Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post:
The frame surrounding an image of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s head, revealed to the world as proof the terrorist is dead, is bizarre. When the picture was displayed at a U.S. military news briefing, Zarqawi’s face was seen inside what appeared to be a professional photographic mat job, with a large frame, as if it were something one might preserve and hang on the wall next to other family portraits. One function of frames is to bound an image, and close down its open edges; frames delimit, both physically and by extension, metaphorically. But that was the last thing this frame was doing…
…so will this image, given a strange dignity by its prominent frame, be a defining image of the war? Not likely. Its primary function is forensic. It proves, in an age of skepticism (heightened by a three-year history of official claims about the war turning out to be false), that Zarqawi is indeed dead. But beyond that, the image has little power. Indeed, as with so many images in this war, it is loaded with the potential to backfire.