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I had an interesting conversation the other day with someone I know and it broached the uncomfortable and difficult subject of whether Special Operations Forces should be writing books about their exploits.

It is uncomfortable because many Special Operations professionals live by the code of the “Quiet Professionals” which means that the A-Team guys, SEAL Platoons, Rangers, Raiders, CCTs, and Delta boys, who we now all lump together as “operators” should not seek self-promotion or recognition for the services that they provided for our country.

The conversation (and for the record, none of the other participants were Special Operations) got into the realm of OPSEC and putting the lives of active duty troops at risk. And in that aspect, we are in total agreement, never should anyone’s lives be risked over the publication of a book or magazine.

The government came down hard on Mark Bissonnette who penned the book, “No Easy Day” under the pen name of Mark Owen because he broke a confidentiality agreement that he signed off on concerning the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. As a result, Bissonnette was largely shunned by the Navy SEAL community.

The Navy granted Marcus Luttrell a leave of absence to write “Lone Survivor” which was later made into a film with Mark Wahlberg. Which kind of went against the grain of what the Navy did sending a memo to its Special Warfare members telling them not to advertise their exploits. But that is another subject.

But Luttrell’s story needed to be told. His survival was one of those hard to believe true stories. And the difficult decisions that our troops must make on a daily basis in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and countless other hot spots around the globe. Lt. Michael Murphy’s self-sacrifice for his teammates may have been a footnote in a history book somewhere, someday.

And unlike Bissonnette’s story, Robert O’Neill’s “The Operator” was submitted to the Pentagon for vetting, which they did. They edited out some parts of the book which were deemed to cross the line in revealing tactics and/or methods. But once again, if no confidentiality agreement was broken and the book didn’t threaten any security of active duty personnel, then it is a story that should be told.