Where the book shines is in Bowden's reconstruction and refined analysis of the intelligence operations that turned up bin Laden's location.
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The book also succeeds in its artful portrait of Obama as commander in chief. And while parts of it have been told, Barack Obama himself has confided in only one writer about all the details. And he is Mark Bowden. The Finish describes a new kind of war fightingthe fusion of intelligence from vast and scattered sourcesto track and apprehend, or kill, the enemy.
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It's a gripping tale. It has goodies and baddies, a long, slow build to the climax, exotic locations and lots of hardware.
The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden
Bowden [shows] how success in the raid last May was the culmination not just of a decade of often tedious data-crunching by the CIA and other analysts, but of a vast and ongoing effort within the American security establishment and government to develop a new range of capabilities. How the Americans finally got their man is an extraordinary tale and Bowden does it justice. Bowden reviews the evolutionary progress made in intelligence processing and military capabilities that led to the raid on Abbottabad.
The Finish is at its best when Mr.
Bowden goes deep into mission planning, gameboarding the choice of means of attackair strike? Adept at maintaining suspense even when the outcome is widely known, Bowden also makes judicious assessments of how much credit Obama deserves -- and the impact of the assassination on al Qaeda.
There is an excellent setting-the-record-straight section at the end that has been missing in other volumes. Many see Bowden as one of the most respected writers covering the U.
According to Seymour Hersh , the reporter renowned for breaking the My Lai and Abu Ghraib stories, this is a fiction constructed by the Obama administration. Hersh maintains that Bin Laden was given up by a rogue Pakistani official in exchange for the multimillion-dollar reward that was on offer; that he had been held prisoner by the Pakistanis since ; that Pakistan was then complicit in the navy Seal operation; and that Bin Laden was shot dead in cold blood. All these allegations came out in a long piece Hersh wrote for the London Review of Books last year.
Death of Osama bin Laden - Wikipedia
It has now been collected into a book along with three other pieces about Syria, also originally published in the LRB. Neither time nor a shared book cover has added much to these endeavours. Of greater significance is the question of whether it was the Assad regime or al-Nusra that used sarin gas in an attack on Ghouta on 21 August Elsewhere — notably in the Guardian — evidence has been produced to show that the Syrian military have indeed stockpiled the same type of sarin, whereas there is no evidence that al-Nusra had any track record with it.
These points matter.
But Hersh is far too one-eyed in his approach and his prose, which has the unyielding quality of a conspiracy theorist buttonholing you at a pub bar, to brook contradiction.