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Early May 2011, in a dramatic late-night appearance at the White House, President Obama declared that "justice has been done" as he announced that Osama bin Laden was dead. After more than a decade of military operations across Central Asia and the Middle East, the Al Qaida leader who orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks was finally killed in a firefight with U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistan. Although this daring raid marked the end of the longest strategic manhunt in American history, bin Laden was not the first individual targeted as the objective of a military campaign. From Geronimo to Pancho Villa, to Manuel Noriega, to Saddam Hussein, the United States has deployed military forces to kill or capture a single person nearly a dozen times since 1885. Part military history, part action thriller, and part strategic policy analysis, Wanted Dead or Alive chronicles the extraordinary efforts of the military and intelligence agencies to bring America's enemies to justice.
From Mark Bowden, the preeminent chronicler of our military and special forces, comes The Finish, a gripping account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. With access to key sources, Bowden takes us inside the rooms where decisions were made and on the ground where the action unfolded. After masterminding the attacks of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden managed to vanish. Over the next ten years, as Bowden shows, America found that its war with al Qaeda—a scattered group of individuals who were almost impossible to track—demanded an innovative approach. Step by step, Bowden describes the development of a new tactical strategy to fight this war—the fusion of intel from various agencies and on-the-ground special ops. After thousands of special forces missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the right weapon to go after bin Laden had finally evolved. By Spring 2011, intelligence pointed to a compound in Abbottabad; it was estimated that there was a 50/50 chance that Osama was there. Bowden shows how three strategies were mooted: a drone strike, a precision bombing, or an assault by Navy SEALs. In the end, the President had to make the final decision. It was time for the finish.
In Jawbreaker Gary Berntsen, until recently one of the CIA’s most decorated officers, comes out from under cover for the first time to describe his no-holds-barred pursuit of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. With his unique mix of clandestine knowledge and paramilitary training, Berntsen represents the new face of counterterrorism. Recognized within the agency for his aggressiveness, Berntsen, when dispatched to Afghanistan, made annihilating the enemy his job description. As the CIA’s key commander coordinating the fight against the Taliban forces around Kabul, and the drive toward Tora Bora, Berntsen not only led dozens of CIA and Special Operations Forces, he also raised 2,000 Afghan fighters to aid in the hunt for bin Laden. In this first-person account of that incredible pursuit, which actually began years earlier in an East Africa bombing investigation, Berntsen describes being ferried by rickety helicopter over the towering peaks of Afghanistan, sitting by General Tommy Franks’s side as heated negotiations were conducted with Northern Alliance generals, bargaining relentlessly with treacherous Afghan warlords and Taliban traitors, plotting to save hostages about to be used as pawns, calling in B-52 strikes on dug-in enemy units, and deploying a dizzying array of Special Forces teams in the pursuit of the world’s most wanted terrorist. Most crucially, Berntsen tells of cornering bin Laden in the Tora Bora mountains—and what happened when Berntsen begged Washington to block the al-Qaeda leader’s last avenue of escape. As disturbingly eye-opening as it is adrenaline-charged, Jawbreaker races from CIA war rooms to diplomatic offices to mountaintop redoubts to paint a vivid portrait of a new kind of warfare, showing what can and should be done to deal a death blow to freedom’s enemies. CIA Commander Gary Berntsen on… His eyebrow-raising style: “Most CIA Case Officers advanced their careers by recruiting sources and producing intelligence, I took a more grab-them-by-the-neck approach…I operated on the principle that it was easier to seek forgiveness than ask for approval. Take risks, but make sure you’re successful. Success, not good intentions, would determine my fate.” Doing whatever it took: “I didn’t just want to survive: I wanted to annihilate the enemy. And I didn’t want to end up like one of my favorite historical characters—Alexander Burns…He was one of the first of more than 14,000 British soldiers to be wiped out by the Afghans in the First Afghan War. Like Burns before me, I was also an intelligence officer and spoke Persian. This was my second trip into Afghanistan, too. The difference, I told myself, was that Burns had been a gentleman and I would do whatever it took to win.” Dealing with a Taliban official who controlled American hostages: “Tell him that if he betrays me or loses the hostages I’ll spend every waking moment of my life hunting him down to kill him. Tell him I’m not like any American he has ever met.” The capabilities of his Tora Bora spotter team: “Working nonstop, the four men directed strike after strike by B-1s, B-2s, and F-14s onto the al-Qaeda encampment with incredible precision. Somehow through the massive bureaucracy, thousands of miles of distance [and] reams of red tape…the U.S. had managed to place four of the most skilled men in the world above the motherlode of al-Qaeda, with a laser designator and communications system linked to the most potent air power in history…As I listened over our encrypted radio network, one word kept pounding in my head: revenge.” Also available as a Random House AudioBook From the Hardcover edition.
The true story of the killing of bin Laden by author and former U.S. Navy SEAL Chuck Pfarrer On May 2, 2011, at 1:03 a.m. a satellite uplink was sent from Pakistan crackling into the situation room of the White House: "Geronimo, Echo, KIA." These words, spoken by a Navy SEAL, ended Osama bin Laden's reign of terror. SEAL Target Geronimo is the story of Neptune's Spear from the men who were there. After talking to members of the SEAL team involved in the raid, Pfarrer shares never-before-revealed details in an exclusive account of what happened as he takes readers inside the walls of Bin Laden's compound penetrating deep into the terrorist's lair to reach the exact spot where the Al Qaeda leader was cowering when the bullet entered his head. SEAL Target Geronimo is an explosive story of unparalleled valor and clockwork military precision carried out by the most elite fighting force in the world—the U.S. Navy's SEAL Team Six.
From the author of the New York Times bestselling Holy War, Inc., this is the definitive account of the decade-long manhunt for the world's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda expert and CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen paints a multidimensional picture of the hunt for Osama bin Laden over the past decade, including the operation that killed him. Other key elements of the book will include: - A careful account of Obama's decision-making process as the raid was planned - The fascinating story of a group of women CIA analysts who never gave up assembling the tiniest clues about bin Laden's whereabouts - The untold and action-packed history of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the SEALs - An analysis of what the death of bin Laden means for Al Qaeda and for Obama's legacy Just as Hugh Trevor-Roper's The Last Days of Hitler was the definitive account of the death of the Nazi dictator, Manhunt is the authoritative, immersive account of the death of the man who organized the largest mass murder in American history.
If the Marines are “the few, the proud,” Recon Marines are the fewest and the proudest. Nathaniel Fick’s career begins with a hellish summer at Quantico, after his junior year at Dartmouth. He leads a platoon in Afghanistan just after 9/11 and advances to the pinnacle—Recon— two years later, on the eve of war with Iraq. His vast skill set puts him in front of the front lines, leading twenty-two Marines into the deadliest conflict since Vietnam. He vows to bring all his men home safely, and to do so he’ll need more than his top-flight education. Fick unveils the process that makes Marine officers such legendary leaders and shares his hard-won insights into the differences between military ideals and military practice, which can mock those ideals. In this deeply thoughtful account of what it’s like to fight on today’s front lines, Fick reveals the crushing pressure on young leaders in combat. Split-second decisions might have national consequences or horrible immediate repercussions, but hesitation isn’t an option. One Bullet Away never shrinks from blunt truths, but ultimately it is an inspiring account of mastering the art of war.
The mission was to kill the most wanted man in the world--an operation of such magnitude that it couldn't be handled by just any military or intelligence force. The best America had to offer was needed. As such, the task was handed to roughly forty members of America's supersecret counterterrorist unit formerly known as 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta; more popularly, the elite and mysterious unit Delta Force. The American generals were flexible. A swatch of hair, a drop of blood, or simply a severed finger wrapped in plastic would be sufficient. Delta's orders were to go into harm's way and prove to the world bin Laden had been terminated. These Delta warriors had help: a dozen of the British Queen's elite commandos, another dozen or so Army Green Berets, and six intelligence operatives from the CIA who laid the groundwork by providing cash, guns, bullets, intelligence, and interrogation skills to this clandestine military force. Together, this team waged modern siege of epic proportions against bin Laden and his seemingly impenetrable cave sanctuary burrowed deep inside the Spin Ghar Mountain range in eastern Afghanistan. Over the years, since the battle ended, scores of news stories have surfaced offering tidbits of information about what actually happened in Tora Bora. Most of it is conjecture and speculation. This is the real story of the operation, the first eyewitness account of the Battle of Tora Bora, and the first book to detail just how close Delta Force came to capturing bin Laden, how close U.S. bombers and fighter aircraft came to killing him, and exactly why he slipped through our fingers. Lastly, this is an extremely rare inside look at the shadowy world of Delta Force and a detailed account of these warriors in battle.
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