Dear Commons Community,
Last week I finished reading Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atom Bomb and the 116 Days that Changed the World by news anchor, Chris Wallace with Mitch Weiss. It was only natural that I pick up and read their current best-seller, Countdown bin Laden: The 247-Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice. Even though the subject matter of the new book is a more familiar event that most of us remember, Wallace and Weiss’s treatment did not disappoint in its style and attention to details in the search for Osama bin Laden. A critical element of the story is once they “think” that bin Laden is in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the CIA and others involved with tracking him down, have no definite proof. Also, the nature of the commando-type raid by US Navy Seals is fraught with danger and peril. There is a lot of decision making and process described here among President Barak Obama, Leon Panetta, Admiral William McRaven and several other dedicated CIA and military personnel over whether to make a raid or not. There is Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who keeps reminding the President of the disastrous attempt during the President Jimmy Carter administration to free hostages in Iran.
As with their earlier book, the last one hundred pages are riveting and you will not want to put it down.
Below is a brief review, courtesy of Publishers Weekly.
Countdown bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247–Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice
Chris Wallace with Mitch Weiss
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace and Associated Press reporter Mitch Weiss follow Countdown 1945 with an engrossing if familiar account of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011. Toggling between key players including CIA director Leon Panetta; Admiral William McRaven, who planned the mission; and Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill, who fired the shots that killed bin Laden, the authors start in August 2010, when Panetta first learned that CIA agents had tracked a suspected al-Qaeda courier to a heavily fortified compound on a dead-end street in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Aerial surveillance led operatives to believe that a compound resident they nicknamed “the Pacer” might be bin Laden, though an attempt to collect DNA evidence confirming his identity through a CIA-funded vaccination program proved fruitless. Anxious to take action before the Pakistani government caught wind of the operation, President Obama made the “50-50 call” to authorize the raid, which got off to a rocky start when the lead helicopter went down. Synthesizing material from published memoirs, journalistic accounts, and interviews, the authors build a cohesive narrative, but break little new ground. Still, this is a cinematic overview of one of the CIA’s most heralded missions.