This is probably the most talked about story of the day: a lengthy, sometimes gripping story of how he UW military allegedly abandoned the man who shot Osama Bin Laden, leaving him without a pension, health care. protection, or much of a life. The headline put its blunting. "Man Who Killed Osama... is Screwed."
Of local interest is the suggestion that the military offered him a new identity, selecting what they may have imagined (we can only guess) to be the most obscure possible location: Milwaukee. Driving a beer truck.
When the family asked about any kind of government
protection should the Shooter's name come out, they were advised that they
could go into a witness-protection-like program.
Just as soon as the Department of Defense creates one.
"They [SEAL command] told me they could get me a job
driving a beer truck in Milwaukee" under an assumed identity. Like Mafia
snitches, they would not be able to contact their families or friends.
"We'd lose everything."
Presumably, they picked Milwaukee because Al Qaeda would never think to look for him here, or something. The shooter didn't take them up on the offer, but this is a reminder: you never know who you'll meet around here.
More seriously, there are now suggestions that the articles main charge -- that the shooter was denied medical coverage -- was just wrong.
Writing on a blog for military veteran Megan McCloskey reports:
Except the claim about health care is wrong. And no
service member who does less than 20 years gets a pension, unless he has to
The writer, Phil Bronstein, who heads up the Center for
Investigative Reporting, stands by the story. He said the assertion that
the government gave the SEAL "nothing" in terms of health care is both fair and
accurate, because the SEAL didn’t know the VA benefits existed.
"No one ever told him that this is available," Bronstein
He said there wasn’t space in the article to explain that
the former SEAL’s lack of healthcare was driven by an ignorance of the benefits
to which he is entitled.
"That’s a different story," Bronstein said in a phone
interview with Stars and Stripes about what he omitted from the article.
Actually, that seems to be a rather important detail; and one that puts the Esquire story in a somewhat different light.