Photo: Flickr/The National Guard
Esquire fired back this morning at a report from Stars and Stripes, a military affairs newspaper in Washington, that claimed its story about the man who killed Osama bin Laden was riddled with factual errors.The Stars and Stripes piece, written by Megan McCloskey, focused on a part of Phil Bronstein’s story in Esquire that purported the shooter’s life is in shambles without a pension and health care.
McCloskey wrote in her piece last night that those claims were wrong:
“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.”
She also made clear that no servicemember who serves fewer than 20 years would get a pension, “unless he has to medically retire.”
Esquire’s editors fired off a rather lengthy response to McCloskey’s piece this morning. The gist of their piece: McCloskey’s piece is the one full of mistakes and factual errors. Esquire’s editors wrote that at no point did Bronstein attempt to claim the shooter was ever “denied” health care — just that it had become much harder for him to do so.
There are benefits available to combat veterans via the VA, which “The Shooter” discusses (this constitutes the second factual error in McCloskey’s piece, more on that in a moment), so what does Bronstein mean when he writes, “Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family…”? Well, he means precisely that. Because 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. What good does it do the man if he can go to a government chiropractor for his neck when (heaven forbid) his child could get sick and wipe out the family? It is a simple fact that when your family doesn’t have healthcare, you don’t have healthcare. Think the Shooter has healthcare? We respectfully suggest that Ms. McCloskey ask his wife.
They end with a kicker that serves as a direct shot at McCloskey:
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.
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