Reality > Fiction, Zero Dark Thirty Edition

Pakistani children stand outside a suspected former residence of Osama Bin Laden in Haripur, some 50 kilometers from Islamabad on March 9, 2012, which is near Abbottabbad where Osama Bin Laden was finally killed on May 2, 2011 by US Navy Seals in a nightime raid.

Photo by FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

Obviously the only piece of journalism that matters today is Phil Bronstein’s profile of the Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama Bin Laden. We still don’t know his identity. We do know that leaving the service meant losing his premium health care, as Sarah Kliff contextualizes here.

From the Esquire story:

“I left SEALs on Friday,” he said the next time I saw him. It was a little more than thirty-six months before the official retirement requirement of twenty years of service. “My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night. I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You’re out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your sixteen years. Go [f–k] yourself.”

This is clearly the meat of the story. I was amused by something else, though. In Zero Dark Thirty—spoiler alert, whatever that means at this point—the SEAL who kills Bin Laden does so before he really sees who’s coming. He stares at the corpse. Another SEAL gawks and asks, “Do you realize what you just did?”

But the real story knocks this one out of the ring.

“Three of us were driving to our first briefing on the mission,” he said. “We were thinking maybe it was Libya, but we knew there would be very high-level brass there. One of my guys says, ‘I bet it’s bin Laden.’” Another guy told the Shooter, “If it’s Osama bin Laden, dude, I will suck yo’ dick.”

“So after I shoot UBL, I bring him over to see his body. ‘Okay,’ I told him, ‘now is as good a time as any.’”

Give the man cheaper health care already.