December 19, 2006



(full size here)

From the beginning, I have used the metaphor of a binge to describe the Administration’s compulsion to invade Iraq.  Because it’s part of a cycle, you can’t have a binge without a morning after.

Of course, its one thing when “abandon” occurs once in a while, as a form of release.  It’s something completely different, however, when that behavior is necessitated, heightened and prolonged as a neurotic process in a weak individual — or a weak organization.

If, for months now, the Administration’s wall of denial has been slowly cracking, it’s just in the past seven to ten days, or so, that large pieces are finally giving way.

I find this shot of Cheney in the Oval Office — posted December 7th to the TIME White House Photo Blog — really remarkable.  In the past month, many of you have sent me messages and links, in some form titled: “The Smirk Is Gone.”  In this case, Cheney is so transformed, he doesn’t even look like the same person.

Truly, it’s a shot I won’t forget.  It captures Cheney as the lone figure in the Oval Office, just steps from Bush’s so-called “Resolution” desk.  The vapor on the glass indicates just how cold the atmosphere is outside.  As well, the clouding is a reminder of the stress of maintaining the insulation. More significantly, it’s the first time I’ve seen him completely unguarded and thoroughly disarmed.

For a long time, I thought Cheney would escape scrutiny for twisting the intelligence, whipping up the hate, and bringing on the war.  Whether he’s ever formally held to account however, this image (in its possibility; in its “morning after”) insures he’s already been measured — and he knows it.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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