Review: Kill Bin Laden

It’s been so long since I posted a book review. It’s not that I stopped reading books, it’s that I just didn’t finish any. After carefully cataloging my library, I realized that I had started over thirty books in the past several months without finishing a single one. Time to get focused. So here’s a review of a book I got (and finished) over the holidays.

Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander’s Account of the Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted Man

Writing under the pseudonym Dalton Fury, a commander of the elite Delta Force tells about the attack on Taliban and al Qaeda forces at Tora Bora in late 2001, when Usama bin Laden escaped capture. Here’s a little bit about how Delta operates, and when I read it I thought about the company I work for:

In Delta, as in the most successful Fortune 500 companies like GE, Microsoft, and Cisco, the organization makes the individual its number-one priority. It teaches, nurtures, and implements bottom-up planning. That is the direct opposite of the U.S. Army’s structured and doctrinally rigid military decision-making process, which is too slow and inflexible for fast-paced, high-risk commando missions or minds, and one undeniably driven from the top down.

This won’t be much of a book review, other than to say that Fury provides a detailed account of his operators and their frustrations with the mujahideen soldiers hired by the CIA to help in the battle. Another quote:

The fundamental Delta principle has long been “Surprise, Speed, and Violence of Action.” It aplies to commando tactics. If during an assault you lose one element, the implied response is to increase it in the next. For example, if we lost surprise during a stealthy approach to a target before reaching the breach point, we would increase the pace from a deliberate move to a stepped-up jog or sprint. At the breach, if it became obvious to the team leader that whatever or whoever waited on the opposite side of the door or window was alert and expecting visitors, we escalated to an even more violent explosive entry.

In writing this review, my mind is obviously more focused on strategy and tactics than recounting Fury’s tale. But his is a story worth reading.

Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander’s Account of the Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted Man

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