The holiday from history ends and the war on terrorism begins with the spectacle of September 11th. The Bush administration decided to make dueling spectacles of the war on terrorism when it opened the war on Iraq with “shock and awe”. The logical conclusion of the first major arc of the war on terrorism would have been the spectacle of Osama bin Laden’s bloodied corpse, but President Obama decided to deny the world that spectacle. That bookend to the war on terrorism would remain unconceptualized in the spectacle (Barack Obama is “the first Jewish president“).
What we got instead of the image of the death of Osama bin Laden was the image of the death of Osama bin Laden reflected on the face of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Secretary Clinton has tried to fob this image off, saying, “I am somewhat sheepishly concerned that it was my preventing one of my early spring allergic coughs. So, it may have no great meaning whatsoever.”
Is this the Clintonian reflex, or Obama’s postmodern commitment to non-representation and non-meaning? Or maybe it was a yawn?
She should own this moment: it’s one of the most amazing and iconic images to come out of the war on terrorism. And she is turning the office of Secretary of State into the U.S.’s emotional barometer.
Today, when Libyan rebels managed to locate and kill Muammar Gaddafi, one of the first vectors of this story was when, while preparing for a series of pool interviews in Kabul, Afghanistan, Secretary Clinton was handed a BlackBerry with the news. Again, no image of the event, but the event reflected in Hillary Clinton’s reaction.
Also of note, that baby bump just over Secretary Clinton’s right shoulder is Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, wife of Anthony Weiner.