Lone Survivor: the Book not the Movie

Written By: sherridaley - Jan• 01•15

lone survivorBecause that’s the kind of chick I am. I read books.  I want good stories and great writing, preferably together, and I almost didn’t finish Lone Survivor because the first third — almost half — of the book is not particularly good writing. It’s repetitive and ordinary, all about training to become a Navy SEAL: grueling, unbelievable, inhuman training which made me wonder if these men were really from this planet.  I have always admired Navy SEALs, but “admire” is not a big enough word now. I am in awe.

But I didn’t put the book down. I wanted that story, but frankly, I was exhausted running to and from the mess hall, swimming with combat boots on, climbing and crawling and shouting and rolling in the sand, and then running and climbing and crawling some more in wet gear and sandy underwear.  Their commitment and fervor stunned me.

And their talent with weapons and maps and military technology, radio transmitters, strobe lights and lasers. These men could find their way out of flooded catacombs, hog-tied and blindfolded, I am sure.

But I had to cut through some of the training chapters to get to the 24-hour  battle in the brutal Afghanistan mountains which led to the deaths of three of the Navy’s most well-trained, focused, and fiercely patriotic men. I wanted the story.

I’ve seen great war movies before, we all have, but none had exposed what the Geneva Convention, the Rules of Engagement, and the free world’s media have done to make it all but impossible for the United States military to win a war in the Middle East. Men who are risking their lives to protect us here at home, reading books and eating bad carbohydrates, must consider whether or not the American media will portray them as murderers before pulling the trigger in a situation where they KNOW they should kill.  Never have I read anywhere how acutely aware are soldiers of their vulnerability to their own country.

Luttrell, the lone survivor of Operation Redwing, explains that the enemy knows this, and they send their bombs and ammunition on the backs of goats, shepherded by unarmed men, knowing that even though our soldiers know that is a military convoy, they cannot shoot — because the goat herders look like ordinary peasants. And they have no guns.

It was the uneasy awareness that their own country could ruin their lives, that they could go to prison for doing their job, that made Luttrell the deciding vote to let a trio of goat herders free, their goats’ bells tinkling, when chances were good that the goat herders would give away their position.

And they did.

The resulting kill-fest was bloody and fast, 200 or more Taliban against four men. And one survived.

Lutrell also wrote about the unsettling hatred that he saw and felt there, and the lack of regard for personal life. Their own as well as for their enemy.  I did not come away with a feeling of kindness for my fellow man, despite the Pashtuns who risked their own lives – the lives of every man, woman, and child in the village – to rescue, harbor, and get Luttrell to safety. They did not do it because of the love of their fellow man; they did it because of an age-old tradition, older than rocks, older than hate.

I want to see the movie to see if Luttrell’s story has been white-washed, if the producers/writers took out the excoriating of the media and the Rules of Engagement.

And I wonder how many police officers, should they read this book, are feeling a teeth-grinding empathy.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. charlie jacobellis says:

    lone survivor is one of my favorite books and movies. my dream is and always was to be a Navy SEAL I will do whatever it takes to get there. i like your webite

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