• Code over Country

  • The Tragedy and Corruption of SEAL Team Six
  • By: Matthew Cole
  • Narrated by: Braden Wright
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (440 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A hard-hitting exposé of SEAL Team 6, the US military’s best-known brand, that reveals how the Navy SEALs were formed, then sacrificed, in service of American empire.

The Navy SEALs are, in the eyes of many Americans, the ultimate heroes. When they killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011, it was celebrated as a massive victory. Former SEALs rake in cash as leadership consultants for corporations, and young military-bound men dream of serving in their ranks. 

But the SEALs have lost their bearings. Investigative journalist Matthew Cole tells the story of the most lauded unit, SEAL Team 6, revealing a troubling pattern of war crimes and the deep moral rot beneath authorized narratives. From their origins in World War II, the SEALs have trained to be specialized killers with short missions. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan became the endless War on Terror, their violence spiraled out of control.

Code Over Country details the high-level decisions that unleashed the SEALs’ carnage and the coverups that prevented their crimes from coming to light. It is a necessary and rigorous investigation of the unchecked power of the military—and the harms enacted by and upon soldiers in America’s name.

©2022 Matthew Cole (P)2022 Bold Type Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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chip on the author's shoulder

I started to like this until the author made it very clear that he had a chip on his shoulder and a left wing leaning and very outspoken opponent against it seemed all people on the right side of left. I finished it, but almost didn't because I was already past the point of returning the book.

8 people found this helpful

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The preview sample is misleading

The preview sounds great but just as it cuts off then you get what the real book is about. I should have checked the reviews. The reviews are correct. This is someone who may be award winning journalist but until you have truly lived trained done the things they have done. It’s not really fair to try to assume how they are and how things should have went . They are the best of the best no question. They are also still human and can make mistakes. War isn’t not for the faint of heart and is supposed to be a last resort. If you are going to fight a war yes sometimes even innocent people are going to get killed and it’s ashame. No wars have ever been fought where someone didn’t get killed. It just comes off as someone speaking like a subject matter expert who really shouldn’t because they have not done the basics let alone green team to even be selected. Just seems like just picking out the flaws errors and catastrophic disaster missions. Dudes 100’s of 1000’s over the years obviously they are bound to have some go sideways to bad . Rather wish I hadn’t gotten this but just listened to preview and bought on spur of the moment. Oh and author takes you on a long history lesson back to udt and frogmen til now . Which I’m sure many have already heard in other countless books kinda like buds .

6 people found this helpful

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Terrible. Just promoting previous seal hater articles.

This book is terrible. It’s basically all of the author’s previous articles consolidated into a book so feel free to skip. Bottom line, Matt Cole loves to hate. There are plenty of issues with the seal teams, but he’s going overboard trying to tear down something that’s been built up too much in his mind. You can’t never risk your life for someone or defend a cause with your life and then call those who do sociopaths, criminals and killers just because you’re a sheep. He’s so ungrateful. I think we should ship Matt down to live in Venezuela for a while and see how he likes real corruption.

6 people found this helpful

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Eye opener

Astonishing. Some of the stories described in this book I have known for a while. I have personally visited the National Navy SEAL museum in Florida. Matthew Cole delivers these stories clearly and many of these stories are detailed elsewhere for you to verify.
Binged listened in a matter of days.

5 people found this helpful

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  • l
  • 04-03-22

Scathing critique of SF and use in modern day

A great book that covers the history, use, crimes and ultimately the collective trauma to the US special forces and the nation/ world as a whole.

Absolutley worth a read. It serves as a counterpoint to the more action oriented special forces memoir or non-fiction.

It was punchy and to the point.

I highly recommend Alpha by David Phillips (also about the SEALs) and Rouge Forces by Mark Willacy (about the crimes committed by the SASR), and perhaps Zinky Boys by Svetlana Alexievich (about the USSR in Afghanistan)

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent book!

Really enjoys this book, and the detailed accounts. If we hold them to such a high standard it’s really important that we are made aware of all of the faults. We are all human even if some of us seem like super human for put on that pedestal.

4 people found this helpful

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Revealing book about a call for accountability.

At first I thought this book was just airing out Navy SEALs dirty laundry but then this reveals it truth purpose. A call from the SEAL community/victims for justice and accountability for mistakes and failures of the past. Taking responsibility is the medicine for our shortcomings. Great book.

3 people found this helpful

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Very well done, very accurate.

Don’t listen to the boomers hating on this book.

Its not anti american or anti soldier, it shines a light on crimes and discrepancies that need to be addressed. Every organization has their issues, DG is no different.

3 people found this helpful

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Facts, Flow & Fairness

Anyone who reads or watches any team related content, owes it to themselves to stop in for a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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A Necessary Evil?

Wow. What a book. It tells you about the other side of the coin. SEALS are our real-life super heros but the are still men and therefor morally corrupt. Is what they accomplish on a global scale fair-trade for the corruption that lies within them and their teams? You decide.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Freneticmonk
  • 06-22-22

Stories that are neither confirmed or denied.

