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Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
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"The War Decision, Live And Real" Transcript
Dirck Halstead:

This is on the day that President Bush was to announce that he was going to start the air war against Iraq, and the press had all been called out in the Rose Garden, put on stands and prepared to photograph President Bush making this announcement. I happened to look through the window of the Oval Office, and I saw President Bush and Secretary Baker in deep conversation by the desk. I didn't know what was going on, but I picked up this big 300-millimeter 2.8 lens which's got a 2x extender on it (which means, for you photography fans, I was shooting at the equivalent of a 15th of a second and F-5/6) and just aimed it on auto-focus through the window and shot it. And amazingly, it came out. What was happening is, at that moment, Gorbachev had called begging President Bush to please reconsider and don't announce the start of the air war. And this is Bush and Baker actually making the decision, at this instant—yes, we're going to start the war. This is the war decision—live and real and this is about reaction.

(Audio excerpt from The Littlefield Society Symposium, March 28, 2003, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas)

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