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March 28, 2010

Showing Afghan Command Team Who’s Boss

Obama Afghanistan McChrystal Eichenberry.jpg

Talk about killing four or five birds with one stone.

Obama simultaneously: knocks the Tea Party out of the news cycle with his Afghan drop-in (and, take that, NCAA!); illustrates his stronger grip following the big health care win; lets McChrystal and Eikenberry know who's boss (a lot more convincingly than that last attempt); puts McChystal directly on the spot, given that the surge was really the General's idea; and, with this over-the-top, supreme chairman-like set up, leaves both men almost cowering over all the Afghan civilians we've been bumping off in waging our high profile hearts-and-minds campaign.

(photo: Pete Souza/White House. caption: President Barack Obama meets with U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, left, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, March 28, 2010.)

  • Grace Nearing

    There’s something jarring about having glass-enclosed push-pin notice boards in a war zone, especially a war zone as primitive as Afghanistan. Like, the US military just doesn’t get it.

  • CF2K

    On the carpet.

  • DanM

    Eikenberry looks as if he’d like to get under the table, while McCrystal might want to go over it. The President is definitely eliciting a response.
    That said, I’ve not often been fond of the leather jacket/bomber jacket on any POTUS — unless that look is an established style-of-choice it strikes me only as photo-op material.

  • Stan B.

    The death of innocents in Afghanistan is now squarely on Obama’s shoulders…

  • thirdeye pushpin

    there is a bit of orpheus and matrix imagery, but what really strikes me is all the artificial light that is bending and twisting the glare…afghanistan as a house of mirrors, where the only light is from our own projections, with oddly obama providing the dark contrast.
    while it puts eikenberry and mcchrystal in the light…it does not give one a lot of faith in the light that they are in.

  • ptm

    I do love the sterility of the room, total focus on the big screen tv looming over the background. And the looks on their faces is really priceless, especially coming from two men who are for the most part totally in charge of those around them (and know it). Hmmm, let’s just say they’re leaving their comfort zone under duress.

  • robertdsc

    Strange that the TV is an older square type and not rectangular. The angle of the shot from behind Obama is really awkward. I’m not too comfortable with that.

  • bystander

    Eikenberry always seems to have that round shouldered, canted forward, head retracted “look” about him. As though he’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders, and has had to duck an array of blows over the years. Old Stanley looks about the same as her ever does, too. He’s either on offense or defense, and his mouth always has a bit of a moue about it, even when he’s trying to smile. I went back to look at the earlier photo of these three which had been featured at the BAG. Quite honestly, their expressions don’t look all that different to me. What is different is the way the photographer has composed the photo.

  • bystander

    One historical note. Apparently, Pete Souza was the photographer in each instance.

  • Blue Shark

    I’de like to know what is being said.
    …In this case the picture is not a substitute for a thousand words.

  • yg

    maybe they’re discussing how many more soldiers are expected to die. lives that must be sacrificed for the sake of politics.
    in light of all the deaths this war has cost, i don’t understand you framing this issue as a game of dominance and applauding obama for scoring a power play.

  • lq

    I think this is round 3 of the talk Obama had with McChrystal last fall (round 2 was the other Bag photo Michael references).
    Remember, McChrystal gave a speech in which he pretty much went off the policy reservation regarding our policy/tactics in Afghanistan – he did that late last Sept. Then Obama made an unexpected decision, last minute, to go to Europe and plead the case for Chicago at the Olympics – and Chicago was knocked out in the first round – big headlines, Obama failed. Remember those pictures of McChrystal meeting with Obama on AF One after the Olympics bid thing was over? I think that meeting was round 1 of ‘Listen, this is the reservation, and you will follow the President on this.’ Just my opinion, but I think Obama is keeping the General on a tight leash, just in case he decides to free lance again. I thought the trip to Europe was brilliant- whole focus was on the Olymic bid failure, no big deal about the meeting with the General. Obama is a pretty smart guy; just imagine the headlines if he had summoned McChrystal back to Washington for the ‘talk’.

  • lytom

    The issue of Afghanistan is separate from whatever else Obama is against. Not seeing Obama’s face is disturbing, just as his approval of increased strikes of drones against Pakistan and Afghanistan and his administration (State Department legal adviser H. Koch) defense of using drones as legal. It is too reminiscent of Bush era. Well lets defend drone attacks as legal, just like defending torture. Just because these two characters McChrystal and Eikenberry cringe and look servile should not be summed up as Obama’s victory. Victory over what? All three of them are engaged in criminal war acts. The supreme Commander in Chief may not want to face that. Nobel Peace price for warmonger is a joke.

  • chachabowl

    It reminded me of the scene in “Pulp Fiction” where we first see Ving Rhames as Marcellus (from behind, with a small bandage at the base of his head), explaining to Butch that he needs to take a fall.

  • ken krayeske

    Anthropomorphically, the television and bulletin boards could be getting dressed down as well…

  • Anonymous
  • Tommy_u9


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