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Zero Light Thirty (or Twenty, Whatever)

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The movie Zero Dark Thirty  came out to great acclaim, Hollywood doing its usual job of cheerleading for America's darkest deeds. It's fiction, of course, loosely based on loose facts supplied by a truth-loose Pentagon, and "unauthorized" books whose versions have that sweet tang of the illicit. The Pentagon was damned angry about the unauthorized stuff, you might remember. And it strikes me as rude to make a big-budget Hollywood film of a version of the events that the Pentagon -- which, let's remember, did put its men on the line -- disliked to the point of threatening lawsuits. Still, in the interests of entertaining and entrancing Americans, everyone seems to have put aside their differences.

What I've disliked about the version (well, versions) of the raid that we've all heard is that the facts could fit a quite different story. One fat, prominent, braying fact, ignored far and wide, is that the CIA, in seven months of surveillance, neither saw nor heard bin Laden. By D-Day, the best they could give the leaders were certain odds that he was actually in the house. So I thought I would put together my own version of the event. It wouldn't make such a great movie, now that I think of it, more a good one-act play on the order of Twelve Angry Men. But with regard to the facts, it seems to me more valid than the movie version.

(And just for the record, I reiterate: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.)


(*based on the true facts of an untrue story)

The Rainmaker had worked as a government employee -- he had no illusions about using the term "served" -- for forty-seven years, and had never lost his raw wonder at the blockheads, both the wide- and narrow-eyed, who played the World's Great Game. Watching the bickering at the far end of the table, he resorted to his usual trick to stay awake: with one hand, he took apart a pen -- unscrewed the middle, pulled out the cartridge, pulled off its spring, held all four components parallel and flat in his palm, then put it all back together again. He was not ambidextrous, but with the decades and the long moaning meetings, he could do this with either hand, and so fast that anyone who saw would gasp in amazement -- but he did it under the table.

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"A Legacy of Chains and Other Stories" is Philip Kraske's lastest book. It can be found at his website:

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