Yesterday, Esquire published a report on the Navy SEAL who allegedly killed Osama bin Laden — what the raid was like through his eyes, and what his life is like in the aftermath. At a lengthy seven pages, though, many only read third-party accounts of the article.
You can read ours here.
Now, the Center for Investigative Reporting, which published the piece in cooperation with Esquire, has released a YouTube video using the SEAL’s own words to describe the dramatic events. His real voice is not used and the images are animated, but the story is so gripping that it hardly matters after a few minutes.
We’ve transcribed a few quotes from the movie to give you an idea.
Before the raid:
“If we only killed 5 or 6 guys a night, we were wasting our time…We’d go in and a guy would be sleeping. Up against the wall were his cologne, deodorant, soap, suicide vest, AK-47, and grenades…We had a target like that in Iraq….We ended up clearing about 7 or 8 houses; we killed an entire cell of Al-Qaeda. Probably 14 guys. No women were hurt, no children were hurt, but they were there. We were working with two dogs at the time — the woman’s quote in the newspaper was, ‘ninjas came with lions.’
“The SEAL commander, cool as ever, said, ‘Okay, we’re as close as we’ve ever been to UBL.’ There was none of that cheering bull***t. We were thinking, ‘Yeah, okay, good, it’s about time we killed this motherf***er.'”
When the CIA analyst made famous in “Zero Dark Thirty” asked him how he could be so calm, the SEAL replied: “We do this every night. We go to a house, we f*** with some people, we leave. This is just a longer flight.”
During the raid:
“My biggest concern was having to piss really bad, and then having to get off in a fight needing to pee. I used one of my water bottles. I peed in that, and actually carried it through the whole mission. I forgot until later, when I shot Bin Laden in the face, I had a bottle of piss in my pocket.”
“We’d always assumed we’d be surrounded at some point. You see the videos of him walking around, and he’s got all those jihadis, but they weren’t prepared. They got all complacent. They guys that could shoot, shot, but we were on top of them so fast…”
“One of the SEALS shot a guy and a woman. He told me, ‘Jesus, these women are jumping in front of these guys. They’re trying to martyr themselves.’ Another sign that this is a serious place.”
After the raid:
“I’m eating a breakfast sandwich, standing near bin Laden’s body, looking at a big screen TV with the president announcing the raid…thinking ‘how the f*** did I get here? This is too much.'”
“I deployed again to Afghanistan to show that I wasn’t a douche bag, that I’m still a part of this team and I believe what we’re doing. My feeling now has changed, which is part of the reason I got out. A lot of the missions they’re going on are going to be a waste of really good lives…I was just burned out, I’m done.”
Explaining security precautions his family has taken, the SEAL said: “[My ex-wife] has a packed suitcase with all the things the family needs for 4 days…my kids have a f***ing bolt bag, that’s what I call it…And if something comes up, I call her. Like get in the f***ing car, grab the suitcase, and just go.”
“The government doesn’t want us talking about anything so basically, I leave the Navy and, I can’t say anything. Here I am without a degree, and sixteen years of doing nothing.”
“I’d like to do something that has nothing to do with my past. I don’t want to carry a gun. I don’t have a need for excitement anymore, honestly. In 5 years, what I’d like to do is have a platform for guys who are in the same position as me right now, to be able to come out and get work in a field that they want, and then I’d like to have a foundation for the families as well. Families of guys from SEAL Team 6 that have died.”
Here’s the entire video, via the Center for Investigative Reporting: