Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Re: "THE MAN WHO SHOT Osama bin Laden. . .IS SCREWED" by Phil Bronstein in Esquire Magazine at this link.

It seems to me that the lifer sniper exhibits un-sniper-like impatience to run out from under cover. With sixteen years of service, he has four years to go, with at least four months of vacation during that time. He makes $60,000 a year, but after shooting OBL, he decides on a change in his life and....he leaves the Navy?

Good grief, that's exactly the wrong thing to do. Tired of risking his life?   Fine.   Put in for a transfer.   He is almost guaranteed perpetual promotion during the four years he has left.   There are a lot of cushy desk jobs the Navy would be willing to train him to do, making a lot of that four years he has left stateside 9 to 5 school-deployment where he can be with his family almost every night and every weekend.   All he needs to do is to write the request for a transfer.

Instead, his head apparently befuddled by the potentials of celebrity, he quits the Navy without properly putting in for his disability pensions?   That's just stupid.   Without joining the reserves?   That's also stupid.   Without applying for and waiting on a guaranteed civil service job which would bridge his time in the Navy and medical benefits for his family?   What is he thinking?  Apparently, the man's been listening to Rush Limbaugh too long and has become a dittohead.

He joined the Navy at 19, asking to become a sniper--because his high school sweetheart broke up with him.  "That's the reason Al Qaeda has been decimated," he joked, "because she broke my fucking heart."

He talks like he was responsible for tracking the man down, which is something he had little to do with.   But as the reporter says, he is an Alpha personality.   Me, me, me.

Perhaps what he should do now is re-enlist. They'll bridge his time. Put in for a transfer or a civil service job or at least disability pay. They'll put him near the front of the line, even though his buddy Republicans are railing against such entitlements.

Could be some rich Republican will see the story and give him a Joe the Plumb-dumb political job, which will take care of his money problems at least, while they make as much political hay with him as possible.  No matter who gets "the credit," The Man Who Shot Bin Laden, like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, incurred a karmic debt which might yet be rewarded with material riches or some political dividend but it remains an abyss too, particularly when it is glorified beyond healthy measure.

The helicopter team who went on the mission to kill Bin Laden deserves credit, but how much?   Compare them to the nondescript Coast Guard helicopter team who has braved a storm, with men who risked their lives diving into icy Atlantic waves to rescue nondescript victims--but whose names are lost to memory as soon as they are heard.   Which team is the most courageous?

In both instances, the teams are sent on a mission not of their choosing, but for which they have been trained--to do their duty as members of the armed forces of the United States.  Should we take better care of our veterans?  Yes, indeed.  But this looks like a case of a veteran who needs to wise up to what's available for him. 

As John Wayne says to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, don't waste time feeling bad about it, but don't glory in taking credit for it either.   Just get on with your life.

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