Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's new look

Is anyone else as puzzled as I am by the new stock photo of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? It could hardly be more different from the hairy chested view of him taken upon his apprehension.

I'm referring to the photo that appeared at the same time that the New York trial was announced, portraying him in traditional Arab dress. The picture is odd in a number of respects. For one thing, it's extraordinarily ambiguous. While KSM appears to be trying to look ferocious, the robes, wide-eyed expression, and cocked head all work to give him a distinctly feminine air. The picture fairly reeks of the homoeroticism that Christopher Hitchens, among others, has detected in the Jihadi subculture.

But the oddest thing of all is this: it's obviously a recent photo. This individual is several years older than the figure in the well-known "crazed pizzeria worker" photo that introduced KSM to the world. So it had to be taken since he was in custody, and it is alleged that the International Red Cross took it.

The question is: why? 

Look at what he's wearing. The white headdress, the turban. This is a sheikh's costume. The clothing of a figure of respect in the Arab world. This photo was designed to impress, to portray KSM not as a prisoner, not as a terrorist, but as a man of distinction within the framework of his home culture.

This picture was apparently taken while KSM was in American custody, processed with American acquiescence, and released with American permission. It's exactly as if we were acting as KSM's PR firm, hired to make him look as imposing as possible.

Nothing more underlines the government's questionable attitude than this. The original photo revealing a befuddled, stunned, and unshaven Khalid in a torn t-shirt was the equivalent of the perp-walk, a portrayal perfectly appropriate for the kind of individual that KSM is.

This man is a terrorist. He is responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any other individual since the Vietnam War, and probably since WW II. He took those lives not in combat, where the rules of war demand respect for a worthy opponent, but in the sleaziest, most repellent manner conceivable - murdering innocent civilians while they went about their daily business completely defenseless and unaware of what was in store for them.

Have we come so far as to completely forget the people left only with a choice of  burning alive or leaping a hundred stories to their deaths, the victims who waited a moment too long only to fall burning from the sky, the dead so crushed and mutilated that it required DNA testing to identify them?

It's difficult to imagine what kind of game the administration, the Department of Justice, and Attorney General Eric Holder in particular are playing with the release of a photo of this nature. But they are effectively and unquestionably acting as enablers for KSM and beyond him, the forces he represents.

The trial hasn't even started yet. It's going to be a long process.
Is anyone else as puzzled as I am by the new stock photo of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? It could hardly be more different from the hairy chested view of him taken upon his apprehension.

I'm referring to the photo that appeared at the same time that the New York trial was announced, portraying him in traditional Arab dress. The picture is odd in a number of respects. For one thing, it's extraordinarily ambiguous. While KSM appears to be trying to look ferocious, the robes, wide-eyed expression, and cocked head all work to give him a distinctly feminine air. The picture fairly reeks of the homoeroticism that Christopher Hitchens, among others, has detected in the Jihadi subculture.

But the oddest thing of all is this: it's obviously a recent photo. This individual is several years older than the figure in the well-known "crazed pizzeria worker" photo that introduced KSM to the world. So it had to be taken since he was in custody, and it is alleged that the International Red Cross took it.

The question is: why? 

Look at what he's wearing. The white headdress, the turban. This is a sheikh's costume. The clothing of a figure of respect in the Arab world. This photo was designed to impress, to portray KSM not as a prisoner, not as a terrorist, but as a man of distinction within the framework of his home culture.

This picture was apparently taken while KSM was in American custody, processed with American acquiescence, and released with American permission. It's exactly as if we were acting as KSM's PR firm, hired to make him look as imposing as possible.

Nothing more underlines the government's questionable attitude than this. The original photo revealing a befuddled, stunned, and unshaven Khalid in a torn t-shirt was the equivalent of the perp-walk, a portrayal perfectly appropriate for the kind of individual that KSM is.

This man is a terrorist. He is responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any other individual since the Vietnam War, and probably since WW II. He took those lives not in combat, where the rules of war demand respect for a worthy opponent, but in the sleaziest, most repellent manner conceivable - murdering innocent civilians while they went about their daily business completely defenseless and unaware of what was in store for them.

Have we come so far as to completely forget the people left only with a choice of  burning alive or leaping a hundred stories to their deaths, the victims who waited a moment too long only to fall burning from the sky, the dead so crushed and mutilated that it required DNA testing to identify them?

It's difficult to imagine what kind of game the administration, the Department of Justice, and Attorney General Eric Holder in particular are playing with the release of a photo of this nature. But they are effectively and unquestionably acting as enablers for KSM and beyond him, the forces he represents.

The trial hasn't even started yet. It's going to be a long process.