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The question for Eric Greitens: Is he cashing in on SEALS brand?

In a front-page story Sunday, The New York Times explores whether former Navy SEALS, such as Missouri gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens, have gone too far when it comes to emphasizing their service with the elite military force.

Greitens, a Republican who has written or is featured in four books about his involvement, defends his approach, saying, “The more successful Navy SEALs there are, the more glory it reflects on the community and the better it is for our country.”

But critics have had enough, saying exploitation of the SEALS has gone way too far and that SEALs prize discretion.

In fact, the Times reports that the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif., which oversees the elite force, has urged its active members to tone it down.

“The raising of Navy SEALs to celebrity status through media exploitation and publicity stunts has corrupted the culture of the SEAL community by incentivizing narcissistic and profit-oriented behavior,” Lt. Forrest S. Crowell, a SEAL, wrote in one critique.

Greitens himself is the target of an attack that said he has benefited too much from his service. He said the criticism stems from a dispute over SEAL drug use in Thailand that Greitens helped expose.

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