A news photographer told me that when he was covering the war in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, he discovered that the Army color-coded photographs that appeared in newspapers and magazines: Green meant that they liked the picture and that it reflected well on the troops; yellow meant that they had mixed feelings about the picture; and red meant that the photograph showed the troops in a bad light. The people who were guilty of taking too many red-coded photographs found it harder to get access to soldiers. That was back when Donald Rumsfeld was in charge -- a man who was, of course, hostile toward the media and tried to guilt-trip them into presenting a positive picture of U.S. forces in Iraq. When he left office, those days were supposed to be over.
At 5 P.M. on a weekday in Oak Grove, Kentucky, not far from Fort Campbell, a dark-haired woman is standing in front of her house on Artic Avenue. She watches her dog run through the yard. Inside, her 3-year-old son waits. She tells me that her husband is coming back from Afghanistan in a few days. He has been deployed three times, and he will probably be sent over again. When I ask when his fourth deployment will be, she shrugs her shoulders.
"Who knows," she says, declining to give her name for fear it will get her husband into trouble with the military. "We're the last ones to know anything."
The liberal post-Bush fantasy involves Watergate-style, months-long congressional hearings on the recently departed administration's illicit activities, exposing the criminality of warrantless wiretapping, torture, rendition, and other programs. Except that President Barack Obama has already said he wants to move on. "We need to look forward as opposed to looking backward," he told George Stephanopoulous in January on This Week. After all, the president and Congress have an economic meltdown on their hands.