Compassion of a Navy Seal

President Obama isn’t the only one who got a numbers bump from the recent killing of Osama bin Laden. Books about Navy Seals have been flying off the shelves. One very good one is The Heart and the Fist by Eric Greitens, a Duke and Oxford educated Rhodes Scholar turned Navy Seal turned humanitarian volunteer.

The Heart and the Fist is quintessentially American. Greitens combines the warrior ethos of toughness and courage with the compassion of a humanitarian.

He starts with conversations with his grandfather, a decorated hero of WWII, and his reflections on the Holocaust, and the mantra of “never again.” But the reality is, it does happen again and again and again. During college Greitens volunteered in Rwanda, Bosnia and with Mother Teresa. He saw that the UN had no real power. They could only bring aid when the guys with the guns allow it. The UN can’t protect anyone—just ask those victims of Srebrenica. He saw that it takes strength and courage to move from good words to great action, and to protect those in need of protection.

After graduating from Oxford, Greitens joined the Navy Seals. The book provides a rare first hand account of the intensive Seal training, culminating with “Hell Week.” My nephew Aaron, who retired from the Seals a couple of years ago confirms Greitens’ account. Seals train men to lead others on the most difficult missions and they succeed.

Greitens served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. After returning, he used his own combat pay and the disability pay of two friends to start “The Mission Continues,” an organization whose mission is to build an America where every wounded and disabled veteran can serve again as a “citizen leader.” The organization provides fellowships for post 9/11 wounded veterans to work in community-based non-profit organizations. Mentors are provided to assist the vet in developing his or her professional and educational goals.

Greitens maintains that courage and compassion are two sides of the same coin. To live a worthy life requires that we be both good and strong.

Question: Do you feel safer after Bin Laden’s Death?

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8 thoughts on “Compassion of a Navy Seal

  1. Matt Klecka

    I actually saw Eric Greitens speak last year on his life and personal ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati. His story truly is an incredible and courageous one. He was willing to do whatever it took, if not my diplomacy then by strength, to right injustice. Kudos and thank you to all those Americans that serve and protect us and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. God bless them.

  2. Brian "Dwight" Hoff

    My sincere thanks to your nephew and to all that have served the citizens of the US in any capacity. One of my true regrets is that I did not serve. Navy did not take 18 yr olds with so many points on their liscense (sp?) at that time.
    As to feeling safer. I feel no more or less safer now than I did before 9-11. The odds of something happening to me specifically are and always have been very small. The freedoms of our society have always allowed the possibility of an attack. Freedoms that I believe have been diminished due to our knee jerk reaction to fear. A fear I think may be exploited by some as a political strategy to influence opinions, votes, and balances of power. I wonder who actually does more harm.. the terrorist or the folks who use the threat of terrorism to change our country, our values, and our freedoms?

  3. doc

    The threat is as real today as it was on 9-11. For example, here in the NW, the FBI just recently arrested two Islamists who were buying weapons and plotting to attack US Armed Forces recruitment centers in Seattle. That would have resulted in many civillian deaths as well as those military personnel being targeted. I bet you didn’t hear about that in the media……..there is a conspiracy of silence within our domestic media regarding the terrorist threat in our midst. The death of Bin Laden dod not change anything. There are still people who want to kill us.

  4. Jerry Johnson

    You absolutely certain that Bin Laden is dead ? Kindly advise how you know.

    Your Next read = Lone Survivor by Marcus Lutrell = From his youth, thru his Seal Team training (including Hell Week), to Afghanistan where his team was engaged in a highly classified mission that only Lutrell survived. Incredible and true story of integrity, allegiance, guts and courage !!

  5. Jeff

    To address the question, Do you feel safer after Bin Laden’s Death?

    I feel no more safe or less safe. My biggest fear is not the attitude and hatered from the people outside of the USA that want to see us destroyed, it is those who are within our country legislating from a position of weakness and greed that are making our country and what it stands for weaker by the day. I have 2 sons under the age of 4 and I fear for their future and all of our futures everyday. The greed of the corprate baby boomer generation has comprimised everything the “greatest generation” fought to up hold and effectivly destroyed it. Now we are preparing to bow down to China as their economy is poised to pass our in the coming years. History shows when the #1 economy goes to #2 there is a major war, again I have 2 boys under 4 and I fear for their future daily.

  6. David Blackburn

    Bin Laden is nothing compared to the International banks, the Federal Reserve, Home Land Security and the Patriot Act. This is why our country is falling apart, not Bin Laden. These are much bigger threats to our nation and constitution than any single terrorist.

  7. Lloyd Graff

    To David Blackburn,
    Oh my goodness. Thank God for the Navy Seals with all the conspiracies out there. What worries me each night is the National Parks bureaucracy. Yosemite has pot growers they say and Islamicists have a cell in Yellowstone. Bernanke has a hideout at Zion and the new head of the IMF practices paintball in the Everglades. And be very wary of the National Monuments.

  8. David Blackburn

    I don’t believe in conspiracies, I just study the facts. Have you read the Patriot Act or how and why the Federal Reserve was created(The creature from Jeckel Island)? Don’t worry, most of our represenatives haven’t read them either. Take off your blindfold, truth is stranger than fiction.


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