We sleep peaceably in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready to violence on our behalf.”

             That quote has been applicable since almost the beginning of time; certainly since the formation of nation states. The most well-known example of modern times will celebrate its anniversary this month, five years after assaulters from SEAL Team 6 conducted a daring mission that killed Osama Bin Laden.

It was a moonless night on May 2, 2011 when the squadron of SEALs infiltrated Pakistani air space in two stealth Blackhawks and took out the terrorist with a double tap to the head. What’s unique in this case is that we know those specifics, and even some of the names and faces of the men behind the op.

We know the night was moonless from former SEAL Team 6 operator Matt Bissonnette’s book “No Easy Day,” where he described the mission in detail. We know it was a bullet to the head from his SEAL teammate Rob O’Neil, who revealed on 60 Minutes that he was the one to fire those first deadly shots. We know that the Blackhawks were stealth after one of the choppers used in the raid crashed and our administration had to scramble to recover the top-secret technology. We even know that it was SEAL Team 6 because the president, to that group’s dismay, publicly admitted it, even releasing official White House photographs of President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in the Situation Room as they spoke with Admiral (SEAL) William McRaven during the mission.

In fact, we know more about Operation Neptune Spear than we probably ever thought we would, and some would argue, should.

Navy SEAL Lt. Forrest Crowell recently had his master thesis, entitled “Navy SEALs Gone Wild: Publicity, Fame and the Loss of the Quiet Professional” publicly dissected on SOFREP.com, a popular website run by former SpecOps forces about the Special Operations community. If it isn’t clear from the title of his paper, the still active duty SEAL is of firm belief that when SEALs reveal the nature of their work, they make the Teams less effective and weaken their brand. They are, after all, supposed to be “the silent professionals.” He went so far as to criticize by name several former SEALs who have recently published books, including Chris Heben. Lt. Crowell’s opinion is not uncommon within the Naval Special Warfare community. In fact, Bissonnette’s former Team 6 commander told him to “delete him” and put up a mock gravestone in effigy in the Team 6 headquarters after the publication of “No Easy Day.”

But wanted or not, in the five years since that raid, the public’s fascination with Navy SEALs has multiplied exponentially. Hundreds of books, films, documentaries, TV shows, and articles have highlighted everything from their missions to their workout routines. There even is a huge market for fictional SEAL romance novels.

There are SEALs who say that that type of coverage is what draws top-level candidates to the elite fighting force. Chris Osman, who served in the Teams from 1997 to 2004 and co-wrote the book “SEALs: The US Navy’s Elite Fighting Force,” explains that “There is not a SEAL serving today or in the last 3 decades that learned about the SEAL Teams by happenstance or word of mouth. Every one of us has read a book, watched movies, recruiting films, documentaries, YouTube videos, or read articles in the local papers about the SEAL Teams. As much as NSW would like to put a cork back in the bottle, it’s far too late for that. We live in the Information Age not the Stone Age.”