02 August 2011

"Helicopter hovering over Abbottabad at 1 AM (is a rare event)"

The New Yorker has just published a blow-by-blow account of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. You know what still strikes me about the entire thing? Never mind how well the President has handled the debt-ceiling business over the past several weeks; dig the timeline around the raid:
The next morning [that is, the morning of Friday 29 April], the President met in the Map Room with Tom Donilon, his national-security adviser, Denis McDonough, a deputy adviser, and [counterterrorism adviser John] Brennan. Obama had decided to go with a DEVGRU [Naval Special Warfare Development Group] assault, with [Vice-Admiral and Navy SEAL Bill] McRaven choosing the night. It was too late for a Friday attack, and on Saturday there was excessive cloud cover. On Saturday afternoon, McRaven and Obama spoke on the phone, and McRaven said that the raid would occur on Sunday night. "Godspeed to you and your forces," Obama told him. "Please pass on to them my personal thanks for their service and the message that I personally will be following this mission very closely."

On the morning of Sunday, May 1st, White House officials cancelled scheduled visits, ordered sandwich platters from Costco, and transformed the Situation Room into a war room. At eleven o’clock, Obama’s top advisers began gathering around a large conference table.
See that paragraph break there? It's like a literal depiction that the article omits any mention of what the President was doing between that Saturday afternoon phone call and the Sunday evening (East Coast time) raid. But recall what was actually happening during that paragraph break. The SEALs were finalizing their preparations for the raid and spending the night in Jalabad, while the President was doing this:

And the next morning he put in a half-round of golf before heading to the Situation Room to watch the video feed, likely to blow off steam, and maybe also to keep up the appearance of it being any ordinary weekend morning. President Obama is one cool cat, and it's this kind of thing that makes me more sure than I otherwise would be that the GOP won't be able to pull of the presidential election in 2012.

On a different note, the New Yorker article mentions a participant speaking "chaste Pashto." I'd be interested to learn what that is; googling isn't much help, other than showing me a bunch of duplicates of a comment to the article itself asking what "chaste Pashto" is. Maybe some kind of schoolmarm Pashto? A "High Pashto"? A "received pronunciation" Standard Pashto?


upyernoz said...

i think "chaste" in "chaste pashto" is not referring to anything particular to pashto. it just means "paired down" or "austere". see, for example, definition #4 of the word "chaste".

i have heard of the word "chaste" to refer to the language abilities of people in other languages. e.g.

Glomarization said...

Neato. Thanks for the info and links. I'd never heard that usage before.