUCKING WAR ASSHOLE!!!" coupled with Law Enforcement.
    Which of course is bullshit, but thats another thread.
    For us, the reality is this...the victor writes the history, but Law...pfft, law has nothing to do with this fiasco, this is war of revenge, pure and simple.

  9. sheer,
    I challenge you cmt that the vc in the pic killed any one with a machete.
    Look at the original photo and it's hard not to be impressed with how clean and orderly his clothes happened to be.
    When you hack people to death then blood seems to get on your clothes. Hell i've had other peoples blood on me and they were standing next to me.
    The last i heard the FLEEING FELON ruling of the SC is still law of the land.

  10. Sheer,
    I don't believe any of the stories outta Saigon, nor outta the pentagon. For example- if the vc pictured killed anyone with a machete, then why is he not covered with blood splatter?
    Look closely at the orig photo. He's clean and neat, hardly indicative of chopping people to death.

  11. @ Jim - "I would say that we lost our souls when we terror bombed cities in WW2, which include fire bombing and poping off on 2 jap cities."

    Started before that. When the President of The United States decided to make war upon seceding States (an act, btw, of Treason as per the US Constitution) and either inadvertently or not unleash Total War upon civilian populace. Just got worse from there. One need not forget that Teddy Roosevelt talked up about how the Filipinos were savages for using waterboarding...eventhough they learned it from US soldiers who were doing it at the same time. The US Army shot and killed some 200(?) men, women and children at a little place called Wounded Knee for the crime of simply starving to death and wanting to be left alone.

  12. Jim & Sheer -

    I do not know about any machetes. But I understand that the AP photographer backed up the story that the shooting was justified. He later apologized to General Loan for the damage that the photo did him and his family. There was reportedly a ditch full of bound and tied and murdered policemen and some of their families including children in a ditch just out of camera range. When it ran this picture, the NY Times also ran a side-by-side photo of a child murdered by the Viet Cong during TET, but that pic never captured the imagination of the public. Loan came here to America with other refugees and once here he received death threats.

    A quote from the photographer: "Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them; but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths."

    But we have had this conversation regarding TET of 68 before I think. You may not believe about the VC death squads. But they were there. There are still mass graves being uncovered.

    As for the whacking of Osama, I am glad we got him. Why do you think that it was an assassination? A story came out today that there was a crew of interrogators, translators, medical corpsman, and lawyers standing by on the USS Carl Vinson in case UBL was taken alive. Does that make any difference to your story? Or do you automatically assume that is another lie? I also heard today that the Air Force wanted to bomb that compound. That would have incinerated every woman and child there plus probably more than a few neighbors. But Obama-ji turned down that option.

    In any case I guess you did not join me in a toast to Osama's relegation to the realm of whale-scheisse.

  13. And why do you think that Osama was not a fleeing felon?

  14. :sigh:

    "Crown Prince of Terror Hamza bin Laden 'escaped US raid' which killed Osama bin Laden

    Fears grow bin Laden son escaped deadly raid
    Comes as wives and children remain in custody
    Crown Prince of Terror not seen since raid

    ONE of Osama Bin Laden's sons went missing on the night US special forces stormed their squalid hideout and shot the terror mastermind dead, Pakistani security officials have revealed.

    The burial at sea of Osama bin Laden 'demeaned and humiliated' his family, say al-Qaeda founder's sons.

    They fear he could be Bin Laden's youngest son, 19-year-old Hamza, who has been dubbed the "Crown Prince of Terror".

    Three of Bin Laden's wives and several of his children were taken into custody by Pakistani intelligence forces after the raid - but now it appears one of his sons may have evaded capture.

    The revelation came as fascinating new details emerged of the US assault force dispatched to find Osama Bin Laden, including the president's insistence that it had to be large enough to fight off hostile Pakistani soldiers if need be."


