Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Somebody's gotta do it

Dear Friends and Students:

I think it is about time I revealed to you something many of you have long suspected anyway. These suspicions I can understand. You see how my legs flex as I mount the stairs, you watch my shoulders and pectorals as I jot things on the whiteboard, and you wonder: "Is this guy really just a teacher?" Today I intend to answer this question once for all.

In fact the suspicions are correct. Besides being a language teacher and (sometimes humorous) literary satirist, I am also a Navy SEAL. I admit it. So there.

But why now? Why reveal this double life after having covered it up for so long? It's a matter of the truth really. Making a truthful record for history, I mean. Because some of the things being said in the media about the recent action in Pakistan just aren't true. The following entries from my journal should clear up some of these questions. Also explain why I wasn't in class Monday.


Sunday, May 1, 14:00 Taipei

I'm having a late Sunday brunch with the wife and Barack calls.

"Eric, we've got something we need you in on. We're picking you up in 10."

"Whoah, wait a minute! I just sat down to lunch. What is it?"

"I'm putting together the best team possible. You've got to be in, Eric."


"GPS says you're at the Taipei Hyatt. Be outside in ten minutes. Front entrance."

"Barry, c'mon, we've been through this. I'm not going to Benghazi. I don't even think we should be putting people on the ground there."

"This isn't Libya. Ten minutes. Front entrance. You'll be briefed on the way."

My wife could see by my face.

"Barry?" she said.

"Sorry. Something's up."

Sunday, May 1, 16:30 En route

On a transport with Luke and Rashid, from CIA. Luke is shitting bricks. He's going over the layout of this compound in north Pakistan they assume bin Laden is in. I'm highly doubtful, but yes, the compound looks interesting. Should be fun, whoever's in it. We'll probably be shooting up some Pakistani gangster lair.

Sunday, May 1, 18:40 Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, Uzbekistan

What a laugh! They flew my SEAL combat uniform out special (they had to take out of the glass case at West Point where it was on display with some of the other items I used during the Achille Lauro hostage rescue). But the uniform doesn't quite fit. Hard to get zipped.

Don: "You're getting slack over there. Too many of those Chinese dumplings."

I: "Yeah, we'll see who's slack if it's really the Sheik in that compound."

Monday, May 2, 10:00 En route

There are eight of us. Three of the guys I've never met. They're also the only three against my idea of getting curry at Abdullah's in Islamabad before we hit the compound. But we take a vote, so curry it is.

"I interrupted my lunch at the Hyatt for this," I point out.

Monday, May 2, 12:50 Islamabad

What I like about Abdullah is he's always discrete. After we'd landed the choppers on the building across the street, he welcomed us into his restaurant and led us to a private room on the second floor.

"I see you're on business today," he says. "No one notice you this way."

The curry is as usual. Best on the planet. Even the new guys agree.

Monday, May 2, 14:30 Leaving Abbottabad

One of the choppers had trouble going in. We had to scuttle it. Turns out it really was bin Laden's compound. I was surprised he didn't have more firepower. A cakewalk really. We worked our way through the rooms and finally up to the third floor. The Sheik was in there with a woman, only the two of them. I told him to let her leave first, we wouldn't hurt her. No response. I repeated it in Arabic. Then the woman yells out, "I will die with Osama! We are martyrs, you crusader swine!"

"Have it your way," I barked in Arabic in reply. (My Arabic's kind of rusty. Listening to the tape later and checking it, I see what I really said was probably more like, "Have it a haddock." Oh, well.)

It's true they were both unarmed. But I didn't know that as I swung round the corner and took aim. The woman threw a TV remote control at me and mid-flight I thought it might be a grenade. So they both got it.

When we stormed the compound, Bin Laden and the woman were watching reruns of old Glenn Beck shows with Arabic subtitles. There were a few other DVDs there: Finding Nemo, It's a Wonderful Life, and Batman Begins.

People are talking about the Pakistan government being embarrassed that bin Laden was living comfortably not far from their top military academy. What I want to know is--what about Pakistan Blockbuster? Bin Laden's Blockbuster ID was right there on the coffee table. The Batman movie was two days overdue.

Tuesday, May 3, 14:00 Taipei

I twisted my neck raiding that compound. The wife: "Don't even tell me."

"Abdullah's doing well," I said.

I was younger in this photo. That's me on the right.

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