The Unquiet Professional


Book: No Easy Day

Authors: Mark Owen with Kevin Maurer

Publisher: Penguin

Price: Rs 499

Pages: 313

Presidential speeches laced with rhetoric flourish, media spin that appeared like gung-ho patriotism,  Hollywood movies that concealed propaganda under the garb of filmmaking and memoirs written by the participants have formed America's larger war narrative. The aim is never to make public the realities inside the trenches but to create a "regime of truth" where the "other" equals evil. Thus there is a strict control on not only what should be remembered but also what must be forgotten. No Easy Day — a first-hand account of the late night raid on a compound in Abbottabad last year in which 24 highly-trained American commandos flew deep into Pakistan, avoided detection and killed Osama Bin Laden is yet another chapter in an enduring narrative that has formed the core of America's view of itself where each battle starts with an attack by the evil Goliath and ends with the victory of the David. Unlike the defeat of Japan in 1945, which gave closure to the Pearl Harbor attack, Bin Laden's death, however, hasn't downed curtains on the "war on terror". This asymmetrical warfare that pitted Al Qaeda and its allied groups against the US was triggered before the horrendous attacks on September 11, 2001. Unlike its previous battles, this war has changed the "land of freedom'' into what Tom Engelhardt calls the United States of Fear.

Though an addition to the narcissistic narrative of America's war machine in their fight against the ragtag armies of "terror", No Easy Day is an important document if read as an American soldier's perspective, who travels miles to fight and puts his life in harm's way. Matt Bissonnette — a commando with US Naval Special Warfare Group (DEVGRU) or SEAL Team Six — who wrote the book under the pseudonym Mark Owen, regularly reminds readers that it is not his tale but the story of a group of men who "served something greater than ourselves".

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