Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Naval Special Forces DEVGRU, on the other hand....
I have been a fan of SEAL Team Six since reading "Rogue Warrior" for the first time. Some current DEVGRU members may bristle at that suggestion, since its author, Richard Marcinko, is at the same time a true American hero and a convicted felon, and therefore somewhat controversial among the Teams. Count me among those -- unworthy to hold an opinion on the matter though I be -- who consider Cmdr. Marcinko's service to his country to far outweigh whatever his shortcomings. The fact that his legacy endures to this day and was on display over the past weekend means we owe him a great debt of honor. DEVGRU was drawn up by him, designed from the ground up to do exactly what they just did and do it efficiently and successfully. The culmination of this is the Team he founded just brought down one of the most vile terrorists the world has ever known, and made us all safer in the process.
It is also worth noting that not only did someone have to have the Team in place and draw up the operation that brought down bin Laden, but someone had to make the call to execute that operation. Our President this weekend made what is to my mind one of the gutsiest and most politically dangerous calls of any President in recent memory when he gave the go-ahead to proceed with a SEAL insertion rather than a drone or missile attack. If things had gone wrong, he was a guaranteed one-termer. And they could have easily gone wrong. We flew 2 helicoptors into sovereign airspace of a foreign nation, dropped 25 SEALS into a fortified compound, and had a long and hairy firefight with hostile forces bent on our destruction. One can easily imagine the bodies of dead SEALs dragged through the streets of Islamabad. Instead, we emerged with what is by all reports invaluable intel and assets (not to mention Geronimo, EKIA) and we didn't lose a single man in the process. The jury is still out on a second term. But President Obama has earned my respect and admiration. Our nation is safer today for his courage in making that call. When we recite the petition in the Liturgy this weekend "for the President of the United States and all civil authorities, and for our Armed Forces everywhere, let us pray to the Lord," God help me to remember to cross myself. In addition to our admiration, respect, honor and gratitude, all of these men deserve our prayers.
I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
-- John Stuart Mill
Thanks be to God for our armed forces, and particularly DEVGRU, and for the President of the United States, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA and all of those involved in executing this operation. We have been kept free by the exertions of better men than ourselves. May God preserve each and every one of them.