I haven’t seen the movie “Lone Survivor,” but I recently picked up the 2007 book on which the film is based. The story chronicles the tragic fate of four Navy SEALS, outnumbered and outgunned by scores of Taliban fighters on a remote Afghan mountain in 2005.
The title of the book is the spoiler. Its author, Marcus Luttrell, is the lone survivor after fighting a desperate 24-hour running gun battle with Taliban fanatics.
But here’s the surprise: it wasn’t Afghan insurgents who killed his three comrades. No, American “liberals” were responsible for their deaths, says Luttrell.
My family has strong ties to the U.S. Navy, so I have enormous respect for the men of the Navy SEALS. They are the best of the best.
Luttrell tells of his training, a fearsomely brutal regimen designed to weed out not only the physically unfit but those lacking the mental and emotional toughness necessary to carry out highly classified missions behind enemy lines.
I would never make it. Neither would you.
As Luttrell repeatedly reminds us in his book, no other American military unit can do what the SEALS do. They are rigorously trained to fight our enemies on the land or sea in small, cohesive teams that move fast and silently, as they did the night President Obama sent SEAL Team Six to call on Osama bin Laden.
Luttrell reveals his dislike for “liberals” early on. He wonders why “politicians” have set up rules of engagement that forbid him from shooting first and asking questions later, apparently unaware he is fighting a pernicious enemy that hides among innocent civilians.
He also doesn’t seem to know that the ROE were handed down by the Pentagon under the direction of the Bush White House.
Luttrell says the secular Saddam was aiding the fanatically religious al Qaeda, a long-debunked myth. The sun rises out of the Pacific Ocean, according to Luttrell, and later he tells the reader Afghanistan is in Southeast Asia.
The ex-SEAL also states soldiers accused of crimes are tried in “civilian” courts when, in fact, all servicemen and women are subject the Uniform Military Code of Justice.
At one point, the SEALs worry about firing weapons because they will make too much noise. Later, Luttrell says his weapon has a silencer.
These inconsistencies set us up for what Luttrell claims took place on that lonely Afghan mountain top.
The four SEALS take up a position that hides them from their quarry, a Taliban honcho they’re out to kill or capture. Then three unarmed Afghanis stumble across them, presenting the Americans with a “conundrum,” as Luttrell describes it; kill the farmers or let them go?
Up to now, Luttrell has told us how smart, tough and resourceful the SEALs are; how self-sufficient, decisive and cold-blooded they can be in life or death situations. So what do these particular SEALs do?
According to Luttrell, their officer, Lt. Mike Murphy, held an election on the Afghanis’ fate.
I have read a lot of military literature but nowhere, ever can I recall a commander polling his subordinates about what to do in such a dire combat situation.
If they shot the three Afghans, Murphy warned the SEALs, “the liberal media will attack us without mercy…we will be charged with murder,” according to Luttrell who says the deciding vote fell to him.
“But my trouble is, I have another soul. A Christian soul,” writes the ex-SEAL. “I looked Mikey right in the eye, and said, ‘We gotta let ‘em go…I’d turned into a (expletive) liberal….’”
Thus, the Afghanis went free and liberals (or Jesus?) killed three brave Navy SEALs.
Luttrell’s implausible version of events reinforces the polarizing and utterly absurd myth that only conservatives are patriots. It’s very sad that he chose to politicize this otherwise inspiring story of selfless heroism.