January 16, 2013

Slinking Out of Afghanistan? Not So Fast.

Obama Karzai

We all know what it’s feels like to try to leave a party unnoticed. That’s actually the context of this last visit of President Karzai, the White House’s quietly revised Afghanistan war policy and this thoroughly unremarkable news photo.

Leave it to Getty’s Chip Somodevilla, however, to immortalize the hint before Obama and the United States silently execute the final exit. Taking a ritualistic photo we’ve seen a thousand times, Chip puts that much emphasis on his colleague’s floor cameras investing a quirky quality into this picture. To the extent this stock scene is also about a getaway, those funny lenses — like eyes on you and cartoon eyes — can’t help but relate to our abandoning of a nightmare and the deafening silence surrounding it. Just like that instant at the party in which your own eyes alight on your friend before he’s made through the vestibule, suddenly he’s not so innocent and your not so naive anymore.

(photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images caption: Afghan President Hamid Karzai (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands after holding a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House January 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. Karzai is in Washington for face-to-face meetings with Obama and senior members of his administration about the future of American commitment to Afghanistan and when troops may leave the country after more than 10 years of war.)

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Michael Shaw
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