Cocktail Chatter

Osama, More Osama, and a Little Tequila

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

Mission Accomplished: How Obama’s focused, hands-on pursuit of Osama Bin Laden paid off,” by John Dickerson. The president is passive no more. Dickerson looks at how the President proved himself Sunday as a cunning and proactive commander-in-chief.”

All Work and No Play: A president’s day is more than whatever appears on his public schedule,” by John Dickerson. Call him multitasker-in-chief. You may have thought that the president’s mind was focused on budget cuts, education reform, or Donald Trump birther jokes last week: The king of compartmentalization fooled you. Dickerson highlights the president’s ability to oscillate between people, venues, and atmospheres while wrestling with state secrets.

Still Stupid, Still Wrong, Still Immoral: Why the death of Osama Bin Laden shouldn’t change our views about torture—or of the people who approved it,” by Dahlia Lithwick. Bin Laden’s death has resurrected the torture debate. We still aren’t certain whether the information pried from prisoners through torture actually helped us catch Bin Laden. Even so, arguments for torture continue to spiral in “similarly pointless rhetorical circles.”  Lithwick argues that we should just move on.

The Best Kind of Military Intelligence: Careful preparation, rather than expensive weapons, took out Osama Bin Laden,” by Anne Applebaum. The technology we used to finally nab Bin Laden turned out to be antiquated, cheap, and universally available—– the human mind. Applebaum applauds the military for tapping into its wealth of brainpower to find Bin Laden, instead of relying on costly and unnecessary technologies. “Death of a Madman: What Obama does next will help define the legacy of Osama Bin Laden,” by Christopher Hitchens. Bin Laden may be gone, but the countrymen who aided him are still squirreling around the summer resorts and caves of Pakistan. Hitchens explains that a single success does not define our triumph. Instead, it should be part of a continuous effort to thwart terrorism.

Release the Dead Laden Photos: Suppressing them infantilizes the nation and gives the White House unwarranted news control,” by Jack Shafer. See no evil, but speak it all you want. By refusing to show the photos of Bin Laden’s demise, the U.S. government is simply exploiting its power over the press and public opinion. Shafer believes the pictures should be shown—not to glorify a horrific death, but to give the nation a sense of closure.

Their Fates Were SEALed: Forget the U.S. version of the Bin Laden raid. Any adult male found in the compound was a dead man,” by William Saletan. Chivalry isn’t dead, but it has been shot in the leg. The Navy SEALs only killed one woman and wounded another. The men, however, never stood a chance. Saletan reveals the SEALs’ ostensibly gender-based tactics.

The Debacle That Didn’t Happen: So many things could have gone wrong in the raid on Bin Laden’s compound,” by Daniel Byman and Phillip Padilla. Downed helicopters. Mistaken identities. Tip-offs, explosives, and public humiliation. Fortunately, none of these “what ifs” came to pass. But Byman and Padilla paint a terrifying picture of what could have been.

The New New Normal: How members of Congress are using the Osama Bin Laden killing to prove they’ve been right all along about [insert issue here],” by David Weigel. A chorus of “I told you so!” echoed down the halls of Congress after the announcement of Bin Laden’s death. Self-congratulatory sentiment apparently cuts across party lines: Both pro- and anti- water-boarders see the raid as evidence of their own political prophecies. “Questions for Anna Chlumsky: The My Girl star talks about the upcoming HBO series VEEP, her turn as Liz Lemon’s nemesis, and her life-changing encounter with a psychic,” by Jessica Grose. Just don’t call her Veda. Chlumsky’s return to Hollywood from the throes of editorial tedium was just what the palm reader prescribed. The brainy-chic star is likable and a little weird—like a good celeb should be.”Tequila!: On Cinco de Mayo, consider a few margarita alternatives,” by Troy Patterson. Wisdom in the form of the famous adage “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor” should by no means be ignored. The Mexicans picked their poison well, but Americans far too often banish tequila into the margarita corner. Patterson whisks this lovely liquor onto the dance floor with a few key recipes.

Cats of War: The Pentagon’s top-secret feline special-operations program, revealed,” by Holly Allen and Christopher Beam. Dogs are notorious for their role in clandestine government operations: This week, Americans cheered for the canine who helped nab Bin Laden. But there’s another species that deserves our recognition for its special-ops efforts.  In this slideshow, Holly Allen and Chris Beam show us where the claws really came out during the raid.

62 Going On 22: When did my mom become more fun than me?” by Jessica Grose. Retirement is the new college, and Grose has stepped into an episode of ‘Parents Gone Wild!’ Her mom barhops on weeknights, jets off to Florida on a whim, and seems uncharacteristically breezy. Grose explores why at first she was bothered by her mom’s new party girl persona.

Barack Obama Sent Osama Bin Laden Two Bullets: The final edition of Barack Obama’s Facebook Feed,” by Christopher Beam and Chris Wilson. In the beloved Facebook Feed’s final edition, Obama posts his long-form birth certificate, Osama Bin Laden joins the group ‘Fishes’, and the United States of America changes its name to “USA!” Warning: Social media nerds may shed a tear when they see the President’s final bit of wall activity.