If you follow the BAG, you might expect that the mystery surrounding the Saddam Missile Strike/White House pizza shot hasn't sat well with me. It was on my mind for a good part of a drive I made this past Sunday from LA to San Diego.
The more I thought about it though, the more I, too, have to conclude this photo (supposedly depicting the decision to launch a pre-emptive strike on Saddam) was staged. Why? There is a laundry list of reasons. Foremost is the fact the photo was issued by the White House at a point at which "message control" was at its tightest/finest. Here are more reasons:
1.) From the timeline, we know that this shot occurred toward the end of the meeting, and it just doesn't make sense that Bush Co. would have allowed a photograph before or while the bombing decision was made. 2.) If the decision still was being argued, Rice and Rummy would still be there. 3.) After 3+ hours, these guys just wouldn't look that put together with 3 of the 4 wearing coats, etc. Also, it just doesn't make sense that Tenet would still be arguing the case this late into the meeting.
4.) I'm guessing that Tenet actually posed with his jacket off to dramatize his "working" role in making the case. 5.) The best explanation for why these guys would be all bunched up at/behind Bush's desk is because they were arranged that way for the dramatization. 6.) It doesn't make sense that Bush is holding up this paper -- probably the finding to attack --at the same time Tenet is arguing the case, unless the photographer and/or the participants thought they could convey the process and the result of the process at the same time. 7.) How often do you see a shot of Bush wearing glasses? 8.) Doesn't the presence of Cheney's glasses -- nicely situated on top of his files -- also argue for the use of the reading glasses as props? 9.) I'm still not convinced that the figure in the window belongs to Card. If it's not, could it be the reflection of someone eying the scene and helping stage manage the photo? 10.) It doesn't make sense that the little gold clock would be so close to the front edge of the desk unless a point was being made -- i.e. time is of the essence.
There, now I feel better.
(image: Eric Draper, White House/A.P. March 20, 2003. Oval Office. whitehouse.gov)