Esquire has a really, really long and really, really good article about a man they call simply “The Shooter”. He is the Navy SEAL, since retired, who killed Osama bin Laden. Now, after 16 years of service, he has retired with no pension, no health care, no job, and no protection for himself or his family against retatliation. Read this fascinating story about the raid that killed the #1 terrorist, the men who went even though they were sure it was a suicide mission, and how our nation is now letting them down.
9 thoughts on “The Man Who Killed UBL”
He (and only he) has healthcare through the VA for 5 years, though if he gets disability ratings he’ll be able to get treatment for those issues at the VA as well. I can however say that I’d much rather go to a public provider than the VA for most issues.
I do feel that many veterans have been let down, feeling abandoned by the government they fought for.
This comment is worth consideration as well:
“Bronstein is running an agenda, Esquire is helping him carry it forward and the whole thing is designed to generate outraged via ignorance. When you enlist you are handed a packet that explains your VA benefits upon release from service.
They cannot hold your hand, you have to do the work to find out all the info and the most important part is, Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America are ready, willing and eager to guide you through the process.
But first, you have to let go of the institutionalized ignorance and start the process yourself.
And with regard to this man’s excellent service, oo-rah and many thanks, but I resent the notion that others who served in lesser roles deserve less care while he deserves something special.
He does deserve care and WILL get it if he asks for it but consider this:
My WIFE, a Navy diesel mechanic who served a four year peacetime stretch, was exposed to IONIZING RADIATION at Hunter’s Point. She contracted multiple sclerosis and gave birth to a son who has five gravely debilitating heart defects that mimic the ones in kids whose parents survived Chernobyl.
Is her service deserving of lesser recognition because she didn’t kill a famous bad guy?
This is sickening and I would like the disrespect and disinformation to STOP NOW.
It is a disservice to ALL veterans.”
I can understand the strong feelings but (in re the comment you quoted), I think it might be somewhat misplaced. The original article takes note of the availability of disability services, but also includes an infographic with the wait times based on where you are in the country. They are considerable. The article never suggests that The Shooter ought to be eligible for some special reward because he killed UBL, but instead suggests that the broader special forces community ought to be eligible for some special benefits because of the extraordinary dangers and costs of their role.
I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with a general attitude that those who sacrifice more ought to be given additional care. Many branches of the military prepare people with skills that apply in the civilian world (like being a diesel mechanic), but infantry and in particular special forces don’t. I think the special forces community probably does deserve to be singled out in this respect.
Still, good comments.
It took me a few years to really learn and understand what it meant to receive care from the VA. I even called one time (when I was only at 10% rating) and was told outright that I couldn’t receive care from the VA. In fact it was 6 years before it got bad enough that I decided to go find out what I needed to do so that the VA would help. The best thing that these guys coming out can be told above all else is to go to a Veterans center nearest them and ask what they need to do or to whom they need to speak with to get the ball rolling. Once I finally did that it wasn’t easy either. Then the problem is that because so many are in the system it’s taking up to 2 years to complete a process that allows you to be taken care of. However I will say that mental issues (as it seemed to me) were treated ASAP.
Despite the way the rating system works and it’s clarity (though it’s extremely long) it really is up to the individual doctors to determine if your issue is service related in any way. I’ve had doctors for the VA who decided despite all the input, history, and information that my issues weren’t worth a rating and responded to have the existing rating removed. Just to turn around and fight it and have another doctor give it back and add on an additional rating that wasn’t addressed earlier.
The problem is that some of the doctors have the attitude of denying ratings to the best of their ability, where others simply look at the evidence and discuss with you what’s going on. Another problem there is that so many (myself included) don’t know how to communicate to the doctors the things that are important and many of them don’t ask.
I don’t expect the VA to be perfect, after all there are tons out there who try to cheat the system. Unfortunately this causes so many overbearing problems for those who do have issues and can’t get the help they need soon enough.
