By David Beilstein

YESTERDAY, amidst chilly temperatures in Florida, I was able to procure a copy of Mark Bowden’s most recent book — The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Bowden is an able reporter. His previous best seller, Black Hawk Down, about the Somalia fight involving U.S. Special Forces raid gone awry in 1993, was a stellar example of terse, declarative reporting. The book captured the essence of war in some of the best prose written in 30 years.

Bowden’s new book?

So far, so good. A couple things stand out.

Bowden is not a conservative apologist. It would be hard not to imagine his politics — at least domestically — verge on progressive. However, he has been an ardent supporter and sympathetic reporter when it comes to U.S. Special Forces’ operators.

Bowden has covered U.S. Special Operations in two recent books, Guests of The Ayatollah and Killing Pablo.

Few others, here, match Bowden’s reporters eye. He makes key points ranging from Special Forces being the most efficient way to fight Islamo-fascist factions, and, the fusion between second-by-second intelligence in collation with Special Forces operations could not have been matured without the Bush administrations work.

In other words, without the hard fought battles of the Bush administration, the Obama administration does not have the tentacles to snatch up intelligence on the ground of Osama Bin Laden’s courier — hence, no courier, no daring raid by Navy SEALS to raid Osama Bin Laden’s compound in the darkness of Abbottabad, Pakistan — sending Osama Bin Laden to the undiscovered country.

I’m not far along enough to offer much detail. The book is a sight-seeing journey through the individual players in these historic events from the outset. We begin, in Bowden’s book, in the Bush administration just as the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center are punctured in flashes of explosion on Sept. 11, 2001.

Bowden then, ties together all the loose ends — ending, seemingly, at Osama Bin Laden’s compound on May 2, 2011.

It is a fascinating read, nevertheless.


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