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May 3, 2011

Your Turn: The “Security Room” Photo — White House/Obama In Real Time


I don’t crop. It’s a standard rule and I follow it. Today, though, I’m making an exception because I think the image of Obama is so important, and illuminating. The full image of the President’s team following the attack on bin Laden’s compound is below it. You can click to enlarge it, or go over to Flickr and view it in incremental sizes.

As of late yesterday, Pete Souza’s image has become “the photo,” akin to being in the room during during what will likely be one of the crucial moments of Obama’s Administration, not to mention, any other. The NYT has more backstory. I’m interested in your thoughts on the scene: the mindset, the team, the individual players, the configuration and Pete’s angle.  I’ll join you in the discussion thread.

(caption: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Seated, from left, are: Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, Assistant Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Standing, from left, are: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Tony Binken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Audrey Tomason Director for Counterterrorism; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured.)

  • Stella

    I’m interested in the expressions of the women. So THAT’S how it feels to be in the room while men are doing justice.

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      Stella, several threads I’ve read elsewhere had comments about old
      white men running the world. Are you mostly referring to the
      demographics here (only 1 woman “at the table”) or are you also
      referring to the body language, especially Hillary’s, or other things
      “gendered” in the behavior or atmosphere?

  • Darkwing Duck

    My eye bounces back and forth between Clinton and Webb. When I first saw this photo, I had to look really hard to find Obama. Sounds weird, eh? But I can’t get past the sense that Obama is somehow a guest in this room–he’s not at the table. Does anybody else get that impression? It’s a visual inversion of Clemenceau’s statement that “War is too important to be left to the generals.”

    • Glen

      When I first saw this photo, I had to look really hard to find Obama. Sounds weird, eh?

      No not weird at all. When I first saw this I literally did not recognize Obama at first. It reminded me of how under extraordinary circumstances people show themselves in a way they normally try to hide.

      I am not saying this in a negative way. I remember a time when my son – now grown and healthy – broke his arm as a child playing and I literally did not recognize his cry – the pain drew something from his very depths. Although I ran to the playground to respond, I actually thought it was another child injured, so strange was the sound of his cry.

      That level of intensity is very unlike Obama’s usual cool. Unlike some of the people in the photo, he is not relaxed at all, but everything in his being is focused there.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ac.missias AC Missias

    Am sort of embarrassed to admit that it reminded me of a couple times during the West Wing series when they were in the Situation Room waiting on a covert rescue — the orders, then the silence and the tension, and sounds without explanation, and then a voice coming back on to announce the results of the raid, and the huge release of tension in the room. Can only imagine what it would be like during the much more extended operations that were involved here. There’s a reality to knowing that you’ve set in motion a real-time event, that you will be hearing concrete identifiable soldiers succeed or die trying, not to mention the international import of the operation — it’s something that distills down a lot of what the President and our other top leaders have to live with very frequently and which the rest of us, thankfully, would find foreign and surreal. Making the calls, deciding who lives and dies, hoping to get it all right.

    I’m sure that there were other shots, but this one has the full range of reactions — worry, curiosity, tension, seriousness, fear. I imagine everybody experienced most of those, but the photo is iconic because it captures so many facets at once.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ac.missias AC Missias

    Am sort of embarrassed to admit that it reminded me of a couple times during the West Wing series when they were in the Situation Room waiting on a covert rescue — the orders, then the silence and the tension, and sounds without explanation, and then a voice coming back on to announce the results of the raid, and the huge release of tension in the room. Can only imagine what it would be like during the much more extended operations that were involved here. There’s a reality to knowing that you’ve set in motion a real-time event, that you will be hearing concrete identifiable soldiers succeed or die trying, not to mention the international import of the operation — it’s something that distills down a lot of what the President and our other top leaders have to live with very frequently and which the rest of us, thankfully, would find foreign and surreal. Making the calls, deciding who lives and dies, hoping to get it all right.

    I’m sure that there were other shots, but this one has the full range of reactions — worry, curiosity, tension, seriousness, fear. I imagine everybody experienced most of those, but the photo is iconic because it captures so many facets at once.

  • 14All

    Is Clinton seeing something unspeakable?

