STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Esquire Article on Bin Laden in Another Flap – Promotion Totally Useless Now
By Staff News & Analysis - February 13, 2013

Lying liars at Esquire double down, falsely claim they disclosed former Navy SEAL's eligibility for VA benefits; Update: Esquire (finally) acknowledges error … Yesterday, Esquire magazine came out with an article falsely claiming that the former Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Ladin was not offered any health care benefits upon leaving the Navy. As Twitchy documented this morning, Esquire's false claim was echoed by numerous MSM outlets, including the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Now Esquire has posted a duplicitous follow-up article in which the editors claim they disclosed former Navy SEAL's eligibility for VA benefits … – Twitchy

Dominant Social Theme: Esquire needs to get its facts straight or it comes across looking untrustworthy.

Free-Market Analysis: "The Shooter" article in Esquire continues to reverberate. You can see our own article on the subject here: "Esquire Portrait of bin Laden's Death Fails to Convince."

But in the meantime, a conservative website called Twitchy has been documenting the efforts of Esquire editors to explain why they left the impression in the original posted article that the shooter of Osama bin Laden had been abandoned by his government.

Later on, Esquire editors added in an explanatory couple of sentences, but the damage had been done. Esquire, by its mishandling of the situation, revealed what the article was – a kind of propaganda.

The idea was to build up the SEAL as a heroic mercenary abandoned by his government, and that was why the omission was important. Esquire's editors panicked yesterday and added a sentence describing the benefits the shooter actually could receive. The magazine then released a statement that the clarifications had been left out of the online issue but appeared in the print issue.

Here's the paragraph in question:

Now granted, "The Shooter" is a long story, lots of words to sort through, but McCloskey is wrong here. We refer her to this paragraph deeper in the piece: "There is a Transition Assistance Program in the military, but it's largely remedial level, rote advice of marginal value: Wear a tie to interviews, not your Corfam (black shiny service) shoes. Try not to sneeze in anyone's coffee."

Now here is the addition:

There is also a program at MacDill Air Force Base designed to help Special Ops vets navigate various bureaucracies. And the VA does offer five years of benefits for specific service-related claims—but it's not comprehensive and it offers nothing for the Shooter's family."

The article's value to the US government – as a promotion – has been reduced as a result of this public scuffle. But it wasn't much of an article to begin with. "The Shooter" of Osama bin Laden is never named and the facts related in the narrative are questionable even in relation to the story that the US government itself has okayed, at least one of the photos in the article is mislabeled as "Situation Room" when it's not (see our article on the subject, here) and the larger issues related to the killing are never even touched upon.

Sizable numbers of people – probably in the tens or hundreds of millions – don't believe the government's story regarding the death of Osama bin Laden. Just for credibility's sake, the article should have mentioned this, provided a fleeting rebuttal and carried on. The article also should have acknowledged the larger truths surrounding the war – not only its unwinnability but also the flawed rationale that the US went in with, and then stayed in with.

The US is not fighting terrorists at this point, certainly not al Qaeda. Too often these soldiers are killing women and children and urinating on dead corpses – when they are not posing with them as "trophy kills." The US's depleted uranium weapons are injuring Afghan citizens and US soldiers alike.

This is no honorable war. And those fighting in it bear a certain responsibility at this point. The Internet has been around 20 years and there is plenty of information on it about the Afghanistan War and its reality. The reality isn't pretty.

That's certainly another reason for this article, to engage and promote the heroic SEAL myth. But even if the SEAL had killed bin Laden, it wouldn't have necessarily been an honorable shooting because bin Laden denied carrying out 9/11 and when the Afghan government of the day indicated it would turn over bin Laden if provided with proof, the US provided none.

With all due respect to the heroic men and women serving in the US military, this is a narrative but not much more. Someone has figured out that US citizens are working up a good hate toward the US government, President Obama, the Supreme Court and, of course, Congress.

None of that matters so long as the military itself is considered honorable and brave. Therefore, we begin to see a bifurcation: Military good, government bad.

This is further evidence of the Banana Republic the US is turning into. This stance, last we saw, was operative in Egypt, where a failed state was able to cling to life because Egyptians still respect their military, or so we are told.

The difficulties that Esquire is having with this article are symptomatic of the difficulties that that the US government is having with the larger promotion (for that's what it is, in our opinion; bin Laden died long ago).

What's not being stated for the record is probably that many reporters are profoundly uncomfortable at this point with the whole bin Laden death charade and any writer that goes near it is apt to find himself in difficulties sooner or later.

After Thoughts

The Esquire article was obviously intended to be a showpiece and 20 years ago it would have worked. But not today, not in the midst of the Internet Reformation.

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