There's been a lot of chatter about Pete Souza's photograph of President Obama and his advisors in rapt attention in the White House Situation Room as the events leading to the death of Osama bin Laden unfolded. The Washington Post has even done a complete breakdown of it, including the body language, food, decor and technology on display. Of particular interest was the expression of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Hand over mouth, eyes red-rimmed and puffy.
Some high-profile folks in the design and picture editing world weighed in on WWD, and to a person, they think it's the combination of Clinton's and Obama's body language that makes the picture so compelling, and most feel that Clinton's gesture is what really humanizes the image.
No disagreement here on that point.
But it also occurred to me, despite Hillary Clinton's rather lame assertion that springtime allergies and a stifled sneeze are to blame, that something else may have been weighing on her: A similar raid, long ago in the fall of 1993. By all accounts, the failed raid in Mogadishu ultimately led to a wasted opportunity to end the genocide in Somalia, and damaged Bill Clinton's reputation for years after.
She alone among all those high-ranking officials would fully understand the implications of failure to this administration, as well as to the lives of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
And that's nothing to sneeze at.
About the author
David Kordalski has worked as a visual journalist since the early 1980s. He's currently the AME/Visuals for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio.