Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from KBL: Kill Bin Laden: A Novel Based on True Events, John Weisman's semi-fictional account of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden.
The retired Airborne ranger stepped up to the body bag on the plowed wheat field just as the two young SEAls were about to load it into the big enabler hello. He put his arm up like a traffic cop and shouted over the whine of the big twin idling lycoming jet engines, “Hey, dude, lemme see him quick.”
“For sure, bro.” The SEALs lowered the bag back onto the deck, and the baby-faced one unzipped it from the top. The ranger hit the button on his green-lensed Surefire and peered down. it was him, all right, even though the face was distorted. bullets tend to do that. especially barnes 70-grain TSx fired at a distance of under fifteen feet.
One round had hit just above the left eye. His head must have been turned toward the shooter because it exited out behind the right ear, taking a fair amount of skull and brain matter with it. between the green light and the ranger’s night-vision equipment, the blood and brain goo registered black. But that wasn’t all. The shock and kinetic energy had ballooned the head itself so it looked almost hydrocephalic.
Nasty stuff, those hand-loads.
Even in the green light the ranger could see that the corpse’s unkempt scraggly beard and kinky hair had turned mostly gray. So the sonofabitch had dyed his hair to make all those videos. That brought a smile to the ranger’s face. He thought, Wonder what it says in the Quran about using Just for Jihadis.
He reached down, which took some effort, and pulled the zipper to waist level.
Whoa, Crankshaft’d taken a wholesome burst dead-center mass. Four, maybe five, maybe more rounds. Turned most of his chest cavity into squishy, bloody-colored jelly. Faint fecal scent told the ranger maybe they’d even nicked the colon.
No way Washington was going to admit to any of that. The ranger made himself a bet that the official report would read something to the effect of one round to the chest and one round to the head. After all, we wear the White Hats. Turning the architect of 9/11 into hamburger? That would be worse than politically incorrect. it would be . . . inhuman.
Still, the sight brought a smile to his face. The kids did good today. no embarrassing arm or leg wounds.
A clean kill.
The best kind. Next to a dirty kill, that is. The Ranger, he knew all about dirty kills.
He turned toward the young SEAl. Shouted above the jet whine, “He say anything?”
The kid shook his head. “not a word. Sank like a sack of you-knowwhat.”
The other SEAL adjusted the sling on his suppressed short-barreled rifle as the ranger hitched up his long, baggy trousers, trousers that covered a quarter-million-dollars’ worth of prosthetic legs. The SEAL pointed. “Where’d you lose ’em?”
The ranger pulled the Velcro tighter on the vest and body armor he’d been given. It was way too big. He’d lost twenty, twenty-five pounds in the past half year. “Iraq.”
The ranger used his hands to reinforce the message. “Zero-four!”
The SEAL caught sight of the ranger’s ruined hands. His expression showed respect. He pointed at the prosthetic. “How they work?”
“Pretty good. They’re low mileage, though. Tell you in about ten years and fifty thousand miles.” The ranger gestured toward the women and children, all flexicuffed and sitting against the compound’s outer wall atop a clump of wild cannabis. “What are they gonna do with them?”
“Leave ’em here for the Pakis.”
The Ranger nodded his head approvingly. “Way it should be.”
He pivoted the flashlight to illuminate his way toward the chopper’s lowered ramp and half-turned.
Then turned back. “nice work,” he told the SEAls. “Bravo Zulu. Now, go put him on board.”