09/25/2005 01:49 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Reading the Pictures: America Beyond The Buses



It's strange how the newswires create synchronous patterns out of disparate events. Besides the visual similarity and the fact both of these incidents happened on the same day, both images could also be seen to symbolize America on the wrong track.

The first image shows the bus that exploded on a traffic-choked highway outside Dallas on Friday. The accident killed up to 24 residents who had been evacuated from a nursing home while taking flight from Hurricane Rita.

The accident -- apparently due to the ignition of oxygen tanks for medical use -- might have been the result of negligence, improper procedure or simply chance event. It is still to be determined, however, whether the amount of time the vehicle was stuck on the road was a factor in its demise.

Because the bus exploded in the midst of a chaotic evacuation characterized by overreaction and poor planning, the accident stands to symbolize -- at least in part -- a "post-9/11" breakdown in reaction to a large scale threat.

The second of these horrific incidents shows the remains of a suicide bombing of a bus in Baghdad. At least for the left, scenes like these are almost singly suggestive of Bush's Iraqi intervention, and the resulting deterioration of civil order, rampant insurrection, and the potential fracture of the whole place into little pieces.

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(image 1: Matt Slocum/AP. Friday, September. 23, 2005. northbound Interstate 45. Wilmer, Texas. YahooNews. image 2: Khalid Mohammed/AP. Friday, September. 23, 2005. Baghdad, Iraq. YahooNews.)