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228 posts categorized "Bush Focus"

Dec 21, 2009

Best of the Bag Decade: BAG Looks at the Iraq War

(The Best of the Bag Decade is our end of the year, end of the decade look at some of the best BAGnews posts and analysis.)

The Iraq War has been (and still is) a frequent subject on BAGnews and, frankly, such a topic of government and media spin that I find it impossible to highlight the best posts in a single entry.  This is particularly true when I read through the sharp analytic comments posted by our readership over the years.  To encapsulate the coverage, I’ve restricted myself to the year and a half following the 2004 election, a time when the Bag moved to consistent posting of photographs instead of political cartoons.  It was also a time in which the war propaganda machine played at full power to a usually compliant media. 

We begin with the 2005 White House photo release of a 2003 image showing staged strategery of the Bush Administration's “war planning” in Pizza II,

BOB strategery 1.

the pro-war iconography of the Iraq “Marlboro Man”, and propaganda aspects of Michael Yon’s photo of a US soldier and a dying Iraqi child.

BOB War icon 2., 3.

The aftermath of the election saw further examples of the government and media spin on Abu Ghraib, noted in BAG’s The Most Obscene Pictures Taken at Abu Ghraib and the “framing” of low-level soldiers in Lynndie Comes Up Short.  


The post-US election time period also marked the first photograph by Alan Chin posted on the site (which brought about a fascinating discussion of the embed process) and the posting of the equally uncomfortable imagery of War As Child's Play. 

BOB IRAQI1 6., 7.

Continue reading "Best of the Bag Decade: BAG Looks at the Iraq War" »

Nov 14, 2009

Gimme A "W"!!!

Bush Cheerleader.jpg .jpg

Ahh, yes.

(photo: Shuji Kajiyama/AP. caption: Former U.S. President George W. Bush, second right, smiles as cheerleaders sing the school song at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. Bush gave a speech to students at Waseda University School of Sport Sciences as a special lecturer of the school's Akihiro "Ike" Ikuhara and Peter O'Malley Memorial Sports Management Class.)

Aug 27, 2009

Rove's Fun and Games in the Name of Wounded Warriors


Props to Media Matters for taking apart the distortions about the VA's "end-of-life" educational pamphlet propagated by Karl Rove, Sean Hannity and Fox News.

Most relevant, in light of Karl's playful prop on Hannity's Monday show, however, was Rove's claim that the booklet, on page 99, directed vets to the Hemlock Society as the single referral for "end of life" directives. In fact, according to MM, the Hemlock Society is not even mentioned in the 51 page booklet.

Something progressives sometimes fail to bring up, however, in countering the "death panel" meme -- at least, when it comes to the V.A. and veterans counseling -- is the larger hypocrisy at play. In other words, what Rove and the wingnuts are doing is playing politics on the backs of the thousands of often severely mentally and physically disabled veterans they -- especially Rove, as the architect behind the selling of the Iraq War -- unnecessarily put in harms way in the first place.

It wasn't until late 07, by the way, that Bush even appeared with the more severely war wounded -- and only then after these veterans, having been sought out by photojournalists, became the subject of numerous media stories. Sadly, Bush's photo-ops mostly exploited these soldiers as props in the attempt to mitigate the PR damage and salvage his legacy in his last year in office two years after Katrina exposed Bush/Rove's "compassionate conservatism" for the slogan it was.

So Karl, if you're that intent on exploiting the kind of suffering and cost that would lead a veteran and/or his family to question the worth of existence, maybe you should tell it to the people paying for your handiwork, not Sean Hannity.

(screen grab: FOX News)

Aug 04, 2009

Partying Like It's, Well, 2000 - 2008

Bush Tussauds.jpg

If you were walking around Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in D.C. today and took in this figure along every other famous stiff gussied up for Barack Obama's birthday -- that would be one thing. But that's not the case. Instead, what we encounter here is an isolation shot sent out over the newswire for national consumption, the imaging way too suggestive to contain the context.

As a result, what the picture serves up is a garishly brutal and brutally resonant portrait of a Presidency. (Ha! And they were so omnipotent, they thought they could even dictate the legacy.)

What makes the picture worthy, the same way immediate satisfaction is to be had ripping drywall away from rot, is that it nails the essential character of Bush's unblinking administration (and also reconciles the early Bush with the much ballyhooed dry drunk version).

9/11 notwithstanding, Bush and his cowboys were always about a party.

(image: Alex Wong/Getty Images. caption: Birthday decorations are placed on the wax figure of former U.S. President George W. Bush in a mock Oval Office at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum August 4, 2009 in Washington, DC. The museum celebrated President Barack Obama's birthday with dressing the wax figures as party-goers and made them available for visitors to take pictures with.)

Jul 27, 2009

Bush/Cheney Suppressed Global Warming Images

when the evidence of global warming (courtesy of their own spy satellites) was staring them in the face, not one speck of evidence ever informed Bush and Cheney's behavior

(click for full size)

With the availability of all that whiz-bang U.S. security technology, the paranoid team of Bush/Cheney couldn't produce one speck of credible evidence of Iraqi WMD. But then, when the evidence of global warming (courtesy of their own spy satellites) was staring them in the face, not one speck of evidence ever informed their behavior, let alone leaked out to the American people ... until the Obama Administration declassified these photos last week. It's right there in black-and-white. Or, enveloping black and memory of white.

