Synopses & Reviews
When the citizen-soldiers of Beast 85 went off to fight the enemy, they could not have imagined that the largest obstacle they would face was not the suffocating heat, disease, or even the enemy itself, but an increasingly risk-averse high command and the modern American militarys culture of ""playing it safe."" Even while being shot at, they were not allowed to shoot back, ending up sitting on their hands for days and weeks on end. Then, the men of Beast 85 did what Green Berets do; they found a way to get the job done. They hunted, cornered, and captured some of the highest-level terrorists in Afghanistan, including 1) one of the Talibans top generals, 2) the man responsible for a brutal ethnic-cleansing campaign, and 3) a key player in the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud (the ""Lion of Panjshir"")a man who struck fear into Osama bin Ladens own cold and murderous heart. But their actions only seemed to rile the militarys play-it-safe leadership, who at every turn let the bad guys slip away to fight another day. That did not deter Beast 85, who proved themselves collectively to be one of the gutsiest and bravest units in the war. Written by the men who were there, Hunting al Qaeda takes no prisoners in its critical look at what went right (plenty, when they were allowed to do their job), what went wrong (plenty more), and what happens when Green Berets are unleashed in the most hostile place on the planet.
"In April 2002, Special Forces Team 2085 of the Virginia National Guard were 'ripped from their lives' and deployed to Afghanistan to aid in the hunt for the remnants of al Qaeda and their Taliban allies. Over the course of their six-month tour, they mounted 45 missions, captured three high-value targets and destroyed 79,000 pounds of weapons and ammunition. This volume by team members 'Red' and 'Captain,' however, focuses more on the story of their disillusionment than on their military successes. Frustrated that Special Forces troops 'were being demoralized and squandered' by career-minded officers, they conclude that 'our army is a wasteful, immobile, risk-averse outfit, whose purpose is simply to 'do time.'' This, of course, is the same army that routed the Taliban government in one month and toppled Saddam Hussein in 21 days. The account is rambling, often indecipherable and occasionally gratuitous-as when one of the authors refers to 9/11: 'I remember the day well.' Don't we all? Sometimes, it pays to remain anonymous. Other than the fact that it airs 'a lot of dirty laundry,' there's not much to recommend this book. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Canadian Army Journal, Spring 2007 “In terms of physical production, I would especially commend the staff at Zenith Press for their creative approach to Hunting Al Qaeda. Most publishers eschew maps and photographs in order to save money, but Zenith chose to use color photos. More importantly, the book jacket, when unfolded, has a 1:100,000 map of the BEAST 85 operating area printed on it, making following the operations much easier. Other publishers need to understand that military history needs maps; they can learn from the Zenith approach.”
StrategyWorld.com, Sept. 21, 2005“A rare inside look at Special Forces operations in Afghanistan ... Hunting al Qaeda makes a number of important points about the importance of speed in planning and execution, which were often lacking. Indeed, this book is likely to leave the reader with the impression that things went badly wrong in Afghanistan from the time the legions of staff arrived on the scene. It also illustrates the importance of flexibility and adaptability in the field … Hunting al Qaeda is a tale of real-life special operations worthy of Hollywood, and a stinging indictment of America’s ossified military bureaucracy. It is also the best and most compulsively readable book yet to emerge from the global War on Terror.”
About the Author
“Anonymous” is a composite of several members of Operational Detachment Alpha 2085, call sign Beast 85, a direct action assault team of Green Berets deployed to Afghanistan in 2002. In the interest of national security and the safety of their families, they have chosen not to reveal their identities.A captain in Vietnam in the 1960s, Gerald Schumacher went on to command a variety of post-Vietnam missions before retiring in 1997 as a full colonel. Schumacher served thirty-two years in the military, including twenty years as a Green Beret. He has been a guest lecturer at preeminent think-tank groups and has appeared numerous times on network television and national radio. Schumacher is also the author of To Be a U.S. Army Green Beret and A Bloody Business. He lives outside San Francisco, California.