Getting bin Laden
August 7th, 2011
10:00 AM ET

Getting bin Laden

Instead of my usual book of the week, I highly recommend you all read this article by Nicholas Schmidle in The New Yorker magazine . Here's an excerpt:

Shortly after eleven o’clock on the night of May 1st, two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters lifted off from Jalalabad Air Field, in eastern Afghanistan, and embarked on a covert mission into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. Inside the aircraft were twenty-three Navy SEALs from Team Six, which is officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. A Pakistani-American translator, whom I will call Ahmed, and a dog named Cairo—a Belgian Malinois—were also aboard. It was a moonless evening, and the helicopters’ pilots, wearing night-vision goggles, flew without lights over mountains that straddle the border with Pakistan. Radio communications were kept to a minimum, and an eerie calm settled inside the aircraft.

Fifteen minutes later, the helicopters ducked into an alpine valley and slipped, undetected, into Pakistani airspace. For more than sixty years, Pakistan’s military has maintained a state of high alert against its eastern neighbor, India. Because of this obsession, Pakistan’s “principal air defenses are all pointing east,” Shuja Nawaz, an expert on the Pakistani Army and the author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within,” told me. Senior defense and Administration officials concur with this assessment, but a Pakistani senior military official, whom I reached at his office, in Rawalpindi, disagreed. “No one leaves their borders unattended,” he said. Though he declined to elaborate on the location or orientation of Pakistan’s radars—“It’s not where the radars are or aren’t”—he said that the American infiltration was the result of “technological gaps we have vis-à-vis the U.S.” The Black Hawks, each of which had two pilots and a crewman from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, or the Night Stalkers, had been modified to mask heat, noise, and movement; the copters’ exteriors had sharp, flat angles and were covered with radar-dampening “skin.”

Read the rest here.

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Elliott Kramerj

    Fareed, how about asking Arianna what percentage of tax she has paid on her recent 300 million windfall. This is the issue most disturbing the public Joe Klein claims to speak for. We do know her percentage is likely lower than the schlubb earning 50000 a year. How about for once, your show, or any show, have one guest not benefitting from the Bush tax cuts.

    August 7, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  2. JKM

    Just listened to the panel of "experts". Huffington dis ingenuousness as usual. She states that 60 percent of people disagree with Obama compromise but fails to point out that Obama had a gun to his head and the choice was to default. The rest of the panel with the exception of Joe Klein are rooting for the tea party position. Where is the outrage at holding the country hostage? If we had just approved the debt ceiling increase as usual there wouldn't have been a downgrade. It's about time that someone told the american people the truth...

    August 7, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  3. j. von hettlingen

    "In October, 2010, a DEVGRU team attempted to rescue Linda Norgrove, a Scottish aid worker who had been kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan by the Taliban." Sadly enough Linda got killed unintentionally by an American grenade. Say, she had been rescued, would she have to pay for the bill?

    August 7, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  4. kw

    watched with interest your interview with the developer of the Park 51/Ground Zero Mosque. No hard questions asked at all. Why is it so important, as a business deal (alleged by the developer) to put a mosque in such a sensitive area? Answer: it is not! No one protested the mosque that was used earlier. People respected the right of Muslims to worship. Now it is time for this man to respect the sensitivities of a nation attacked by people that identify and are identified by his religion. If he really wants to do something for the community, do it without making Park 51 a mosque. If his intent is to provide a mosque, then respect this nation and find another site.
    kw in houston

    August 7, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  5. Ray Hoff

    While I will despair at the other 1/2 of the "guillotine" which will undoubtedly fall in December, I have to agree with Mr. Zakaria about the Defense Department cuts. We outspend the ENTIRE rest of the world in military spending, more than all other countries combined. The World doesn't want us to be their policeman. Why take different positions on Sudan, Libya and Syria. We are picking and choosing wars we don't have to be involved in. By encouraging the Arab Spring and then not backing them militarily, we are setting Syrians up to be crushed. We probably have also brought on a 50 year civil war in Libya. Unfortunately, Mr. Zakaria I am not convinced that Congress won't override the deal and cut the discretionary spending in government departments, and still protect the Military. That is also all too predictable.

    August 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  6. Delex.

    kw, why so much bad blood? is the U.S no longer for all of us? Muslims have the right like anyone else, to worship anywhere, no sensitivity should be affected by this. Swallow your hatred pls!

    August 8, 2011 at 5:01 am |
  7. Delex.