And then, adding to the saccharine of what you can-and-can't see from certain states of the union, these images were taken of the Alaskan port of Barrow.

The Guardian has the backstory.

(h/t: Terry. images: NOAA)

Jul 08, 2009

Obama - Putin Not in Love!

Bush Putin June 01 Herbert.jpg

Obama Putin.jpg

Apparently prompted by the eager Condi Rice (see paragraph 22), Dubya convinced himself before they had even met that Putin would become a best friend for life.

Of course, the quote from the first engagement at the Slovenian Summit in June of '01 at the Brdo Castle in Slovenia is famous by now:

"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. "I was able to get a sense of his soul. "

It was in that very first meeting Bush decided Putin had to come down to the ranch, leading to an intimate three day visit which included that famous pickup truck ride.

But that was then and this is now. This week, we saw a return to a more unremarkable get-acquainted process marked by the mundane realities of healthy distance; feeling other people other out; and, yes, skepticism for gamesmanship and power-tripping. Perhaps that's why, as the NYT reported, Obama slipped not once, but twice, in referring to Putin, the enduring heavy in Russia, as (still) the country's President.

The image above -- one of dozens and dozens, I might add, that captures Bush and Putin (only too happy to indulge Bush's fantasy) in an intimate grip -- is the parting photo from that first Slovenia summit. The second image, as Obama engages the hard-nosed Putin, captures Barack at Putin's dacha outside Moscow doing what Bush never did, which was start by breaking the ice.

(revised 4:20 pm PST)

(image 1: George Herbert/A.P. IMAGE 2: Novo-Ogarevo, July 7, 2009. ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images. linked pickup image: Crawford, Texas, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2001. Either AP Photo/Doug Mills or REUTERS/Win McNamee.)

May 31, 2009

Your Turn: The "W," Bubba and (Deep Pocket) TD Bank Show

Bush Clinton TD Bank.jpg

What about this picture?

Bush-Clinton Policy Talk Strikes a Congenial Tone (NYT)

(caption: Former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Frank McKenna (L) moderates a discussion on global affairs between former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush (C) and Bill Clinton (R) at a convention center in this handout photo released by TD Bank from the event in Toronto, May 29, 2009. This is the first time the two presidents have participated in a joint event together.)

May 04, 2009

Condi ... Beyond The 4th Grade

Rice-Stanford-Torture-2.jpg Rice-Stanford-Torture-3.jpg Rice-Stanford-Torture-4.jpg

Do you remember how Bush -- known for stumbling and stuttering for eight years -- was all-of-a-sudden so lucid (and furious) in his final press conference? Dropping your guard will do that.

So, what is the media doing amusing itself over a 4th-grader asking Condi Rice a waterboarding question when Stanford students had the practically historic confrontation with her at a dorm reception three days earlier? Watch the video taken at Stanford with an eye on Rice's body language. Whereas the Secretary of State, too, was always bumbling over herself to find the right "diplomatic" words, here -- with her guard down -- she is suddenly perfectly articulate, if also impressively contemptuousness (in this environment of otherwise higher learning).

The student behind her most likely can't see it, but I'd say his expression certainly registers the fist.

(screen shots from video by reynagarcia621/You Tube)

Apr 23, 2009

"Cabinet Room" Revisited

leibovitz cabinet room.jpg

I thought it was worth taking another look at the Leibovitz "Cabinet Room" portrait, which was not only shot right after the start of the Afghan invasion but was also captured -- in terms of present context -- four months after the Bybee torture memo was written. (Sorry I don't have a larger size. Leibovitz and VF have been very protective of the image, even though it's now been run twice by VF.)

Because the Bush Administration's war crimes have survived so many periods of brief and intense attention while cycling through the public and media sphere, it's hard to imagine a final reckoning this time. I do find solace in the fact, however, that history (as exemplified by the harder light being shined right now) will indeed have its multiple drafts.

For backstory on the photo (from Powell's question to Leibovitz about what the group should try to communicate to Rummy's little boo-boo), I urge you to read page 64-65 of Vanity Fair editor David Friend's wonderful book: Watching The World Change: The Stories Behind The Images Of 9/11.

Obviously (and Powell is as good an example as any of the others), I think we've got more than "resolve" communicated here.

Also: 200904231350.jpg

(Image by Annie Leibovitz, second-time-around, from: Farewell to All That: An Oral History of the Bush White House - 2/09 VF.

Apr 17, 2009

A Rather Troubling Newswire Image On The Day Obama Releases Bush Interrogation Memos

Camp X-Ray Plywood Wall.jpg
click for full size

Yesterday's release of those Bush Administration interrogation memos has caused an unusual offering of file photos to be distributed to the newswire.
I'm surprised I never saw this one before. Shades of FEMA '05, what the image depicts is an "improvised" accounting of detainees recorded on a plywood wall who had been treated at the now-abandoned hospital facility at Gitmo's Camp X-Ray.

Excuse my fury (and my nomination of the image as symbolic), but was the excuse here -- as exemplified by the defense offered by the director of national intelligence at the end of the NYT memos story -- that crude measures were necessary to prevent another 9/11 style attack?

In this case, things certainly must have been so dire there was no time even for even pen and paper.

(image: Paul J. Richards - AFP/Getty Images. April 25, 2007. US Naval Station in Guantanamo, Cuba)

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