I couldn't imagine a sadder and more characteristic image to express the U.S. - Iraqi relationship. This shot -- from Dubya's surprise drop-in to Baghdad last month -- appeared in the YahooNews photo thread last night on the eve of President Maliki's Washington visit.
The strong suggestion here is that these men don't exist in the same space. Maliki looks to the camera -- meaning, to us -- with the look of open boredom and disgust. He's like a serious actor trapped in a cheap comedy routine. Bush, on the other hand, comes off like the textbook illustration for a psychological defense -- that one in which people avoid saying anything by throwing up a wall of words.
(By the way, when I checked the YahooNews political photos under "Bush Maliki" again this morning, the picture was still there -- although pushed back six pages to accomodate all the new canned White House "handshake" and "joint statement" shots. Ironically though, when I clicked the link from last night, I came up with this instead.)
For more of the visual (including Kissinger Barbie's surprise trip to Lebanon), visit BAGnewsNotes.com.
(image: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP. Baghdad. June 2006. via YahooNews.)