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The book sparking a political battle

The yet-to-be-published book on the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden could influence the outcome of the US presidential election, writes Liam Quinn.
President Barack Obama delivers a statement in the East Room of the White House on the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011 (Source: White House, US)

As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney continued their campaigns around the nation, publishing house Penguin made an announcement that could potentially shape the closing stages of the 2012 election race.

The publisher announced the upcoming release of ‘No Easy Day: The First Hand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden’ which has been described as a detailed first-person account of the operation that resulted in the death of the world’s most wanted man.

According to the publisher, the author gives a ‘blow-by-blow narrative of the assault, beginning with the helicopter crash that could have ended the author’s life straight through to the radio call confirming Bin Laden’s death.” It further stated that the book is “an essential piece of modern history’.

Penguin also announced the book’s release date: September 11.

Both the subject matter and timing of the release mean that the book – written anonymously by one of the Navy Seals that was part of the team that carried out the mission – will certainly impact the final few weeks leading up to election day on November 6.

The Obama camp must be thrilled with the impending release.

The capture and death of Bin Laden is seen by way to be one of the most clear-cut successes of the President’s first term in office. Ever since the September 11 attacks in 2001, bringing the man behind the days events was one of the major goals for the United States.

The fact that Obama was the one at the helm and oversaw the completion of the mission from a rather tense looking control room, is a unique political tool that, obviously, no other candidate possesses.

The Republicans know how damaging the Bin Laden issue could be to their presidential-hopeful, which would justify why they lobbied to delay the initially planned October release of Zero Dark Thirty; a film by Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, saying that it would dramatise Obama’s signature achievement on the eve of the election.

And, while it may be somewhat comical for the Republican Party to complain about overstated grandeur after their previous President wasn’t above posing under gloating banners, they are certainly correct.

They should be equally concerned about the pending Penguin release, especially given the publisher’s planned print run of 300,000 hardcover editions of the book.

As Mitt Romney and other Republicans line up around the block to tell the world all the things that Obama hasn’t been able to accomplish in his first term, this book provides an in-depth analysis of something that the President did, which his Republican predecessor could not.

And, while we shouldn’t expect to see the President appearing at any book signings or opening promoting the release, it wouldn’t be a surprise if it managed to come up in one or two of his public addresses.

After all, in many ways it’s his trump card, it’d be unwise not to play it.

Liam Quinn is a second-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University, who is currently on exchange at Michigan State University.  He’s covering the US elections for upstart.  You can follow him on Twitter: @liamquinn23

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