Top positive review
Shooting Osama Bin Laden
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2017
"The Operator: Firing the Shots that killed Osama Bin Laden" by Robert O'Neill, (publ. Apr. 25, 2017); 358 pp, hardback. (Amazingly, as I write this review while holding the book in hand, one can read almost the entire book as provided for in Amazon Books!)
This book regards the experiences of the author in serving as a U.S. Navy SEAL member on some 400+ "missions", with his account of being the person who actually shot and killed Osama Bin Laden -- the Islamist who coordinated the hijacked airplane, suicidal Islamikazi attacks on 9/11/2001 that destroyed several skyscrapers in NYC and damaged the Pentagon.
The author recounts growing up in Montana and the road that led to his joining the U.S. Navy to become a SEAL. He recounts his SEAL training -- a trying, exhausting experience that one has read in many other SEAL-training books written by other SEAL-school graduates. Following SEAL training, he discusses other combat-oriented training that he undertook during his 16 years as a SEAL.
What, of course, is of primary interest here is his account as to how his SEAL team trained for their mission to "neutralize" Osama Bin Laden at his secretive Abbottabad, Pakistan compound. I'm not going to recount the author's entire 25-page raid of rappelling from a helicopter into Osama's high-walled "fortress", but will quote the author as claiming that as he climbed up a stairwell to Osama's third floor: "Osama bin Laden stood near the entrance at the foot of the bed, taller and thinner than I'd expected, his beard shorter and hair whiter....In less than a second, I aimed above the woman's right shoulder [who was standing in front of Osama] and pulled the trigger twice. Bin Laden's head split open, and he dropped" (p. 310). Well, there's more to the author's account as to how his team searched through the building for documents and computers for intelligence data, and their escape back to their Afghanistan base.
About a year-and-a-half after shooting bin Laden, the author decided to retire -- but still about 3 years short of being able to retire from the military and qualify for a monthly pension. Towards the end of his SEAL career, he came under criticism from other SEALs that he was planning on quitting early in order to "cash in" on writing a book such as this. The author was bothered by such criticism, and he pondered in his concluding paragraph: "I've had many moments when I've wondered if being the one who killed Osama bin Laden was the best thing that ever happened to me, or the worst. I'm still trying to figure that out" (p. 336).
Even if the author hadn't been the SEAL who downed Osama, his recounting of his other combat experiences would still make this book an interesting read. I highly recommend it.