    To start with. It’s even more degrading than the debt impasse for the world’s super power to expend all that resources just to get a poor harmless and faked individual just to pull a wool over the eyes of gullible spectators.
    “There was never any question of detaining or capturing him—it wasn’t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,” the special-operations officer told me. (The Administration maintains that had bin Laden immediately surrendered he could have been taken alive.)
    We need to recall that the instruction ab initio was to kill him, so, there was no order to take him alive. The squad did exactly what they had been told. But we have not been told about the security risk involved in getting him alive, at least, to silent potential doubting thomases.
    “Bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white burial shroud, weighted, and then slipped inside a bag. The process was done “in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices,”
    I bet Muslims world over would disagree with this and call this a big blasphemy except they are told who did the special prayer and how he was washed and also disagree on whether such corpse are meant to be buried at sea while there was no Muslim in the crew.
    Final comment: This is nothing but the biggest farce of the century.

    August 8, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  8. Andrea Davison

    Thank you Fareed Zakaria for the most intelligent hour on television...period. I am not a tv snob...I enjoy sitcoms, dramas, and reality shows, but for one hour a week I can put my "tranquilizer" tv aside and engage...and then read your blog, explore your links, choose a new interesting book to read or otherwise engage my brain to learn something new. In the game of "Who would you invite to dinner?,", you, sir, are on my list! Best to you in 2012.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm |

    أكد وزير الخارجية التونسي رفيق عبد السلام اليوم السبت أن حكومة بلاده اتخذت قرارا بطرد السفير السوري في تونس، فيما أعلن الرئيس التونسي أن بلاده سحبت اعترافها بشرعية حكم الأسد، وذلك في وقت دعا فيه رئيس البرلمان العربي سالم الدقباسي الدول العربية لطرد السفراء السوريين المعتمدين لديها.

    وقال عبد السلام في مقابلة مع الجزيرة، إن قرار الحكومة التونسية جاء احتجاجا على المجازر التي جرت وتجري اليوم في حمص وفي غيرها من المدن السورية، وأوضح أن وزارته ستقوم بتنفيذ القرار في القريب العاجل وستستدعي سفيرها في دمشق.

    وتوقع الوزير أن تحذو معظم الدول العربية حذو بلاده في هذه الخطوة، وخص بالذكر مصر والمغرب ودول الخليج، وقال "نحن ننسق مع شركائنا في الدول العربية".

    February 5, 2012 at 2:39 am |


    علم هدهد سليمان ومن مصدر امني مهم , أن هناك طائرة نقل إيرانية تحط أسبوعيا في مطار النجف الاشرف وهي محملة بالمليارات من الدنانير العراقية المزورة من إيران وبعد ذلك يتم نقل هذه المليارات من الأوراق النقدية العراقية المزورة تحت حماية أمنية مشددة وبإشراف عدد معين من كبار المسئولين في أحزاب الائتلاف الوطني إلى البنك التجاري العراقي فرع النجف الاشرف لغرض إيداعها به , ومن ثم سحب البديل عنها بالعملة الصعبة والتي تقدر بالمليارات من الدولارات ثم تحمل سراً بنفس الطائرة لتقلع بها إلى طهران . this is a fact every week an Iranian plan fly to iraq and directly to najaf province not baghdad in this najaf province the evil province in iraq , this plan brings billions of Iraqi dinars faked Iran dinar from iran and exchange it with USA dollars in janaf under the watch of al hakeem and al maleki group, bringing billions of dollars back to iran and then give to Syria , Russia and Hezbollah. WHY USA DONT DO NOTHING , WHAT IS THE USE OF SANCTIONING IRAN AND KEEPING THE EVIL IRAQI PRIM MINSTER DOING THIS EVIL DEEDS WAKE UP OBAMA

    February 5, 2012 at 2:46 am |
  11. almahdi is lusefer

    iran must be attacked, iran is not a muslim country, all the muslims 1 billion are sunni and the shiia are only 150 milions iran 65 millions are not all muslims , they have 10 million sunni and 5 million kurds, and 3 million christeans and jews etc...iran is evil and we dont consider them muslims. teh shiia cult is a devil worship called almahdi he the son of lusefer the devil

    February 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  12. Gbenga TAYLOR

    This recap of the mission to silencing Osama is indeed, telling. The very interesting part remains the point when President Obama, either wittingly or other, didnot request the person who shot bin Laden. This approach is one of the outstanding qualities of a leader and many business schools should explore/dissect this attribute for good use by their students.

    July 7, 2012 at 1:57 am |
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