On Wednesday, the Daily Mail published an exclusive interview with the father of the man who killed Bin Laden, revealing that former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill was the one who pulled the trigger on the Al-Qaeda kingpin.
Since the story broke, several Americans are putting O’Neill on a pedestal for his actions. However, there is a difference of opinion with many highly trained operators.
IJReview interviewed a former Delta Operator, Navy SEAL and Army Ranger on the controversy. Here’s how they explained it:
1. Dale Comstock – Former Delta Force Operator and author of “American Badass”Image credit: Dale Comstock
“It makes the SEAL community as a whole look really bad. Sure I wrote a book, but even my book is very vague about what the unit did. I wanted to give something back to Americans, and not just make my book about me . . .
He’s upset about his benefits after leaving early. You don’t get benefits after sixteen years, everyone knows that. You do your 20 and you get your benefits.
I try to be the same guy I was when I was in the military. This dude just considered being a SEAL a job. He’s trying to glorify himself because he killed Bin Laden. It was a cookie cutter mission, anyone would have done that.
If a story is declassified, it’s declassified. And you can tell a story without breaking operational protocols. Although, a real operator will focus on his team, not himself. If he has family, he just painted an x on their back. He’s a marked man. And he’s put his family in jeopardy.”
2. Jonatham Gilliam – Former Navy SEAL, FBI Special Agent and Federal Air MarshallImage credit: Screenshot
“Top secret information has become a tool to gain power and money. He’s basically lining his pocket and trying to make money off the name of a SEAL. High level operations can create a superhuman or someone who has a me-me agenda.
It’s sheer luck that [he] even got to shoot him. If he is fact the guy who pulled the trigger, it’s just the luck of the draw.
I think he should be pulled back into the military, stripped of rank, receive a court martial and be imprisoned. And then kicked out with a dishonorable discharge.”
3. Marty Skovlund – Former Army Ranger and author of “Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in The War On Terror”Image credit: Marty Skovlund
“You would think the fact that you were privileged enough to be in that place would be satisfaction or payment enough.
I’m all about telling your story and recording history. We wouldn’t have known about the 300 Spartans at the Hot Gates, if it wasn’t written down. In our military academies we study history and these battles because it helps us save lives. There is a right and wrong way to go about it, when you ignore the protocols and throw caution to the wind, that’s not the right way to go about it.
The SEALs have an ethos that specifically mentions not drawing attention or taking personal credit. However, I don’t think that means you can’t tell the story of your unit. But if your primary objective is to bring and fame money to yourself, you’re really just spitting in the face of the guys beside you.
You take away from the effort of everyone else when you highlight yourself like that. I just can’t imagine how you could take the credit for something like that, when so many others died trying to find Bin Laden.
To the rest of America, he’s the SEAL who killed Bin Laden. To the special operations community he’s just the guy who was in the right place. It takes the same amount of trigger pressure to kill a target, one pound one way or another…depending on shooter preference.”
Clearly, these three warriors do not support O’Neill’s decision to go public. Based on their comments, it seems that information as sensitive as what we now know might be better left unsaid.