Tuesday, February 12, 2013


this esquire article is getting a lot of attention for a lot of different reasons: the new details about the bin laden raid, the article's startling claim that the guy who shot bin laden lost his health care, and the fact that the health care loss claim appears to be bullshit.

and then david weigel highlighted this bit from the esquire article:
"Three of us were driving to our first briefing on the mission," he said. "We were thinking maybe it was Libya, but we knew there would be very high-level brass there. One of my guys says, 'I bet it's bin Laden.'" Another guy told the Shooter, "If it's Osama bin Laden, dude, I will suck yo' dick."
"So after I shoot UBL, I bring him over to see his body. 'Okay,' I told him, 'now is as good a time as any.'"
did you see that? no, not the oral sex joke. stop being distracted! i'm talking about the switch in bin laden's first initial. i've noticed recently that when his name is written out it's "osama bin laden" but when he is referred to by his initials it's "UBL". i almost never see his first name spelled "usama", at least not in american publications. not long ago, i used to see "OBL" for his initials, but these days UBL seems to dominate. why is that?

(for what it's worth, i think that usama is a better transcription of أسامة, but people still generally pronounce his name as "oh-sama" not "oo-sama" so the "osama" spelling makes more sense given the now-standard american pronunciation)