Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
September 24, 2006

POW! (Not.)


While American men and women are spilling real blood in Iraq and Afghanistan, the GWOT has devolved into a clown show.

For combined idiocy and duplicity, this week was a classic.  The setting was Pervez Musharraf’s visit to Washington.  The background was Bush’s off-script comment last week indicating the U.S. might forsake Pakistani sovereignty to hunt for bin Ladin.  The episode featured the political retaliation, involving Islamabad — immediately before Musharraf’s meeting with Bush — exposing the Administration’s threat, immediately after 9/11, to “bomb Pakistan back into the stone age.”

The situation sent the three major players running for cover.

Richard Armitage, who delivered the threat, claimed it never was that blatant.  The file photo above, however, has been circulating for days as the embodiment of the fist in Musharraf’s face.  If the heavy-handedness was appropriate at the time, it now plays like the kind of intimidation and bullying that causes the Administration to poison every diplomatic well.


Then we have these real life caricatures from the joint press conference.

In a brilliant example of how the terror war’s big winner is the corporate state, Musharraf displayed feigned outrage, but refused to elaborate on the “stone age” charge because he has a book coming out shortly, and his (American) publisher wouldn’t let him steal any thunder!  (I can hardly write this without thinking I’m kidding.)

As for Bush? (Please, someone issue an overdone hunching and gesticulation alert.)  He employed the famous “stupidity defense,” claiming he first read about the threat last week in the newspaper.

… And we thought he didn’t read the paper.

(image 1: Toru Yamanaka/AFP.  2005.  Via YahooNews.  image 2:  J. Scott Applewhite/A.P.  Washington.  September 22, 2006. Via YahooNews.)

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