    Can we kindly get OFF this goddamn merry-go-round? I REALLY don't wanna puke again. I especially don't relish the idea that we're going to send troops into a country armed with NUCLEAR FUCKING WEAPONS!

  15. mike,
    Of course the VC had death squads. The first rule on COIN as espoused by Thompson is that the govt must ALWAYS ACT in accordance with the law.The vc did not have such a constraint.
    Of course it's wrong to have death sqds, but what makes it right for Loan to shoot some one on a street corner? Where's the difference?
    In reality i reckon it doesn't really matter b/c the issue was settled in apr 75.
    Whats important is what's happening today.
    Every body believes that what they believe is the truth and this is impossible. Here's mine- of course they had a capture team on call/station. This is what's called plausible denial.
    As for ubl being a fleeing felon-what federal indictment was he fleeing. Was he a immanent threat to anybody at the time of capture Was he armed?
    Yeah , i know - the team had to protect themselves.
    Call me an ass hole but intel is more important than a thrill kill. If they could shoot an unarmed woman in the leg , then why not do the same to ubl? Why not exfil the women for questioning? OOPS that's right- they didn't have room for them on the exfil birds. GEE what a planning oversight in such a other wise perfect raid. Doesn't it seem strange that a 160th bird crashes w/o the benefit of any hostile fire?
    If capture was the goal , then why /where was the capture team during the assault phase?
    Remember that there was a dedicated death group also. Why no autopsy?????!!!!
    I cannot suspend belief and suddenly believe in the righteous nature of this kill. It's just another incident in a highly questionable scenario. Right now in AFGH the official policy per NIGHTLINE is called CATCH OR KILL. How do you spell COIN? This policy will be as successful as shooting people on a Saigon street corner.
    Here's the bottom line- if ksm hasn't been tried in a real court of law it really doesn't matter if ubl were captured or not. He would've NEVER appeared in a court room setting. You can say otherwise but ksm proves the point as does all the other gulag type prisoners still at gitmo. I will not accept justice that comes outta a seals rifle.
    The American people deserved justice , and they got something else, and they were thrilled.
    I reckon i'll always be an odd man out. The cycle of violence must be broken, and as a liberal , humanistic society the burden is on our shoulders. It won't happen b/c we are enamored with warrior wet dreams.
    BTW- have you been reading the chatter about the falsehoods sponsored in Littrells book-LONE SURVIVOR? The falsehoods are coming out, as is the fact that a fiction writer ghosted the book.
    Somehow this fits in my mind set re; Navy releases.

  16. mike, The official citation on a MOH is being shown to be hyperbole. The Navy chose the fiction writer to espouse this fiction.
    The enemy it seems was not 10 to 1 as previously told but more like a fair fight.
    My analysis of the fight is still my position. This fight was questionable. I draw the same conclusions on the ubl debacle.

  17. jim-

    The MH-60 probably was hovering just out of ground effect and entered what is known as "settling with power". Simply stated, its own rotor vortex drove it down. There isn't enough power to escape from this situation, and pulling in more power just aggravates the situation. If it starts at a high hover, the natural instinct is to pull in more power to stop the descent - wrong answer. You have to reduce power and start a forward dive to fly out of it, and there was insufficient altitude to do so. We demonstrated it to students at about 2,000 feet minimum to ensure sufficient space to make the dive and fly out of the phenomenon safely.

    Lots of reasons why they could have entered this condition, and I'm not about to speculate as to which one. All the indications do support settling with power, however.

  18. No cherry brandy for you Jim. But I hope you will join me in a toast (soon I hope) when dead-eye Dicky finally drops dead.

    I am kind of glad UBL was not captured. The torturers and their enabler (dead-eye Dick) are already coming out of the woodwork. We would have heard nothing in the media except: "Waterboard the basturd, that will get the truth out of him" 20 years from now those scumbags would still be telling us they could find a ticking bomb if only they could get a tad rough with him.

