Yesterday's Esquire opus on the SEAL Team 6 shooter who killed Osama bin Laden, left the Navy after 16 years, and now finds himself unemployed with no pension or health coverage, made waves. And it continues to today, thanks to the assertion by Stars and Stripes that the piece, written by Phil Bronstein, got one thing majorly wrong: "The Shooter," as he is called, is actually "automatically eligible" for five years of health care on the VA's dime, as are all Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, it reports.
The editors of Esquire responded today, by tearing Stars and Stripes' assertion apart. Not only did they fault inaccuracies and trouble spots in the article (for instance, the headline, "Esquire article wrongly claims SEAL who killed bin Laden is denied healthcare," is false, because Bronstein never reported the Shooter was denied it), but they explain that, like many veterans, the Shooter wasn't aware the benefits existed. But the heart of their rebuttal is this:
- "While the Shooter may be eligible for some direct benefits from the VA, his wife and two children are eligible for nothing. Not to get too deeply into the philosophy of insurance and the distribution of risk, but that means that under the best scenario, the Shooter is 1/4 covered, which of course means that he is not covered at all. It would be like having a 1/4 roof during a storm. Your house still fills with water."
Click for the Stars and Stripes article
and Esquire's response