There are some events that take place in your lifetime which have a tremendous impact on the world. These are unforgettable stories which are spoken of and written about for decades, going on to becoming legends. From my youth, I remember the John F. Kennedy assassination, as if it happened yesterday, though the President was shot dead in Dallas, Texas nearly 50 years ago. On May 2, 2011, the news that Osama Bin Laden, perhaps the most wanted man on earth was killed in a raid in Abbottabad in Pakistan took the world by storm.Although many suspected that he might have sought shelter in Pakistan, one had the impression for long that he and his followers were hiding in caves in remote parts of the frontier with Afghanistan. No one imagined that he was living quite brazenly in a cantonment town like Abbottabad. The compound where he was hiding was about only a 1,000 feet away from the Pakistan Military Academy. The operation that killed Bin Laden which was codenamed “Geronimo” involved two teams of twelve SEALs. It was nothing short of sensational. Would the true story of all that happened that night ever be told, we wondered. After all, the US had been hunting for Bin Laden since 2001.
Then came news that “No Easy Day” by Mark Owen a book about the raid, written by a SEAL who took part in the operation no less, is slated for a release on September 11. The book is already listed in the Top Ten in Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com! The book was supposedly written by “Mark Owen” but now comes news that the SEAL who seems to have recently retired has been identified. This makes “No Easy Day” all the more sensational even before its release. This book is described as the “first hand account of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden.” The SEAL (US Navy Commando) has been identified as Matt Bissonnette. This came about when Fox News splashed this to set the fox amongst the chickens, as it were.
People write under pseudonyms, which is a heavy term for what essentially is a pen name, for many reasons. The main reason, of course, is to avoid disclosing their real identity. Why would someone want to do that, you might wonder. Don’t they want the fame and success that comes when the book is a hit? The Owen/Bissonnette case points to the most common reason. It is used strategically to avoid bringing undue attention on the real author. As a fallout of this announcement that the real author had been identified, promptly came news that a call for his destruction in revenge, has come from radical Islamic groups, like Al-Qaida.
Another slant to the case is that some current and former SEALs have opposed the idea of such a book, which gives away much information about secret raids and operations. It’s against their code, they argue. The author could well find himself involved in an imbroglio about divulging operational details of the raid, though he has disguised the names of the SEALs who actually took part in the covert operation.
I am sure this book will be a sizzler and there will be more controversy to follow. What do you think? If you were Owen/Bissonnette, or indeed any other SEAL, should your lips remain SEALed?