    As for Littrell's book, I have not read it and have not read the MOH citation. I also have not read the other book on the op by Gary Williams. But it has been my experience that all recounts of battlefield exploits are exaggerated. The same is sometimes typical with medal citations. So what? Is your beef with the Navy or with Obama-ji.

  19. "I don't believe any of the stories outta Saigon..."

    Tell me, where, in all of this, do we get a choice on whether we believe an incident occurred or not, and thus our reality trumps fact?
    When did that option occur for us because I would love to click it for my own peace of mind.
    Just because you and I don't like the end result of an action doesn't negate the initial cause of the action, or the back story to it.

    What would you rather believe…that the General was really a brutal thug who looked at his enemy little more than a sewer rat?

    I have found, and I'm sure you have found that the reason for an action, any action is far more mundane, more common, and by association, a whole lot more uncomfortable in comparisons to who we are as people.

    But herein is the take home…despite your opinion of the General, and regardless of your suspicion of all things governmental…the one thing you cannot escape from is the common humanity of the actors, and in that…right there is the scary part, for we all would rather not think about how or what we would do in a similar situation.
    The General is no different than you or I, the VC is no different than you or I, but the reality is that despite all our visions of a just world…shit happens.
    And usually happens with some form of rationale behind it, too, despite our protestations or encouragement.
    I know the reason the General shot the VC, but herein is something we don't know…why did the VC kill the politico's family?
    Was he wronged by them?
    Was the politico someone who did something so heinous that in the VC's mind cutting him and his family down was the only form of justice that he could perceive?

    We don't know…but what I find curious is your response to all this…you're unwillingness to accept a person actions for what it is, despite the horrendous nature of it, in fact, I find it very curious that you would rather ascribe…what?
    Why is it you cannot accept the statement of the motive?
    You see, for me, even though I find it horrible, and provocatively wrong, I also understand the why of it which for me is the pursuit of truth…and so I want to leave you with this one thought…

    Accepting the why behind the motivation for the execution doesn't condone the action of the General, nor does the truth excuse the General's rush to prosecute his own form of vigilante justice.
    All it does is explain one part of the story, it just fleshes out the why of his action, and thusly frames the picture of that action in the context of it's occurrence…a foolish war where fools killed other fools for reasons that both fools were guilty of…in short, the story of mankind writ large in one…photograph.
    The explanation makes the whole thing seem mundane and improbable to those who have seen way more than a man should, but to those who can see the totality of our species, our history writ large…an exemplary statement about who we are as human beings.

  20. Jim,

    Didn't mean to imply that you had said it"destroyed the soul of our nation." Just that many people who are very opposed to the killing seems to feel that way.

    If our invasions all lasted 45 minutes I wouldn't be so opposed to them.

    Aber, I always thought assasinating Saddam would have been a much better idea than invading and occupying Iraq... way cheaper in all ways too.

    Why is it that targeting a bigshot is so terrible, but all the thousands of "collateral damage" victims rarely even get a shrug of the shoulders?

  21. sheer,
    I acknowledge.
    I think that the services/JCS are playing obomba like a fiddle.
    He'll never voice the command-CHANGE STEP,MARCH.

  22. Well...my guess is that the U.S. will probably survive the fallout from Mr. bin Laden's sudden departure of this Vale of Tears.


    Let's think of this on a practical level for a moment.

    Let's consider a killing of an enemy; one planned and carried out by a criminal organization, the other by the government of a great empire. How do we typically perceive them?

    The archtype of the "mob hit" is the body in the barrel dumped off a pier. Two bullets in the head somewhere in a dark alley. Secrecy, night and fog, the whole thing very casual and offhand.

    A government-sanctioned killing is usually the most public thing imaginable, right? Judge in robes, fancy courtroom, lots of press coverage, appeals, speeches, and finally the victim turned off publicly. Back in the day it was even a sort of public holiday, the most pompous and spectacular possible.