I decided to give this a listen after hearing a interview with Matthew on former Navy SEALs Andy Stumpfs pod cast Cleared Hot.
Andy has interviewed a number of SEALs including Eddie Gallagher and Jocko among other notables in the operator community.
Matthew came across as a really nice guy, serious about his work and honest. Then I listened to the book.
Now, I was in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman and Fleet Marine Force for 6 years and yes, there are things that happened that never made it off the base. Things that the Navy made disappear.
As with any organisation that your survival may depend on the guy next to you, there are codes of conduct and yes one of those is “no snitching”.
The problem I have with Matthews book is that there is a lot of he said she said and against a few well known people. To me it came across as he heard a story from a guy.
He did hit the nail with the Roberts Ridge event however, everyone in the community knows what happened and what is BS.
Matthew’s narrative on Eddie Gallagher is all wrong. He was accused, at first, of taking the photo. Then the sharks smelled blood in the water. Despite what you see on TV, NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) isn’t full of the best and brightest. Most of them are there ticking boxes to get promoted or move on to greener pastures. That is what happened to Eddie. They saw him as big game and went hunting.
I would have to say that if someone like Jocko or Chris Kyle were complicit in war crimes, those stories would have been sold to the media along time ago.
That’s why I only gave it two stars since, without evidence, it is just a book on a conspiracy theory.

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  • Scott Arcari
  • 06-15-22

The Details That The US Navy Want The Public to Know About Their SEAL Community

Excellent journalist account of the criminality and human rights abuses by US Navy SEALS. The things the US military want to hide from public scrutiny.

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  • Carl Gelin
  • 06-01-22

A self-proclaimed "moral highground"

It is an interesting listening but unclear what the intention is from the journalist/author.
It does seem the journalist/author wants some kind of "revenge" towards the special operstions/SEAL-community. And it is unclear what this revenge is for.
The author does point out some matter of facts, but the intention of doing so is very unclear.
It also seems the author does not even consider the astronomical demands a combat environment has on a human and the factcthat this is why very few people are accepted into this community. It comes across, to me, like another "woke" wich-hunt.

The author genuinely claims that Jocko Willinks SEAL-team deliberetely and actively shot women and children in Iraq, with no legitimate source, which is a re-occurring theme in this book - "anonymous sources" in the dozens. Meaning they could be made up for all I as a reader know.
Especially the chapter that concerns Eddie Gallagher is highly contradictive and lacking an enormous amount of facts and contexts, and I would highly recommend people to listen to "Man In The Arena" which provides a Lot of important context that changes the narrative that Matthew Cole is trying to push.

I can only summarize that "Code Over Country" seems like a which hunt and defamation-campaign, providing very little context and the little context provided is highly selective to fit a specific narrative.
Code Over Country reminds me of someone who wanted to become a soldier but was rejected and thus he wants some kind of "revenge". It seems like Matthew Cole seeks fame and spotlight by ruining other peoples careers and lives. I don't like that he is trying to push a pre-determined narrative.

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  • Paul
  • 05-19-22

Excellent book

Great book and very well researched. I've read a couple of books from the Walter Mitty type characters portrayed in this book and I for one am glad i now know the truth about these men.
I have served in the British Army and worked with Seals attached to the CIA in Basrah Southern Iraq. On one particular patrol we had to stop one of them from killing an unarmed civilian in his car making his way home.
I've seen how America carries out its wars and occupations first hand and can honestly say nothing in this book suprises me, all from a country that claims to be the righteous symbol of all that is right in the western world.
Thank you to the author for setting the record straight for those who still look upon the men who's discrepancies are memtioned in this book with rose tinted glasses instead of the mindless and government sanctioned killers they are.

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  • Paul
  • 03-30-22

A story about hell by someone who has never been there.

I follow both UK and US SpecOps stories and books quite closely. There are some interesting points, I enjoyed reading it only because I like to hear other peoples perspectives. However, the book does not give a balanced story.

We still fail to realise that humans are capable of extreme acts. For many of us, arriving late for work or losing a family member is the stress we experience. And some of us can’t bear it, despite bearing it in total comfort, never thirsty, hungry, with a big home a new car and next to zero need to worry about our safety.

The book tells about the acts of Tier 1 operators and the common acts of aggression fuelled violence on the enemy and alleged cover ups. Such as the assertion captured or wounded Isis soldiers were executed not detained. Revenge being the motivator.

The journalists who have written about these acts had their own colleagues who were torture and decapitated on video only a few years ago. It Doesn’t mention the enemy burning women and children alive in cages nor when Isis took over a village they would place the decapitated heads of the children on the spikes of the school fence. Though it admits Americans had to keep them apart, It plays down the fact it was members of the Afghan army this happened to and does not explore the unimaginable rage this would cause and hence they wanted to torture any Isis captives using similar/worse
Methods.

I think the book misses the point. If the choice is made to send men to hell, train them how to survive and return, then you will forever change that man. The problem is the people in the shadows making that choice and their morals and transgressions.

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  • Mr T Kearney
  • 03-18-22

Great piece on the dark side of the Tier One unit.

I really enjoyed this title. It hilights the need for more control of these operators before a new era in of war begins.

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  • Jasmine
  • 03-14-22

some research is incomplete

The stories conclusion speaks about Australian issues which has inaccuracies and incorrect information, this makes me wonder about the rest of the story. How much is biased and how much is truth.