By Liam H. Dooley
Fiction author of The Holy Diamond
I am not a conspiracy theorist. I believe that terrorists and al Qaeda attacked the USA on 11 September 2001. I am certain that while the US had strategic warning about an imminent attack by Japan in 1941, they were operationally surprised when the bombs fell upon Pearl Harbor. I don’t think some bizarre combination of the CIA, mafia, military-industrial complex, and aliens assassinated President John F. Kennedy. I am firmly convinced that there is no Illuminati nor freemason society running things – anymore than the world is influenced by powerful people of all types and forms in very public ways such as campaign donations, government lobbying, charitable donations, and the like.
So when I first read about Seymour Hersh’s article that the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden by US special forces was largely fabricated or altered by the US and Pakistan, I greeted it not with just scepticism but outrage. How could such a reputable and accomplished journalist publish a story that could have come straight out of the Republic of Texas or a bad season of 24? But then, I started thinking.
Seymour Hersh Article link:
Let me say that I have never been in the military, though I have worked for military and security organizations as a contractor, consultant, appointee, etc. I have never planned a major military operation, and my shooting skills have gone from passable at best to embarrassing.
But as a writer of fiction who hopes to write about modern warfare, I have thought about military issues extensively. At one point I had a focus on World War Two, but now it is fair to say I am more familiar with present-day operations thanks in large part to extensive coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the form of TV documentaries, news pieces, books, and even films. I can watch films and guesstimate with some accuracy the good and the bad; the fabricated and the authentic. A sniper running around in gym clothes in Behind Enemy Lines? Utter nonsense. Needing to make a phone call to call in air support over a telephone? Not only possible, but happened and will likely happen again (at least to some military, not necessarily the US military as had happened in Grenada, 1983).
I saw Zero Dark Thirty and read a few books on the bin Laden raid, such as Mark Owen’s No Easy Day. The film captured the nature of intelligence collection and analysis – what President George W. Bush referred to as connecting the dots. The book related the intensive training and operations that US special forces were engaged in during the wars of the past fourteen years. The hunt for bin Laden, in these books, was a long, patient effort that required luck and perseverance and, indeed, did not necessarily figure as a priority in intelligence or policy.
Yet even when the raid occurred, and some US Republicans were criticizing President Obama for taking credit for the operation and also claiming that the decision to conduct the operation was easy, I had some fundamental questions of operations and policy.