All the world may want a peek at the Osama bin Laden execution photos, but sorry, sickies - you'll just have to settle for a second-hand account from Senator James Inhofe and his Cryptkeeper-like attention to gruesome detail.
But nowhere in the reams of analysis of the president's decision to withhold the pictures did the following, unlikely factor enter into the discussion: Obama was just trying to prevent someone from Photoshopping Princess Beatrice's stupid hat onto Bin Laden's dead head.
Speaking to Marines at Camp Lejeune today, Defence Secretary Robert Gates explained the strategy:
"[W] e were...worried about the potential for manipulation of those photos and doing things with those photos that would be pretty outrageous in terms of provoking a reaction that might in fact put our troops at greater risk in both Iraq and Afghanistan."
"I have gotten from friends all over the country copies of the picture that was this iconic picture taken in the Situation Room while we were watching the operation. And they have been photoshopped in every way you can imagine, including putting you know, coming after the royal wedding, one of these had all of us in one of these big, wide-brimmed hats from the wedding."
What he's saying makes sense, though I'd take issue with the defence secretary on one minor but crucial point - and that's that the hat is more "high-brimmed" than "wide-brimmed". Also, to Twolf, the artiste responsible for the infamous Beatrice Room Photoshop: Congratulations. The people in that room have actually seen themselves wearing the hat. Just try not to incite a jihad with your magic wand tool. [Politico, image by Twolf]