“People in America get up and go to their nine-to-five jobs every day and are oblivious to all these battles and wars and people dying every minute all over the world. This is life. This is how other countries live. This is a daily occurrence in some places.” And so the author sets the stage for just how frequent, indiscriminate and bloody these events are. The CIA security contractors, Zuckoff among them, are not interested in the politics or diplomacy. That is what makes this book so compelling, they did their duty and Zuckoff sticks to telling that story alone like a good soldier.
Of course, I was interested in the fractured and fantastical chain of command that led to the loss of two geographic locations and lives. In these issues, debate persists and will for some time. The loss of an ambassador should warrant the scrutiny. But it is those thirteen hours that are riveting. One feels the crushing atmosphere. There is the bowel-loosening firefights, adrenaline pumping chases, and worse, the waiting for what is to come.
I was pondering Black Hawk Down just as this passage arrived on the page, “Tig had been thinking about the aftermath of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia, memorialized in Black Hawk Down, particularly the part when locals had dragged the bodies of American soldiers through the streets.” That though would have me fight to the last.
We all know the results of that evening and how the contractors were recognized, “Although the operators fought the battle and by all accounts saved about twenty American lives, because they were neither CIA staffers nor active military personnel they were deemed ineligible for even higher awards, awards that went to other men who played smaller roles and never fired a shot." It is gratifying to know they have been rewarded with this book. On a disappointing note, it is a huge shame that the movie version of the book is so undeniably awful.
At the beginning it says that this also happened in 1967! Tells the stories of private security (former military) who reside in a CIA outpost called 'The Annex'. Profiles those that reside there and mentions Ambassador Chris's activities.
When the attack first occurs they are prevented from going. When they get there the place is on fire. They rescue who they can and return to The Annex where they get attacked. Unknown how the baddies knew where they were. Swearing. Insightful.