Plight of the Shooter Who Killed Osama bin Laden

You can expect a lot of attention due to this Esquire piece titled “The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed. Even though it’s right now being overshadowed by the Pope’s resignation, this is a story with “legs,” drama — and one that arouses outrage. Newser’s Kate Seasons gives the best summary and here’s part of it:

Phil Bronstein, the executive chair of CIR [Center for Investigative Journalism], spent a year talking to the anonymous shooter (referred to as “the Shooter”), ultimately producing a nearly 15,000-word piece titled, “The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden … Is Screwed.” The headline encapsulates the two-fold nature of the piece: recounting the “most definitive account” (verified by a number of sources, including other SEALS) “of those crucial few seconds” in which the Shooter put three bullets into bin Laden’s head; and tackling this incongruity: “that a man with hundreds of successful war missions, one of the most decorated combat veterans of our age, who capped his [16-year] career by terminating bin Laden, has no landing pad in civilian life.”

Bronstein catalogs the absent opportunities, like the $25 million bounty on bin Laden’s head that won’t go to the team and the movies and books from which it won’t benefit; and the single offer from SEAL command that he could drive a beer truck in Milwaukee under a new identity. And while a private security job might be a valid route, “many of these guys, including the Shooter, do not want to carry a gun ever again for professional use.”

Bronstein also catalogs what the Shooter lacks: pension (he left service 36 months short of the necessary 20 years), healthcare (though he battles arthritis, eye damage, tendonitis, and blown disks), protection for his family (from a retaliatory attack), disability benefits (he’s waiting), a healthy marriage (he and his wife have split, under the pressure of a job that took him away as many as 300 days a year), and communication from the VA (computer-generated form letters aside).

Go to the original link and read the entire piece including Brownstein’s conclusion on the implications (some issues are similar to what other veterans face).

And, you, do get a sense that in the end, for all the verbiage, he walks away with little institutional gratitude shown in terms of the issues he now faces in the health and personal realms.