Nathaniel, the issue with the sacrifice more concept is that everyone who serves agrees to a price of ‘my life if need be’. Some do pay that price, others pay a portion of their bodies, some are lucky and only pay the time they are in. What you are advocating is that though we all offer the same we should receive differently in return?
It would be different if going in it were offered the way you say, where the more dangerous and less adaptable your military training is to civilian life the greater or faster or whatever your treatment will be. That would be fine, since that would have been the ‘price’ we agreed upon. However it isn’t, and coming back afterwards and changing the agreement isn’t a good idea because it could then be changed either way and that’s a very bad idea.
By the way, infantry is very adaptable to law enforcement, security, or the likes. Some of that pays very well. Also keep in mind that in certain areas of the country just having a security clearance will get you a nice job even if you have to be trained to do something else. Clearances cost $10k minimum for the lowest level and it only goes up from there, quickly I might add.
Well, yeah. I am. The idea that a civilian affairs officer who stays stateside should have the same access to benefits as a guy who’s kicking in doors in Afghanistan doesn’t makes sense to me.
But doesn’t the military already do this? That’s what hazard pay / combat pay are all about, right?
I see what you’re saying, but I’m not advocating taking away any benefits that anyone has. I just think that we need to recognize that this war has been particularly hard on a select group of people. Violence is incredibly difficult for people to adapt to, psychologically, and we’ve asked a very small group of people to put themselves in the fire in a way that has never been done in history. I think we need to be sure that we take good care of them, and if that means extending more than we had initially offered, then that’s what we should do.
That’s fair (both points), but I don’t feel like it’s great to ask someone who’s been on the frontlines for over a decade to get another job where he’ll be in danger again. A cop isn’t as dangerous as a Navy SEAL, obviously, but the man has earned a shot at a job that doesn’t require his wife and children to wonder if he’s coming home every time he leaves.
Thanks for these comments on the VA, Joel. I know you’ve got some real-world experience on that, so it’s great to have you share your insights.
I know you get paid for being in a warzone, overseas, or deployed away from your family (training included). I don’t know enough specifics to know if you get paid more for being in a certain unit that tends to be in dangerous situations more than others. Thus hazard pay could be the same for everyone in a particular area whether they are shooting bullets at the bad guys or sitting back at central command clacking away on a computer.
It’s not so much that we don’t offer more than what we said we would (because the agreement is basically if you can prove it was sustained while in the military then we’ll provide care for it at no charge). It’s more that we’re failing at doing so in a timely manner.
There is a culture within the military that even if you’re hurt you suck it up and move on. Unless you have an issue that is visible to the naked eye you’re considered either a slacker or ‘broken’ (the old saying for it is offensive, but if you want to know ask me privately) and it can reflect poorly on your reviews which do affect your rank increases (and there for pay).
This culture continues even after you get out for many, and the reason this is bad is because before you get out you are supposed to go through a medical exam that reviews all possible issues and can provide an easier way for the VA to quickly and accurately determine what kind of care you might need coming out. Much of it is just ‘does this hurt or cause you trouble’ and not much else. Physically visible wounds are treated differently as well as shrapnel or repairs made while in service (plates, rods, screws, etc.)
You are right that it’s not great to ask someone who’s been in harms way over and over to do it again when they get out of the military. Some folks love being in those types of situations, others don’t. I also don’t think very many realize what their security clearance is really worth to primes (companies that deal directly with the government on contracts for specific government work).
I think a good program to get out there would be to train many of these guys in positions that allow them to utilize their clearance and move into a job with many of these primes. Perhaps the companies could even pitch in for costs of training (hopefully negate the cost) and in return they get folks with solid clearances more quickly than they would have otherwise.
It’s what really makes me shake my head when people try to tell me that the healthcare act is great. It’s basic care and I know it’s going to be very much like the VA, which is nothing like regular hospitals.
Comments are closed.