Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Photograph shows soldier shaking hands with
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2004]
Origins: Military history includes many instances when soldiers who fell into the hands of the enemy were trotted out before photographers or television cameras by their captors for purposes of propaganda: — to create false images intended to trick audiences into believing that the prisoners were actually well-cared for, sympathized with their captors, or were voluntarily denouncing the political policies of their home countries. Likewise, military history includes many instances in which such captured soldiers managed to inserted subtle and furtive signs into propagandistic images to express their defiance, to indicate that the information they were relaying was false, or to signal that they were acting under duress. (One of the most well-known examples of this phenomenon is the infamous
The gesture of crossing one's fingers is not unique to the military, of course; it is an ages-old symbol used to indicate that the finger-crosser does not mean what he is saying or is being compelled to act through coercion. (A typical kiddie trick is to surreptitiously cross one's fingers behind one's back while making a promise, a token that supposedly shields the finger-crosser from the obligation of upholding the terms of his oath.) The implication of the photograph shown above (which began circulating on the Internet in early 2004 and was taken at one of the military facilities New York senator Hillary Clinton visited in Iraq during the
The "not really all that pleased" assessment is evidently
Last updated: 29 March 2005
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