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Michael Wolff

Michael Wolff

Posted: May 14, 2009 12:42 PM

Torture Pictures: When a Flip-Flop Isn't a Flip-Flop


Sure as shootin', the torture pictures will be released. The courts will authorize them or some exceptional leaker will free them. In the digital age, if you know a picture exists and it's in hot demand--whether it's a nude Miss California or a gruesome bit of aggressive interrogation--there's little or no chance it won't be found.

So what's the Obama game, opposing the release of photographs he knows will be public and whose release he previously supported?

What we're starting to see emerge here is the Obama PR doctrine. It's a series of ritualistic bows, and even the appearance of tacit submission, to the other side.

Opposing the release of the pictures is like the flag pin in his lapel. Having made the pin an issue in the early stages of his campaign--precisely articulating what all non-flag-pin-wearing people feel--he then reversed himself. This was a tacit victory for the pin-wearers, while at the same time sending an altogether different signal to the non-wearers: We have to fight the people who make us wear these pins.

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