    Because the whole POINT is to impress the passerby with the gravity, deliberation, legitimacy, and power of the State, and the criminality, weakness, and guilt of the victim.

    This goes for the most corrupt and venal State - in fact, perhaps the more venal the more need for the facade of legitimacy, hence things like the Stalin show trials and the Star Chamber...

    So when states pop their enemies in the head and dump them in the harbor...what do they end up looking like?

    I don't know what this says about the internal workings of our government, or of us as a people. I think both are more complex than a simple analysis of this event would produce.

    But I think it does suggest, as does the entire "War on Terror" meme, that we have a problem with really understanding the difference between expedience and effectiveness. Our execution of Osama was expedient, as GEN Loan's was at the time. It settled the hash of a troublemaker quickly and permanently.

    But in both cases it seems to blur the line between the proper gravity of State power and the back-alley strongarm power of the Mob. Rationalize it all you want by invoking the Laws of War and such...the image remains, and sometimes image is far more powerful than reality, as the First Consul learned after the death of the Duc d'Enghien.

    "C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute"

  23. FDChief-

    Very much agree.

    And sadly as I have expressed we are a Nation bushed.

    I've never argued the legality of this action, one way or the other, but rather how it played in actual opposition to our national interests. Capturing should have been the US policy, that it wasn't is at this point painfully obvious.

    The story continues to change which is a priceless case study to consider. Assume that the powers that be actually think they can influence public opinion, "manage it" even . . . To or for what are they conditioning the public?

    Basic advertising imo, nothing more: The notion that the truth is somehow fluid, changing, developing, yet totally believable. One follows this "Truth" . . . in fact, just as one pursues a product in the market. So little is what they think of the common person.

    Yet so dangerous is our situation . . .

  24. Just what is "ClusterFuck"?

    An example


    Killing Democracy with Bad Intelligence

    By: emptywheel Wednesday May 11, 2011

    Some of us have been having fun on Twitter discussing the reported power struggle in al Qaeda to replace Osama bin Laden in terms we’d use to discuss an American election. Which made this report–which Frontline linked as part of their Kill/Capture program that aired last night–all the more chilling. The author, Kate Clark, consulted “survivors, witnesses, police, senior Afghan officials – and, crucially, senior officers in the Special Forces unit which carried out” a September 2, 2010 bombing strike. She concluded that rather than killing a senior Taliban official, as JSOC still maintains, the airstrike killed a group of men campaigning for parliament.

    Clark examines in depth the intelligence chain that led JSOC to kill a local campaign party, believing they were instead targeting the Taliban commander. That chain started with intelligence from a detainee.

    The intelligence operation which ultimately led to the 2 September 2010 attack, started, according to the Special Forces unit, with information came from a detainee in US custody. This allowed them ultimately to identify a relative of the detainee as the shadow deputy governor of Takhar, one Muhammad Amin, and to map a Taleban‐ and IMU‐related cluster through the monitoring of cell phones.

    For some reason, the intelligence analysts tracking this cluster concluded that Amin had started using the SIM card of the guy they eventually targeted, Zabet Amanullah.

    The intelligence analysts came to believe that the SIM card of one of the numbers that Muhammad Amin had been calling in Kabul was passed on to him. They believed that he started to use this phone and to ‘self‐identify’ as Zabet Amanullah.

    And in spite of the fact that Amanullah and Amin spoke by phone two days before the attack, JSOC maintained they were the same person. Amin explained in an interview with another researcher,

    About two days before his death Zabet Amanullah spoke to me on the phone and told me that he was determined to block Qazi Kabir from being elected to parliament. That is why he was supporting Abdul Wahid Khorasani, that and the fact that they are related… After the incident, I saw my name in the media and realised the attack was intended for me… I did not discuss this with anyone…


  25. Pt2

    At no time did the analysts investigate the biography of Zabet Amanullah, which would have alerted them that he was a prominent local figure (and, as Clark lays out in a poignant biography she includes, a former human rights worker who had survived three rounds of imprisonment and torture). Instead, JSOC insisted that the technical data targeting a phone was enough to justify the attack.