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      This is actually a great question, not just because of Hillary’s expression, but also because of the question. Unless I’m missing something, the White House has delivered this incredibly powerful image to the nation, but it doesn’t exactly tell us what’s happening in the moment/at what point in the mission it was taken. The WH Flickr stream also offers us this shot

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/5680161629/lightbox/

      which appears to be taken soon before, but the two photos leave even more questions in terms of physical (and emotional) pacing. It’s that much more difficult to reconcile because the earlier photo shows Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff actually on the screen. In the photo above, though, we can only imagine what (or who) they are looking at, especially with the two diagrams as prompts, but the description in the (linked) NYT backstory that the team of the White House was primarily connected, by the hookup, with Leon Panetta. We would assume Panetta was also showing the team live video of the the attack, but it could just have been that he was on the screen and relaying bits of news.

      I’m interested if anyone has more info.

  • 14All

    Is Clinton seeing something unspeakable?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=734546332 Joe Kubiniec

    Simple Propaganda.
    How many stills did they pan through to find just the right one to release.
    The one that shows how “concerned” and “serious” they all are.

    Marketing of State sanctioned murder. Pure and Simple.
    Obama should be returning his peace prize with that blood thirsty look on his face.

    Another day to be hanging my head as an eh-merican.
    peace
    box

    • http://profiles.google.com/ac.missias AC Missias

      I agree that, while dramatic and part of a historic moment, these photos raise questions about why a photographer would be in the room, what is gained by releasing them right away (as opposed to years later), etc. Especially with that degree of tension, it ’s hard to see a photographer as anything but intrusive.

      On the other hand, I don’t see Obama’s look as bloodthirsty at all, but rather haggard in the manner of a man somewhat haunted by the events he has set in motion and the responsibility for whatever the outcome might be. This is not the part of being President that he dreamed of…

    • Paula

      Well, no kidding this is propaganda, Pete Souza is the “official” WH photographer. What’s curious about releasing THIS photo about THIS event is that, based on what a number of people are saying, what we’re reading is not always clear cut. Is Obama in a position of real power, or is he just a role player? Are they watching death or the moments around it? Is it a moment of victory or resignation to a preordained fate? For a piece of “propaganda”, no one looks particularly in control, not even Gates and Mullen, who look run of the mill politicians here. They are watching something happen — unlike Bush and the Mission Accomplished tableau, they are clearly secondary to Something Else, among them is the spectre of:

      The War on Terror, Death, the gravity of the “decision”, the long process that got them to this point, as well as the stuff that might happen after; the possibility of being condemned for their actions and awaiting their fate/judgment, as well as the possibility of being praised, etc.

  • http://www.serr8d.blogspot.com/ Serr8d

    As long as we don’t forget who made this possible, what with Guantanamo and that ‘torturous’ information-gathering policy. And, who’s policy it was, kept in place and not brushed away ‘as promised’, led to this glorious triumph for the current administration.

    It’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong; but done ‘in spite of’, not ‘because of’ current White House inhabitants.

    • http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ Ralfast

      And again, wrong on all counts. 8 years of nothing, vs 2 years of something. No proof that torture (no quotation marks) worked or any of those other polices (remember Iraq) worked to bring Bin Laden to a lasting justice.

      Another attempt to take credit where credit is clearly not due and justify war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      Expect to see more of this in the future.

    • Anonymous

      The torturous information-gathering crapola has been debunked – by Donald Rumsfeld, no less. The single bit of data which proved useful was revealed during traditional interrogations which occurred months after the waterboarding had been discontinued.

      No matter how hard you try to spin it, the Bush presidency will remain a national embarrassment, an 8-year administration devoid of ethics, morals, and basic common sense.

    • omen

      proof is in the pudding. if torture was so effective, this would have happened on bush’s watch.

    • Max Udargo

      What you’ve said here is silly. Republicans have never taken bin Laded as seriously as they should have. I’m old enough to remember when Clinton was launching strikes in Afghanistan trying to kill bin Laden, and the Republicans were throwing a fit and accusing him of “wagging the dog” and trying to distract the country from the all-important issue of Monica Lewinsky. I see parallels between that time and today, when President Obama has to deal with this birther nonsense when he has much more serious things on his mind.

      Bill Clinton may have been too slow in ramping up the effort against bin Laden, but by the time he left office bin Laden was a top priority and Clinton had tried repeatedly to kill him. And by all accounts all of the machinery Clinton had put into place to hunt bin Laden came to a screeching halt the day GW Bush stepped into the White House. Bush and his foreign policy team were obsessively focused on Iraq and Saddam Hussein, and some of them had even criticized Clinton for his focus on al Qaeda when they believed the real threat was Iraq and al Qaeda was only a front.

