Peter Bergen is the journalistic expert on reporting on the terrorist central al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. He interviewed him in the late 90’s wrote
definitive books and now, in Manhunt , Bergen picks up the thread with this carefully crafted yet broad account of the pursuit and killing of bin Laden.
There are new details of bin Laden’s flight after the
crushing defeat of the Taliban to Tora Bora, where American forces came
startlingly close to capturing him, and of the fugitive leader’s attempts to find
a secure hiding place. As the only journalist to gain access to bin Laden’s
Abbottabad compound before the Pakistani government demolished it, Bergen
paints a vivid picture of bin Laden’s grim, Spartan life in hiding and his
struggle to maintain control of al-Qaeda even as American drones systematically
picked off his key lieutenants.
It was, as Peter Bergen points out, the most
intensive and expensive manhunt of all time. The cost, simply in terms of funds funnelled to American intelligence services over the past decade,was somewhere around half a trillion dollars. The indirect costs in
government regulation, control and erosion of American rights and image was
incalculable. Whether all that was
necessary or not is a controversial subject.
The manhunt and threat to American existence was hyped beyond all common
sense. An initially small group of
fanatics did NOT pose an existential threat to the American nation as Fascism
and Communism did in the twentieth century.
Our response was a " War of Terror” , a misguided and mismanaged war of
choice in Iraq and the dropping the eye on the ball in Afghanistan led to a ten
year chase which only President Obama and a refocused and energized CIA and
other security agencies finally brought to a successful conclusion with the
killing of the master terrorist…..