Parker is a syndicated columnist for The Washington Post Writers Group.
The squabbling between political campaigns and the harrumphing of pundits were put in proper perspective at, of all places, the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner — the annual Prom on the Potomac where 2,000 or so media members and movie stars gather to honor the president and admire one another.
It is customary at this “exclusive” congregation for media organizations to compete for the celebrity “get.” Thus, this year, all were abuzz over the stars, including George Clooney, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Steven Spielberg and, of course, Kim Kardashian, without whom no shallow occasion would be complete — and finally, Lindsay Lohan.
Then there was Table 46, one of The Washington Post’s tables, to which I was fortuitously assigned. We were the un-celebrities — writers, editors, Undersecretary of State Bob Hormats, and a military officer who introduced himself as “Bill.”
He was obviously important. His dress uniform was festooned with medals and ribbons — lots of them. And he had that bearing we recognize in military elites that betrays another kind of space, a private zone where intelligence and readiness keep each other quiet company.
Bill . . . who did he say?
Turns out this humble, polite man was Adm. William McRaven, leader of the Joint Special Operations Command that oversaw the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. In a recounting of the eight-month lead-up to the raid, Time magazine features McRaven as part of President Obama’s highly secret, and secretive, inner circle. He’s the guy to whom CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell was referring when he turned to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in the early planning stages and said, “It’s time to call in the pros.”