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Michael Shaw Headshot

Reading The Pictures: Today's Heroes, Tomorrow's Wallpaper

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When you've committed your capital, your Administration, your legacy and your country to "winning" in Iraq...

When all reason dictated a major re-assessment (if not, a retrenchment), and instead, you blindly redoubled your efforts to escalate your obsession, maintain the hype, and put even more troops at even greater risk...

When, as the expression of their commitment and steep sacrifice, you've put the "doers" -- America's war veterans, as well as their widows, widowers, and grieving parents -- at the center of every high profile public gesture you've made, which meant showcasing a soldier (fallen or otherwise) for several years running, in the State of the Union speech...

And knowing how much your Administration is overly-governed by token actions and carefully framed pictures...

What are we to make of the fact that your guests of honor in your State of the Union spotlight this year, reserved for America's top heroes, featured, in order, a fabulously rich professional basketball player (link), and a man who saved someone's life in the trenches of ... the New York subway (link).

Of course, an Iraq Silver medal-winning mention was slipped in last, just before you said goodnight (although Sgt. Tommy Reiman, above left, in contrast to Mr. Mutombo and Mr. Autrey, failed to make the cut on your photo gallery -- see 1 and 2).

All told, one has to wonder if these precious red, white and blue icons, the top headliners of your now sinking, four year old propaganda show, must now necessarily fade, visual symbols of something much more painful and ambiguous -- while, still in your service, they continue to stand by heartily and applaud.

For more of the visual, visit

(image: Susan Walsh/A.P. Washington. Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007. via