Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
July 14, 2009

Horrors of a Different Color

Ridge color codes.jpg

It was curious coming upon this image this morning more than nine years down the road. Its circulating on the wire with the disclosure of the secret CIA assassination program, the rumblings about a Justice Dept. investigation into the Bush/Cheney torture regime, but particularly, news the Administration is finishing up a review of the color-coded terror alert system.

Even if history dramatically tempers emotion and memory, one can’t overestimate how traumatized Americans were on and immediately after 9/11. (What compounded the lesson for me was experiencing the intense effect on and through my patients.) In considering the photo now, however (given this photo dates from a year-and-a-half after “the events of September 1, 2001”), what’s important, if not necessary to attempt to do is imagine a realistic response to the attack, on the one hand, as distinct from the paranoia of Cheney and the histrionics of Bush, on the other.

(image: Joe Marquette/A.P. caption: In this March 12, 2002 file photo, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge unveils a color-coded terrorism warning system in Washington. The Obama administration will announce Tuesday, July 14, 2009, that it will review the nation’s multicolored terror alert system that was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks)

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