Interesting story about the guy who saved Marcus Luttrell.
He paid a heavy price for helping Luttreell.
But he and Luttrell had had a bitter split after he said that "Lone Survivor" got it wrong.
From the article:
At a party at the home of the interpreter’s parents in California, the Afghan remembers sitting with his translator in the dining room when Luttrell sidled up to him. They had something important to discuss. As the three huddled, Gulab claims they hashed out a verbal agreement: Luttrell promised to link him up with Robinson, his co-author, so he could tell his version of how they met, and the Afghan could keep the profits from the book. Gulab also maintains that Luttrell promised him a 50-50 split on whatever he made from the movie. Later, the villager claims, he asked the interpreter if Luttrell and Universal would draw up a contract. Gulab recalls the translator telling him not to worry about it and saying, "Whatever [Luttrell] says, he will do."
True to his word, Luttrell invited Gulab to his house outside of Houston to meet with Robinson. For days, the British novelist and the Afghan villager chatted as the interpreter translated. Gulab had never read Luttrell’s book—he can’t read or write in any language, and he understood the movie was fictional. But as Robinson went through Luttrell’s version of what happened in Afghanistan, Gulab thought many parts of the story were not the way he remembered them.
Most of the differences were minor. But a few turn that battle against some of the world’s most dangerous militants into something far less heroic. Gulab maintains the SEALs were far from the stealthy, superhuman warriors described in Lone Survivor. They didn’t die because they spared civilians, he says; they died because they were easily tracked, quickly outmaneuvered and thoroughly outgunned. The militants, like many others in the area, heard the helicopter drop the Americans on the mountain, Gulab claims. The next morning, they began searching for the SEAL’s distinctive footprints. The way Gulab heard it from fellow villagers, when the militants finally found them, the Americans were deliberating about what to do with the goat herders. The insurgents held back. After Luttrell and company freed the locals, the gunmen waited for the right moment to strike.
The battle, Gulab claims, was short-lived. He wasn’t on the mountain with Luttrell but says everyone in the village could hear the gunfire. Gulab scoffs at the estimate by Naval Special Warfare Command that 35 Taliban died in the battle. (A Navy spokesman declined to comment on the matter.) But the Afghan claims the villagers and American military personnel who combed the mountain for the bodies of the dead SEALs never found any enemy corpses. (Andrew MacMannis, a former Marine Colonel who helped draw up the mission and was on scene during the search and recovery effort for the dead SEALs and other military personnel, says there were no reports of any enemy casualties.)
More puzzling: While Luttrell wrote that he fired round after round during the battle, Gulab says the former SEAL still had 11 magazines of ammunition when the villagers rescued him—all that he had brought on the mission.
Gulab wasn’t the first to question the accuracy of Lone Survivor. In his 2009 book, Victory Point, the journalist Ed Darack wrote about the 2nd Battalion of of the 3rd Marine Regiment in Afghanistan, the unit that planned the mission. He uncovered a bevy of discrepancies in Luttrell’s account. Some are small: He got the name of the operation wrong—it was Red Wings, like the hockey team, not Redwing. Others are more significant: The target, Ahmad Shah, wasn’t an international terrorist or a close bin Laden associate. He was the head of a small Taliban-linked militia. Citing reports gleaned from phone and radio intercepts, Darack estimates only eight to 10 militants attacked the SEALs, not 80 to 200. In fact, two graphic videos the gunmen shot during the firefight show only seven men in Shah’s militia.
"[Luttrell’s claims] are exaggerated nonsense," says Patrick Kinser, a former Marine infantry officer who participated in Operation Red Wings and read the former SEAL’s after action report. "I’ve been at the location where he was ambushed multiple times. I’ve had Marines wounded there. I’ve been in enough firefights to know that when shit hits the fan, it’s hard to know how many people are shooting at you. [But] there weren’t 35 enemy fighters in all of the Korengal Valley [that day]."
Gulab claims that one afternoon, while sitting with Luttrell in his father-in-law’s living room, he brought up some of these discrepancies. The timing was more than bad—in a few hours, the two were supposed to sit down with TV anchor Anderson Cooper for a 60 Minutes interview. The former SEAL seemed angry, Gulab recalls. Later, he claims the interpreter took him outside to chat: "Whatever Marcus says in the interview," the Afghan recalls being told, "say yes." (The interpreter declined to comment for this story.)
Luttrell’s account to 60 Minutes, given years after Darack’s book came out, differs in significant ways from his memoir, other interviews he gave and speeches he’s made around the country. Now Shah was not a threat to the home front. Now there were just 30 to 40 fighters on the mountain. Now he appeared to indicate Murphy alone decided to let the goat herders go. (His lawyer, Tony Buzbee, said in a statement: "Marcus Luttrell stands by his account in Lone Survivor. Everything he wrote in his book is absolutely true.")