Hunting down and killing another human being diminishes humanity. Sadly, despite that diminution, the story of the search and killing of Osama bin Laden perversely satisfies human nature’s desire for revenge. Written by Peter Bergen, Manhunt is a page turning thriller that tells America’s story of the search for and killing of Osama bin Laden, an acknowledged mass murderer.
Osama bin Laden accepts responsibility for the 9/11 killing of nearly 3,000 innocents–bin Laden went to his grave believing in the justice of terrorism. Bin Laden justifies 9/11 with a belief that America is an evil empire that manipulates and destabilizes Middle Eastern culture to satisfy worldly greed. Bin Laden calls Americans infidels because they do not believe in the truth of his understanding of Allah.
Al Qaeda’ followers believe they know the truth of life and the hereafter; anyone who disagrees with Al Qaeda’s believers is an infidel, subject to death. Al Qaeda’s Jihad dances with the same devil as the Christian’s Crusaders. Contrary to religious zealots’ opinion of truth in life or the hereafter, the nature of human beings is to be free to choose what one believes.
History shows that humans murdering humans represents the worst in humanity. Al Qaeda’s justification (rationalization) for terrorism condones discriminate murder of others. That rationalization includes indiscriminate murder of innocent bystanders.
Ironically, American justification for drone use also condones discriminate murder of others; including indiscriminate murder of innocent bystanders. Voltaire suggests, “As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.” This idiotic cycle of blaming and killing goes on and on.
Osama bin Laden manages to evade capture for over ten years after 9/11. Bergen infers this long period of evasion is a result of distracted American military focus, poor American intelligence, and the political ambivalence of Middle Eastern allies.
The key to tracking Osama bin Laden is Ibrahim Saeed Ahmed, aka Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti (the Kuwaiti). Bergen explains that Ahmed is a trusted courier for Osama bin Laden. Ahmed is summoned to a compound in Abbottabad, after having been away from Al Qaeda for nearly a year. This summoning and extensive surveillance of the Abbottabad compound suggest a high-ranking al Qaeda leader is hiding in this northeastern Pakistani’ city of nearly 1.5 million people.
Bergen reports on a concerted effort by a team of American government leaders and military analysts to infiltrate the Abbottabad’ compound for actionable intelligence. The focus of the team was to determine who the high-ranking person was in the compound. Speculation grew to a 50/50 chance that the person was Osama bin Laden.
Bergen’s build up to the decision to send a team of Navy Seals into the compound rivals the best drama one could write about a secret military action. The highest government and military leaders of America wrestle with life and death decisions, based on too few facts for guaranteed mission success.
Bergen illustrates the difference between being a manager and a leader. The former keeps an organization running but the latter gives organization purpose. Just as George W. Bush chooses to invade Iraq, Barack Obama chooses to invade Abbottabad’s Al Qaeda’ compound. Right or wrong, both Presidents show themselves to be leaders by making final decisions based on the best information available.
By the end of Bergen’s story, a listener knows the managers and leaders of the Obama administration. On reflection, one realizes bin Laden, Mao, Stalin, and Hitler were also leaders. The obvious cautionary conclusion is that followers and managers should choose their leaders carefully.
This Youtube’ video on the Abbottabad raid most accurately tracks Peter Bergen’s book, “Manhunt” :