    The Special Forces unit denied that the identities of two different men, Muhammad Amin and Zabet Amanullah, could have been conflated; they insisted the technical evidence that they were one person is irrefutable.


    When pressed about the existence – and death – of an actual Zabet Amanullah, they argued that they were not tracking a name, but targeting the telephones.

    The report discusses the legal implications of this mistaken killing in depth–the failure to cross-check intelligence and the failure to protect others in the convoy who gave no sign of belligerence.

    But the metaphor of it all–of the US using faulty intelligence to bomb an Afghan trying to practice democracy–captures what we’re doing in Afghanistan so much more aptly.


    Gain 3 steps forward getting OBL, slip 5 steps back assassinating Afghan political candidates.

    Not that I suggest these fellows invade the US and try whacking some of our pols.

    Wouldn't be prudent.


  26. Al, Sorry , i was preoccupied yesterday and didn't answer you cmt about pulling power.
    Now i know why i felt flaky hanging from strings and ladders under a helo.
    I understand what you tell us re the mechanics of the incident. This is well and good, but my point is that these guys are supposed to be world class SOF pilots and this crash seems like a rooky performance.
    Chief and seydlitz.

  27. Some parody pix




  28. to all,
    Thinking of crashed birds the following came to my mind.
    Since the bird was crashed, and since we GIVE HELOS to PAK , then why'd we blow it up??
    Why didn't we just leave it there for a forward type delivery??!!
    To every cmt about the risk of the opn if the Pakis intervened nobody ever mentions that it's Colt rifles our SEALS would've been facing.

  29. From Garrett Graff on Danger Room: "The FBI actually last month conducted its first raid on the ground in Somalia, going in to capture a pirate ringleader and bring him back to the U.S. to stand trial."

    I don't watch much TV, I guess I missed this one.

  30. I'm very familiar with Luttrell's book having read it, been in Afghanistan at the time the event occurred, and having played a very small role in the even itself.

    All I can really say is that his book doesn't tell the whole story and, in parts, it certainly is biased. Some of that is justified, some of it isn't. A few "facts" portrayed in the book are not what I read in the AAR's and debriefs, but they are not egregious errors IMO and, in one case, they make the team look less competent than they actually were (specifically how they dealt with the shepherd boy who found them). The numbers of enemy aren't one of the inaccuracies.

    Secondly, the fact that Luttrell had a professional writer help him with the book isn't exactly a secret since that writer's name is on the cover and he's credited as co-writer. That's not very unusual for non-writers trying to tell their stories. I don't think the Navy had anything to do with that.

    Finally, I can't go into details, but this mission was the catalyst for a lot of needed changes, especially in the SOF community.

  31. Andy,
    You may want to fact check your comments.
    My readings indicate that the Navy chose the author. Also the number of hostiles on the ground is being severely questioned.
    What ever i stand by my analysis.
    This opn should not have been launched.

  32. Jim,

    Maybe the Navy did chose the co-author - so what? Like I said, it's not exactly a secret that Luttrell didn't write this whole thing himself and it's not exactly unheard of for people telling their stories in a book to utilize a professional author.

    Secondly, we obviously can't know the true number the 4 man team faced since we have only one witness. What I'm saying is that Luttrell's account in the book is consistent with AAR's and debriefs that I've read. It's also consistent with the numbers of fighters observed when the MH-47 was shot down and all the follow-on actions as well as the intel estimates at the time.

    I agree with you the operation shouldn't have been launched.

  33. From Navy Times:


  34. Andy,
    The fighters will someday be sourced, as was done in Blackhawk Down.
    i sure would like to read the aar's, but most importantly i'd like to read the opords, to include higher. W/O these i'm pissing up a rope. I admit this.