Letters to the Editor

Former SEAL Robert O’Neill says he shot bin Laden — so is he a hero?

Robert O’Neill, a former Navy SEAL, has told several media outlets that he was the person who shot and killed Osama bin Laden, breaking the “code” among special operations military personnel of not seeking recognition or reward for their work. Regardless of his reported heroic actions, is a SEAL who breaks that code a hero to you? And, should there even be such a code?

At no time during his interviews did O’Neill portray himself as a hero.

In fact, he gave credit of the success of the mission to his fellow SEALs and especially to the CIA analyst in charge.

I call him a hero, not because of killing bin Laden, but because he devoted 16 years of his life to the service of his country, which included 12 deployments. Thank you, sir.

— Lavada McDaniel, Granbury

I cannot know O’Neill’s heart. However, his motives appear to me as honorable.

Since the early days of the “frogmen,” SEAL operations have been a closely guarded secret. And I understand why many members of that community may feel betrayed.

On the other hand, I do not believe he has revealed any classified information.

All of our military men and women are heroes to me. Any one of them would have taken that shot if given the opportunity.

— David Stetson, Azle

I have been disappointed in this young man’s declaration from the get-go.

The whole team killed bin Laden, not just one man.

The code was made for a reason, and all SEALs agreed to it.

Remaining anonymous was necessary to protect the lives of its members.

— Patsy Bailey, Arlington

One of the biggest reasons that the Navy SEALs have the total respect and intrigue within our minds is the very silence about their accomplishments that is expected.

This SEAL code of silence is absolutely necessary in order to protect not only themselves, but current and future SEALs.

O’Neill is nothing but a glory seeker. His associates and the U.S. will pay for his actions.

— Bruce Kalapach, Fort Worth

Didn’t Obama break the code when he had pictures of the SEAL team released to the major newspapers and the White House cooperated with those making a movie?

Apparently the only “new” information is O’Neill’s point of view, and he was there.

So, in my book, he is a hero as are all the participants and SEALs in general.

— Pat Palm, Fort Worth

The SEAL code of honor breakers are doing it for monetary gain and their 15 minutes of fame. It is a real shame.

Their shame does not reflect on all who take an oath of honor, but it does make SEAL teams look bad.

— Frances Gregory, Arlington

All who take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and do the job they are assigned to do are heroes.

In reality the government broke the code because the code is intended to protect the identity of all those who do the job.

In many cases our warriors are subject to prosecution in the countries they perform in, for their missions are not legal.

I find it peculiar that O’Neill revealed his role. Most of those I have served with and have known over the years don’t talk about the things they experienced.

Some memories are better left alone.

— Clayton D. Riley, Weatherford

O’Neill has put himself and probably his family in grave danger.

He is not a hero to me. He did his job but broke his promise to stay quiet.

We and the rest of the world don’t have to know everything about everything. If we did, we probably couldn’t sleep at night.

— Bonnie Hromcik, Benbrook

As big a story as this is, with bin Laden having been criminal No. 1, the details need to be put out for all to hear about the man who risked his life in the completion of this operation.

America needs real-life heroes to be acknowledged.

— Rick Cruz, Fort Worth

He is a hero for getting bin Laden, but more heroic in my opinion is his having the courage to break the code of silence and brave the displeasure of his peer group to reveal the straight dope.

The Obama administration spilled the beans in the first place, so he isn’t saying anything that is not already public knowledge.

What he has done, though, is made it almost impossible for them to gain further political advantage by distorting and lying about said beans.

— Joel Downs, Hurst

Yes, a hero in the same sense and scope that all of the SEAL team that night were heroes.

He was part of a team, subjected to the same threat and risk.

He happened to be the one on the team standing at the right spot at the right time. It was fate, not individual heroism above and beyond others on his team.

— Jim Knight, Keller