After reading Tim O’Brien’s “How to Write a True War Story” and watching Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s documentary “Restrepo” My view of Schmidle’s article pertaining to the killing of Osama Bin Laden has not changed much.
Junger and Hetherington’s “Restrepo” qualified the emotions and descriptions of Schmidle’s piece. I feel as if Schmidle was well aware of the sights and sounds that a Navy SEAL could have experienced on the night they killed Osama Bin Laden, but I do not agree with viewing Schmidle’s article as hard news. Instead, Schmidle’s piece should have been published and treated as a war story likened to Tim O’Brien’s work.
As Tim O’Brien says in his book “The Things they Carried” it is impossible to tell an entirely true war story, as so many details of war are either forgotten or chosen to be remembered differently. Perhaps it us, the readers of Schmidle’s article who should have known that it is impossible to know the truth behind a war story. Perhaps we are wrong for blindly reading his article, not thinking about the fact that every one of the Navy SEALs would have a different vantage point from which their memories come from.
I think the ultimate lesson is to read the article once for what it is and second for what it may not be. The reader should ask him/herself what does or does not qualify this article to be the absolute truth? Why should or should not this article be presented in the manner that it is? This method lets the reader experience an article both as a piece of art and as a piece of fact.