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Situation Room, echo chamber

[ by Charles Cameron — does the Syria strike compare with the Abbottabad raid? ]

The Mar-a-Lago situation room, in a White House photo in which “President Donald Trump receives a briefing on the Syria military strike from the National Security team, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff via secure video teleconference .. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that this image has been digitally edited for security purposes”:


This closely echoes an earlier White House photo, from within the White House itself, in which “Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama, along with members of the national-security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House on May 1, 2011. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured”:

A photographic DoubleQuote for sure!

Hey, even that bit about “Sean Spicer stated that this image has been digitally edited for security purposes” rhymes conceptually with “a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured”..


— and a very deliberate echo, no doubt, on the photographer’s part.

Should we be comparing seating arrangements, person by person? You’ll note at least that Trump sits at the head of the table, Obama quietly off to the side..

2 Responses to “Situation Room, echo chamber”

  1. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    I would love for a body-language expert to analyze Trump’s posture here. Actually, I’ve been wanting a body-language expert to tell us more about Trump’s bizarre hand gestures and other body language since Trump started running. I am surprised we haven’t seen that. (At least, I haven’t.)
    So let me say a few things. Trump has an extremely unhappy look about him, whereas the expressions in the Obama photo are intent. He also had that unhappy look in a photo from his inauguration dinner that has made the social media rounds. His official photos are also grim, although not as unhappy. I have read that he believes that grimness makes him look like Churchill. I would disagree with him on that.
    The unhappy look goes beyond his face to his shoulders slumped forward. This is the same posture he took when he refused the press spray to shake Angela Merkel’s hand. In those photos, his hands dangle below his knees. In a conversation, it could be a posture of intentness, but with his facial expression, it seems like extreme dejectedness.
    And a special note for you, Charles. In Trump’s statement, he urged us to pray for the dead. I think that’s exclusive to Catholics; not necessarily forbidden to other religions, but if they don’t believe in Purgatory, not much reason for it. Along with asking God to bless the whole world (something some of us did as children when we couldn’t think of anything else), it seemed a strange religious note from someone who can’t even name books of the Bible.

  2. Grurray Says:

    There may be an alternate way to interpret Trump’s prayer for the dead.
    Most Catholics and Protestants believe Jesus died to appease God and repair the division between humanity and God that resulted after the fall of Adam. This has been the view since the Renaissance and is called the doctrine of propitiation.
    The Eastern church believes in something a little different. They believe since Christ was divine, God made the sacrifice on the cross to cleanse humanity. This is called the doctrine of expiation
    It’s a subtle difference, but it has to do with which direction the sacrifice is flowing. The flow of propitiation is from humanity to God to humanity. The flow of expiation is from God to humanity to God.
    This is the meaning behind the statement by early church apologetics that ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.’
    So to pray for the dead may mean to pray that their sacrifice resembles Christ’s sacrifice and cleanses the believers who are left behind.
    Ironically, Trump’s misstep on 2 Corinthians points the way to that interpretation. Verse 17 that he invoked in that ill-fated campaign speech reads, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” It’s encouragingly followed by verse 18:
    “But we all, with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
    Upon the resurrection of the soul as we are changed into that same image we behold, we share in the same glory, and we become vessels for God’s saving grace.

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