      So, despite clear warnings in the months and weeks before the attacks, the Bush administration refused to focus on bin Laden. I don’t know if the attacks of 911 would have been avoided if Gore had been president, but I’m certain a Gore administration would have taken the warnings more seriously and been more focused on the real threat.

      Then the failure at Tora Bora and then the huge distraction of the Iraq War, which is what the administration had wanted in the first place and they were quick to exploit the 911 attacks as a reason for attacking Iraq. Many of Bush’s foreign policy team had publicly urged Clinton in the late 90s to attack Iraq and unseat Hussein. Eventually, Bush even closed the CIA office in charge of getting bin Laden.

      When campaigning for president, Obama pledged to re-focus on Afghanistan and getting bin Laden. He has fulfilled that promise despite objections from his own base (who must not have been listening very carefully during the campaign). Barack Obama promised to get bin Laden and he did.

      People used to say that “911 changed everything,” but it changed nothing for Bush and his crew. They didn’t stop believing that their focus should be on Iraq. I’ve never heard one of these guys recant their support for Laurie Mylroie’s discredited theories tying Saddam Hussein to the terrorist attacks we know were produced by al Qaeda. For them, 911 was an opportunity to do what they had been wanting to do since the Gulf War, and bin Laden wasn’t the top priority.

      Barack Obama didn’t agree with that, he changed that, and that’s why Osama bin Laden is no longer alive.

      Sorry to go off on a rant here, but I’m sick of the revisionism. In fact, it’s not like anything’s being revised, it’s just that nobody seems willing to assert the obvious truths derived from incontrovertible facts. Being president on the day we suffered the deadliest attack on our soil in our history has somehow forever immunized Bush against the obvious evidence that he didn’t do as much as he should have to prevent it, and now he’s even going to get credit for killing bin Laden, something else he made an inadequate effort to pursue? Just damn silly.

  • donald dasher

    It’s significant that he is the smallest of the seated images b/c he is seated farthest from the photographer, yet is the most engaged in the gravity of the moment, and has the least contrived “pose” for the photographer. Compare this to GWB’s nearly cross-eyed countenance while reading to kindergartners after being given the news of the 9/11 attacks.

  • http://twitter.com/degner Egypt Photographer

    Did Obama and friends want to imply a photo more like this one? http://i.imgur.com/KxuGl.jpg

    If the raid had been unsuccessful or a few soldiers had died would the photo have been released?

    • http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ Ralfast

      Of course not. Oh and great manipulation.

    • omen

      it was bush who was known for being a gameboy addict.

      presidenting is hard werk!

  • Tardigrades

    Ask, who has the most to loose… in the room… if this mission fails? AND who sees this as just a game/television moment? Who sees another mistake in the offing? A note about “women in the room”, everyday women give the thumbs up/down on all life, period. Life is the responsibility of women and that is life – ask any mitochondria.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=734546332 Joe Kubiniec

      every day women give thumbs up/down on life. Really?
      Try tellin that to the women in Idaho, Kentucky, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, and on….

      Hillary is one tuff sob, so i know she doesn’t need our backing. Except to call out that there were only 2 women in the photo compared to the onlookers.

    • omen

      Ask, who has the most to loose… in the room… if this mission fails? AND who sees this as just a game/television moment?

      i really dislike biden’s expression. he doesn’t look concerned at all.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Roger Ailes (the good one) was right. Moral: Don’t fuck with a Kenyan.
    http://rogerailes.blogspot.com/2011/05/moral-dont-fuck-with-kenyan.html

  • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

    I’m really fascinated by Obama’s placement in the room — and in the photograph — and the overlapping symbolism.

    On one hand, the vibe is very democratic — he’s just one with his troops, modestly situated in line with the back row (of people in the room). Another vector has him lined up with Biden, though, the line of the left wall setting up as “the power row.” At the same time, however, Souza has Obama nearly lined up with the intersection of the two walls so he also looks cornered and isolated there — which he likely would have been big time, on both scores, if this had gone bad.

    • http://profiles.google.com/ac.missias AC Missias

      I suspect that Obama is a pacer, which means that he needs to be at an edge of the table where he can stand up, pace a bit, maybe walk around to talk to this person or that, or just keep to himself and his thoughts.

      still finding it hard to see anger on his face. perhaps you see what you look for? Serious Black Man = angry? dunno.

  • http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ Ralfast

    First impression: The real thing (the crowded situation room with its bare white walls) is not as sexy as the Hollywood image (West Wing and countless others large rooms, with long tables and deep shadows that add gravitas to the scene.)

    Second Impression: The President is off to the side, while the man in uniform is manning not a high tech console but a laptop. He is just an observer as is everybody else in the room. Once the decision was made, it was out of his hands.

    Third Impression: Mrs. Clinton look of shock/horror. Is she seeing Bin Laden bullet ridden corpse?

  • Bugboy

    The Presidency always puts years on the President. What you see here is a few years being put on the President in the course of a few hours.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=810889128 Molly Whipple Douthett

    The fate of two men hung in the balance at this moment; OBL and Obama himself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000538883794 Chris Hainey
  • Anonymous

    My eye was drawn to Clinton right away, partly because her suit contrasts with the prevailing garb. But the first thing I noticed was her hand over mouth. Then for some reason I couldn’t help being reminded of someone swearing on a Bible.

    I’m wondering what I would have thought if I hadn’t known what they were watching and had to infer as much as I could about it from the faces and body language. Gotta think more about it.

  • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

    Interesting tweet from David Corn just 2 minutes ago about who has seen what:

    Q: Leon Panetta says he and POTUS not see the actual shooting. Has O seen the photo? Carney not saying what’s been seen by whom. #whbrief

    • omen

      well, that blew my theory.

      would they admit it if they had?

  • Dude

    I first thought this pic is fake! To many different shadows, blurs and sizes. After finding this high-res here, I don’t think so anymore. But I still think, the obscured print in front of Hillary is a gay porn picture… or a satellite shot of the Osama mansion?

  • charlie

    The guy on the right edge, blue shirt, red dark, bald and glasses: It could certainly be an optical illusion, but if you look closely at the lens on the right, I believe there’s a reflection of the screen showing a man’ face, could be the military person in the second, earlier photo.

  • VCinCA

    a few thoughts:
    i thought it was interesting that the doc on top of the laptop closest to hillary is anonymized (pixilated?)-suggests that whatever rush there is to ’share’ what is going on inside isn’t quite as rushed as we might think.
    On Obama: he may be not ‘at the table’ b/c he was heading the meeting from where the video is now showing, so he had to move back (it might just be a practicality rather than strategic positioning). he also stands out b/c he is dressed less formally than anyone else with his alligator T & jacket (perhaps b/c he lives there & can pop upstairs to change, or b/c he was coming from golfing). to me, he also looks more serious than most of them, perhaps b/c he has more on the line if this fails, perhaps b/c he knows more and is not having to interpret/decipher what he is seeing/hearing as much as them (which can lead to slightly more befuddled expressions)..

    he’s also got nothing (no laptop, no binders/papers) in front of him, and BOTH doesn’t have his arms behind his back (like one is being impartial/impersonal), and doesn’t have his arms folded across his chest (like one’s mind is already decided about the good vs. bad of doing something and on how one will react to the outcome). this, to me, is the most interesting thing about this pic, that he is leaning forward, engaged, and his arms & hands leave open multiple possible interpretations and multiple futures.

  • omen

    i just heard wh press secretary jay carney was asked about this photo. press corp wanted to know what it is they were looking at. carney declined to answer.

    that made me think they’re watching the moment bin laden got a bullet in his head.

    • omen

      is it impolite to request a crop of clinton too?

    • omen

      i don’t eat when i’m stressed. that was my first impression upon seeing the photo. that the stress caused him to lose weight.

  • Artist-53

    Hilary looks as if she is watching a snuff film.

    President Obama looks as if there is little space between events he’s watching and himself.No matter where he sat in the room. He’s looks alone. A zen moment of sorts, meaning he’s one with what ever is he’s viewing. I don’t think he looks at ease with the decisions he’s had to make, but still, felt he had to make the decision.

    Military and Intelligence have seen it all before, they’re vets compared to Pres. Obama, but still have a look of , careful calculators.As well as this is big.

    But all are intense and are acutely aware of what they are watching and why.

  • Anonymous

    Every individual in this picture is looking at the same thing, completely focused and transfixed on the event in front of them (with the single exception of the General, who appears to be using his laptop as part of the event reporting, but still fully attentive). No side conversations, no distractions, no posturing. Nobody’s waiting for a chance to talk, leave or grab anyone else’s attention. Something has commanded their absolute undivided attention. Their unity is as striking as their serious expressions.

  • Kizard

    My first impression was that President Obama had the look of blood lust in his eyes. Then my wife suggested something all together different: complete terror. I think the latter is might be closer to the truth.

  • Kizard

    My first impression was that President Obama had the look of blood lust in his eyes. Then my wife suggested something all together different: complete terror. I think the latter is might be closer to the truth.

  • Anonymous

    I find it interesting that the one person doing anything active is the general.

    Obama and team – the civilians – made the decision to go and then let the military run the military operation. Everyone else male and female is just along for the gut wrenching ride. At that moment that is the way it has to be I guess.

    Oh, that and the most “presidential” moment of Obama’s administration and he ain’t wearing a friggin flag pin.

    Oh that and his jacket doesn’t say “president” (or POTUS or whatever the official White House catalogue gear says on it). At least not on the outside.

    Other than that I feel sorry for the guy attached to the elbow on the far right. Here is the most historic photo in let’s just say a long time and his elbow is the only indication that he was there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeffrey-Goldfarb/34603203 Jeffrey Goldfarb
  • Bennett

    The comment about Obama’s position in the corner as the position of responsibility is correct. Also, the comment about his absorption in the action, not in the personal relationship around him, is spot-on.
    Noticed that to Biden’s right is what appears to be an empty chair. This would be Obama’s, in the middle of one side of a rectangular table (as in the Cabinet Room). He has left that seat in order to have a better view without twisting around and also to speak immediately to the General. Notice also that he laptop at the occupied seat has a larger screen than the others have (not to mention the General’s tiny screen) and is a different color. Both Gates and Biden look like they have watched the hand of military force in action from one of the power seats at least a few times before the present occasion.

  • Bennett

    Another, wider point: one of the purposes for releasing this particular photo is to show that, despite what anyone says, the President was watching the killing of bin Laden as it happened. They want to express the uniqueness of the target, because clearly the President does not watch every deadly covert action live. This is the message of the photo: that, despite the necessities of decorum in public statements, the job being done was a direct and adequate response to the singular emotions among Americans and around the world about bin Laden and to the singular threat he posed.

  • omen

    listening to cnn, an anchor described how bin laden “resisted,” thus the seal member shot him. i’m pretty sure usama would have been shot regardless, even if he had been found cowering in the fetal position. what marine wouldn’t want to lay claim to bragging rights of “i shot bin laden”?

    but then that made me wonder, did obama give the kill order? or was he expecting bin laden to brought back alive?

    i hadn’t considered the question before if obama had ordered bin laden’s death. can you imagine giving out a mission to kill someone? that couldn’t have been an easy thing to do. he wasn’t trained to do this. his whole life he’s labored under the notion that murder is wrong. now he orders the death of someone? how do you flip one’s notion of right and wrong and up end it? that’s gotta to do a number on your psyche.

    the second guessing he put himself through must have been punishing. you can see it on his face. thoughts like “did i do the right thing?” or “am i being reckless with these people’s lives?” another thing, was he worried about the legality of the mission?

    • Glen

      It was a “capture or kill’ mission – but you are probably right to suspect that the “kill” side of it was more heavily weighted. But this is not that different than the calculus that goes into a law enforcement apprehension – the possibility that the target will be killed is always present.

  • Civillawnj

    Very simple: posed. You fucking nitwit.

  • Obama

    I saw a good one on nydailynews and improved it.

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  • http://twitter.com/Jaliyatwits Jaliya Temple

    Here is the mission, being accomplished …

    Thank you for the close-up of Barack Obama; it’s the first one I’ve seen. I see resolute presence in the president’s face; a pure, piercing focus in his eyes — and perhaps he’s being pierced in return via whatever image he is seeing in the instant; I see red-rimmed exhaustion — there was probably a lot of eye-rubbing amongst that group — Who knows how long it had been since any of them had slept or had a moment away from their part in making the mission happen; and a realization in the president of this ‘crux moment’ — Until it was done, it could have gone any way … and I feel sure President Obama was fully experiencing the complex moral weight of the decision he made … as commander-in-chief, the weight was all on him.

    He would definitely not be waving a ‘Mission Accomplished!’ banner over his head; nor would he strut across a large space crammed with military personnel while wearing the show-off flight suit of a man who seemed to think, on some level, that war is a whole lotta fun for the top dog who gets to execute the orders.

    This image of Obama reminds me of a photo taken of John F. Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs engagement — JFK was standing with one or two other men (Bobby being one?); his head was slightly lowered and he was holding his chin in the classic “thinker” posture; the *stillness* of both men in these moments strikes me … and their awareness of how grave these moments were … The images cannot contain the intensity of what these men were generating as they stood upon decision points that would have global repercussions.

