February 12, 2013

*Shock*: Esquire Article Documenting John Rambo Treatment of Guy Who Killed bin Laden Full of Sh*t [UPDATED]

Did I not call this? Just to clarify, the article really is worth reading. But it's really two articles. One, a first hand description of the raid that killed bin Laden -- an excellent piece. And the other, a narrative which makes the guy who killed bin Laden -- "Shooter" -- a caricature out of just about any stupid movie about veterans made since 1975. To quote myself:

I'm surprised the piece didn't end with Shooter hitchhiking his way through a small Northwestern town, harassed by the the uncaring local police he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. The final casualty of war? The entire Hope police department, 200 state troopers, and various weekend warriors of the Washington State National Guard. It's a good thing his old Colonel showed up to talk him down, otherwise we'd all be dead!
Anyway, many of the "facts" laid out in this second narrative are now in dispute. Stars and Stripes:
Like every combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the former SEAL, who is identified in the story only as “the Shooter”, is automatically eligible for five years of free healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But the story doesn’t mention that.

No, in fact the story does make some serious bullshit claims and overtly advances a narrative that the SEAL who shot bin Laden was just another victim of the military industrial complex. It really was that trite. Every single stereotype of the Leftist narrative is embodied by the SEAL.

He's out of work. No health care. His marriage is collapsing. He's suicidal.

I'm not saying that the guy's life might be screwed up. What I'm saying is that it is atypical. Veterans are not victims and should not be treated as such.

For instance, veteran unemployment is below the national average. Sorry Occum, the stats you cite are wrong. Here's what the VA said last week:

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Veteran unemployment data for the month of January. The unemployment rate for all Veterans was 7.6 percent—a slight increase from last month but still below the national average of 7.9 percent. For Post-9/11 veterans, the rate was 11.7 percent. While Veteran unemployment has ticked up over the past several months, the long-term trend remains downward.
For other young people in the 18 - 29 year old range, the unemployment rate is 13%. Which means even younger veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the population of the same age group as a whole.

As I also noted yesterday, I predicted that Blackfive would take on the article:

in his article for Esquire, Phil quotes the wife: "the loss of income and insurance and no pension aside, she can no longer walk onto a local base... they've surrendered their military IDs." "He's lost some vision, he can't get his neck straight for any period of time..." If this were indeed the case, this is easy stuff to document in the out-processing; and they DO do a medical when you out-process for a separation physical. Period. If his vision, alone, was affected, they'd document it. Neck issues? The x-rays would pick it up.

He then writes that according to Shooter, ''if I come back alive and retire, I won't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of for the rest of my life.'' So what do you have now? If Shooter had retired, he'd have an income and med coverage, at a minimum. So he comes back from the 4-month deployment, leaves, and STILL has nothing? He'd have been better off waiting. At 18 years, he could have reached 'sanctuary' and been what we call 'retired on active duty'.

More and more issues show up the more I read the article. It's good fiction, but that's all it is- fiction.

Go read the comments for some insightful analysis of how the Esquire narrative got it completely wrong.

Also as predicted, This Aint Hell has picked up that the Esquire author is tied in with the antiwar crowd. And not the nation-building isn't what we should be doing antiwar crowd. No, the America-is-the-real-terrorist antiwar crowd.

Let me also put up some comments by reader PSDiver on the Esquire article:

There are several points that do not track. First and foremost the Navy didn't tell me that I wouldn't have any benefits is I got out short of my 20. Funny, you have to sign paperwork stating that you understand that you will not have insurance, etc. if you do not retire from the service. Second, I am a member of the elite of the elite and no one is helping me out. If you were just Joe Blow Sailor I could agree with that one, but SEALs are tight and if you wanted help it would come your way. A third point is that this individual didn't want to keep carrying a gun, but didn't want a desk job either to finish out the 20... really?!? So just because you no longer want to do what you get paid for you should be able to do whatever you want?!? ...

Finally, there are a bunch of people that would kill for the chance to be a beer truck driver... so suck it up.

Again, I'm not blaming Shooter here. I think what Bronstein did was selectively take quotes from Shooter in order to foster a particularly Leftist point of view.

UPDATE: Apparently, there was less room in the online version than in the print version. What the what?

And if you want to know just how thorough your betters in the MSM are, go check out this Twitchy post that shows that even after Esquire issued an apology, they're still forwarding the narrative that Shooter has no health care.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:28 PM | Comments |