Finally, a news photo that illuminates the politics of the current Iraqi firestorm rather than the wrenching, but mostly non-explanatory wailing and corpse images.
As opposed to the propaganda coming out of Washington that "the Iraqi government" is cracking down on "criminals" (feel free to substitute the name "Moqtada al-Sadr" right there), the picture tells another story. What we see are demonstrators in Sadr City burning a photo of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim chumming it up with Junior in the White House.
In this case, because al-Sadr boycotted the last round of elections and Maliki and al-Hakim stand to lose ground in the October vote, it appears Maliki, using government police and military, teamed with al-Hakim's Badr Brigade, are trying to wipe out the Mahdi in Basra while it has the chance. In an act of exploitation that John McCain probably couldn't figure out in 100 years, Maliki has actually lured the U.S. into launching air strikes on behalf of his psuedo-governmental faction.
As regards the picture-in-the-picture, here's the original image of GDub (while thick in his George Washington phase) meeting al-Hakim in the Oval Office — a meeting which took place a month before the U.S. military embarrassed itself by trying to bust al-Hakim's son for visiting Iran. (And then, who aren't we backing that isn't tied up with Iran?)
The tragedy of this shot is not that Bush is going to burn for getting played in a deadly factional game he doesn't understand. It's that, in wearing George Washington like a halo, the symbol core of our democracy is going to burn with him.
(image: Kareem Raheem/Reuters. March 27, 2008. Sadr City. via YahooNews)