    I don’t imagine that Obama has slept easily since bin Laden’s killing; this President gives every indication of having a very strong conscience …

  • Bugboy

    I am drawn to comparisons of Lincoln and how various photographs of the man became to be the icon of the man himself. Lincoln was unique in his day for being highly conscious of his public image in photographs and was dropping in on photographers at every opportunity.

    I see this image of grim determination becoming the icon of this man, one that ends up on coins, in paintings and on statues.

    I don’t buy any of the talk about any of them watching death porn. They were doing serious business, and they didn’t need images to tell them they were killing people.

  • http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ Ralfast

    This also reminds me of how modern communications devices and specifically TV/Computer screens have reshaped modern human interactions. In a way, the (unseen) screen is both the giver of information and the link between all these individuals. They are “bouncing off” their emotional responses off the screen, sharing a moment physically, but isolated mentally and emotionally.

  • http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ Ralfast

    This also reminds me of how modern communications devices and specifically TV/Computer screens have reshaped modern human interactions. In a way, the (unseen) screen is both the giver of information and the link between all these individuals. They are “bouncing off” their emotional responses off the screen, sharing a moment physically, but isolated mentally and emotionally.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QCFYD47V5LCSDQ3YYDMTOAZR5E r

    The PowerPoint crashed (get an APPLE). Nothing horrible is being seen-note the female staffer in the back-she doesn’t appeared horrified. I wish the President looked lke Gates. Gates is looks in control. The President looks like a worried staffer off to the side. Interesting photo-but not a great one.

  • http://profiles.google.com/degner David Degner

    For a bunch of political analysts the Slate Gabfest did a really good job of discussing this photo and the lack of a “Dead Obama” photo: http://www.slate.com/id/2292575 at about the 17 minute mark, it goes on for a long time.

    • omen

      dead Usama!

  • Guest

    Y’Obama!

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  • Guest

    Habeas Focus: Show US the body.

  • Stella

    I mean that our top diplomat, the Secretary of State looks horrified and Ms. Tomason, Director for Counterterrorism looks like a child being ignored by grownups. That’s how the picture struck me, as one who is not entertained by war. They could be watching a football game hosted by the well-decorated General.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think Mrs. Clinton looks horrified. I’ve seen her do that hand-over-mouth thing before, and it seems to be something she does when she’s concentrating. Her eyes aren’t shocked or staring – she’s just very focused and very serious. Ms. Tomason is not being ignored; there’s no interaction at all among the people in the picture. Every eye is glued to the screen. She appears childlike because she’s a small woman in a room full of tall men.

    I don’t see people being entertained here, either. These people are concerned and sober. They get the import of what is being done here, and it goes well beyond political posturing and game-playing. This group of people is looking at death, and they don’t find it funny.

  • http://profiles.google.com/futurebird Susan Donovan

    I see anger. Not wrath-like, but more measured. I’m very sensitive to the angry black-man stereotype (it is personal for me) I don’t think seeing anger here is playing in to that at all.

    I would not want to be on the wrong side of those eyes.

  • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw
  • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw
  • Biffroughneck

    What’s the something? Kudos on the Bin Laden strike. Deeper national debt and increased unemployment, military involvement on yet another front, the continued operation of Guantanamo — WHERE THE INFORMATION ON THE COURIER CAME FROM. You are a blind, ignorant loyalist.

  • http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ Ralfast

    Why am I a blind, ignorant loyalist? And to whom am I supposed to be loyal too? Or what am I ignorant off?

    Again, no proof that torture led to Bin Laden’s position/death. In fact, all information (other than Faux News attempts at historical revisionism) point in the other direction.

    Why have Guantanamo and indefinite detention, when you can put terrorist on trial and interrogate them in any SuperMax prison?

    If anything I criticized Obama’s failure to uphold his pledge of office (you know to the Constitution) as well as his campaign promises, specially his failure to investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity (including torture) perpetrated (and admitted too) by Bush himself as well as others in his regime.

  • omen

    i don’t think we can compare this is to routine police procedure. is there a bigger trophy than bin laden’s head?

    doesn’t labeling a suspect a “target” pretty much guarantee he’s going to get shot?

  • http://kcrumley.myopenid.com/ Kevin

    Michael, the Flickr images provide datestamps from the original photos (under Actions-> View Exif info). The iconic one was taken “2011:05:01 16:05:04″, and the one you just linked to was taken “2011:05:01 20:03:36″, so they were approximately 4 hours apart.

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