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Cuthbert J. Twillie and Other Bold American Warriors

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By:Thomas Fleming | November 06, 2014

Who killed Osama bin Laden? The question is almost as fraught with mystery as who killed JFK—or the man who shot Liberty Valance. Two different Navy SEALS on the scene have sold competing accounts, one to a book publisher and the other to Esquire,  a magazine that in better days purveyed soft girlie pictures and lifestyle advice to young men yearning to be known as “gentlemen.” Now it specializes in news pornography.

There’s no point in getting into a debate over who struck—or rather shot and killed—Osama, an unarmed man allegedly within reach of a gun, and shot one of his wives. I have no doubt about the courage and ability of the SEALS and shed no tears for Bin Laden, but I do have to wonder what kind of homes they grew up in or what sort of training they received in the Navy that they should want bragging rights about an incident that would have cost a policeman his job. I cannot help thinking of a pointless and gratuitously inserted scene from My Little Chickadee. W.C. Fields is tending bar with an old pal in a western saloon. Getting some lip from a drunken woman, Fields recounts the night he was tending bar in New York, and he had to caution a “tough paloma" named Chicago Molly, “None of your peccadillos in here.” The lady sticks her hand into the hot lunch—succotash, Philadelphia cream cheese, and asparagus with mayonnaise “and hits me right in the mug with it.” When Fields claims he knocked her down, the other bartender protests:

“You knocked her down? I was the one who knocked her down.”

“Oh yes, that’s right. He’s the one knocked her down, but I was the one started kicking her….You ever kick a woman in the midriff that had her corsets on? I almost broke my big toe.”

The whole argument is moot, however, since we know that the man who really killed Osama was the fearless commander-in-chief who had the guts to watch the incident unfold on his TV screen.



11/6/2014 10:42 PM

  I should clarify the final sentence by saying there are conflicting testimonies about how much the President saw "in real time" from cameras mounted on the helmets of one or another SEALS and how much he saw shortly afterward, whether in film or photographs. It goes without saying that there is no reason to believe anything said by Leon Panetta or other cheerleaders for the fearless Obama who, like a latter-day Stalin, was given the credit for the entire operation.

Hans P. Bosse
11/7/2014 12:07 AM

  I always thought it rather unseemly for a President, in this case Junior Bush, to announce that he was putting a "bounty" out on Bin Laden. It's even worse when his successor, Soetero, takes the credit for authorizing what amounts to a hit. Future presidents might want to, er, watch their backs.

Nenad Aleksic
11/7/2014 12:21 AM

  According to Dave Grossman's book "On Killing" 98% of men have an innate resistance to killing and will usually suffer psychologically if they do. He go's on to say that 2% of men are aggressive psychopaths, who are capable of killing without remorse. Hence our brave Seals who can kill unarmed men or probably even strangle cats and brag about it without guilt. All part of being an alpha male, the type of jerk we all admire and women just love to pieces.

11/7/2014 04:11 PM

  I have studied Grossman's book with considerable care. He argues convincingly that the American reluctance in WW II to aim a gun and shoot the enemy resulted in new training programs (beginning roughly in the Vietnam era) that desensitized American soldiers--prototypes of our modern video games. What he has to say about long-range killing through bombing, missiles, and artillery is particularly chilling in an age of push-button slaughter. I made good use of his book in a chapter of Morality.

11/7/2014 05:02 PM

  were not the seals that did the deed offered up in the slow-flying chinook helicopter crash? 20 or so died? that was the payback, no? or the back-stab...


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