Culture

‘We Got Him’

If you read one newspaper piece describing in vivid detail the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, let it be the one in today’s New York Times by Mark Mazzetti, Helene Cooper and Peter Baker. It’s filled with the sort of color and voice not typical of most newspaper pieces — hell, it reads like a damn Tom Clancy novel or something.

On Sunday afternoon, as the helicopters raced over Pakistani territory, the president and his advisers gathered in the Situation Room of the White House to monitor the operation as it unfolded. Much of the time was spent in silence. Mr. Obama looked “stone faced,” one aide said. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. fingered his rosary beads. “The minutes passed like days,” recalled John O. Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief.

The code name for Bin Laden was “Geronimo.” The president and his advisers watched Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, on a video screen, narrating from his agency’s headquarters across the Potomac River what was happening in faraway Pakistan.

“They’ve reached the target,” he said.

Minutes passed.

“We have a visual on Geronimo,” he said.

A few minutes later: “Geronimo EKIA.”

Enemy Killed In Action. There was silence in the Situation Room.

Finally, the president spoke up.

“We got him.”

Damn. And as an added bonus, the story even details what everyone in attendance snacked on: “A staffer went to Costco and came back with a mix of provisions — turkey pita wraps, cold shrimp, potato chips, soda.”

(Pic via White House Flickr feed)

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