Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
November 4, 2005

Are You Telling Me You Don't Like Pepperoni!

Tenetcheneywbush1

(click image for larger version)

I’m still not sure how to handle these situations.

Yesterday, I linked to a piece I did for HuffPo analyzing this White House photo taken during the invasion-eve meeting in which Bush, Cheney, Tenet, etc. decided to launch a pre-emptive strike on Saddam Hussein.  My ideas was to experiment with the idea of “investigative photojournalism.”  As I went over it later, however, the post was so filled with conjecture and speculation, and the ideas seemed to run so far ahead of the picture itself, I decided to put the post out of its misery.

In the meantime, however, because a number of skilled and serious BAGreaders took off running with what I would call a much more grounded take on the photo, I decided I should post the image here, and continue to let you speculate on the dynamics of the situation.

One thing I had done was establish a timeline indicating that the four hour meeting was over three hours old at this point and that the decision to strike (urged by Tenet based on C.I.A. intelligence) was likely already approved.  Given those apparent facts, I started to speculate.  My thesis was that Cheney, who I saw as the real decision maker here, would not let Tenet off the hook regarding the veracity of the intelligence.  I had a bunch of other even more left-field ideas as well.

But as one commenter at HuffPo said, the guys could just as easily have been thrashing over a pizza order.

(image: Eric Draper, White House/A.P. March 20, 2003.  Oval Office.  whitehouse.gov)

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