Monday, November 19, 2007

November Book Review

Protect and Defend

As a service to my loyal readers I'm taking this time to opine on the two books I just finished.

First was the much anticipated, Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn.

Protect And Defend was devoured in 4 days. It’s an amazing storyline likened to the “24” series. Picking up where Acts of Treason left us, wondering if Stu Garret will ever be brought to justice.

In the first chapter, Garret is living the high life on his boat off the coast of Puerto Golfito. Rapps team has kept Garret under tight surveillance for the last year, noting his patterns, waiting for the perfect moment to present itself to the patient executioner.
Yes, justice was served, Mitch Rapp style.

This book focuses on the kidnapping of Irene Kennedy after a meeting in Iraq with an Iranian counsel member. When an Israeli agent prematurely destroyed one of their nuclear facilities, Iran seizes an opportunity to execute a series of self-destructive acts. This forces Rapp to race against the clock in order to rescue Irene for the torturous captors.

A gripping episode and a quick read for any fan. I can’t wait for the next October release, there’re loose ends that need to be tied up. Flynn is sure to deliver a tenth book in the Mitch Rapp novel series.

Lone Survivor; The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10

Marcus Luttrell is that Lone Surivior.

Like many of you, I remember the news “blip”, in the summer of 2005, reporting 16 Marine Special Forces and Seals were killed when the Chinook carrying them was shot down by Taliban terrorists. We all saw the footage from arab television, reveling their victory in the mountains of Afghanistan. The largest loss of life in Seal history. What we didn’t hear was the story of the men aboard that chopper and the men they were going to assist. Marcus Luttrell tells us that story.

Luttrell takes the reader from his childhood in Texas, his Seal training in Coronado California and ultimately to the Hindu Kush mountain range in Afghanistan.

We wouldn’t have heard about the Chinook downing and Luttrell wouldn’t have written this book save the fear of being prosecuted by a civilian court.

Their mission was to capture or kill a top al Qaeda leader known to be embedded with the Taliban. While covertly pursuing the terrorist 3 goat herders crossed their path. During the interrogation, hate emanated from the herders. Although they were unarmed their support for the Taliban was clear. Under “normal” conditions the correct military decision would be to kill them, without further discussion. One could not know their intentions and ultimately they let them go. A move that proved deadly.

As suspected, Taliban forces arrived within the hour. Gallantly the Seals fought against a 35 to 1 ratio, killing a third of the Taliban militia.
Luttrell chronicles the firefight and how Danny Dietz, Matthew Axelson (aka Axe) and Michael “Mikey” Murphy fought to the death. With critical wounds, these men continued to believe they could beat this ragtag band of murderers. As the battle raged on and one man dead, Mikey Murphy needed to call for assistance and sacrificed himself by entering the openness of a ravine to request air support. This too proved fatal.

With a shot to the chest, Murphy connected to HQ and made his request, “My men are taking heavy fire…. We’re getting picked apart here. My guys are dying out here… we need help.” Right then Mikey took a bullet in the back, slumping forward and dropped the phone and his rifle. Bracing himself, Murphy picked them both up, sat straight and once again spoke to HQ saying “Roger that, sir. Thank you.”.

The support troops, the 16 Seals and Special Forces who perished, immediately sprung into action. They knew going out in daylight was a risk, again, proving fatal.

Alone on the side of a mountain, Luttrell found himself badly wounded, (3 shattered vertebrae and a torn rotator cuff) and vulnerable. He needed to put some distance between him and the taliban, who were now scampering towards the burning Chinook. This gave Luttrell time to move.

Luttrell recounts his protection from al Qeada and taliban forces after being rescued by afghan tribesmen. Historic tribal law called “lokhay warkawal”, (meaning giving a pot) saved Marcus Luttrell from being the star in a taliban snuff film. This afghan clan vowed to fight to the death and defend Luttrell from those searching for him.

Four days later American Special Forces rescued Marcus Luttrell.

Throughout the book Luttrell tells us, from a military standpoint, how the media and liberals back home who tie their hands by dictating the rules of engagement. Forgetting the enemy isn’t fighting by the same rules.

This was the best book I’ve read in a long time. I cannot emphasize enough the need for this story to be told. If this was made into a movie, it’d be a blockbuster. Get it, you won’t be sorry.

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