Esquire under fire for story on Navy SEAL who killed Bin Laden, responds to criticism

By Daniel S Levine,

Esquire magazine made headlines on Monday with a profile of the Navy SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden during the raid on his compound in May 2011. In the story, Esquire claimed that he is not receiving any health care from the military, since he left before completing 20 years of service. That claim was challenged by Stars & Stripes, but Esquire has responded.

The story is titled “The Man Who Shot Osama Bin Laden … Is Screwed” and was published on Monday. In it, The Shooter - as Esquire refers to him as - describes how hard life has been for him since he left the military. Esquire writes that he left the service last September and soon found out that he will recieve no benefits from the military.

“...The Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation...Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family,” the magazine notes, reports The Huffington Post.

But Stars and Stripes, the military’s newspaper, claims otherwise, noting that The Shooter is eligible for free healthcare for five years from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Writer Phil Bronstein spoke with Stars and Stripes, saying that The Shooter didn’t know that he received the VA benefits. “That’s a different story,” Bronstein said.

According to Poyner, Esquite did issue a response to Stars and Stripes, noting that the VA coverage does not include his family, so it stands by the story’s title.

“So if there are people out there, journalists included, who think that the status quo is hunky dory, the government's approach to these extraordinary veterans is just right or even adequate, and who are too quick to incorrectly call another journalist's work ‘wrong’ rather than doing their own work on the profound problems of returning veterans, then, as the cover of the magazine says, the man who killed Osama bin Laden truly is screwed,” Esquire’s response reads.

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