Thursday, May 14, 2009

Obama and the Torture Photos


Thomas Riggins

The New York Times (5-14-09) reports "OBAMA REVERSAL ON ABUSE PHOTOS" by Jeff Zeleny and Thom Shanker. The papers reports that the photos of the US torture and killing of prisoners, that Obama said he had no objection to releasing, which were to be made public, after a court order, will be contested after all by the administration which now wants to prevent the American people and the world from seeing them.

The Times reports that "Mr. Obama changed his mind AFTER SEEING THE PHOTOGRAPHS ["Oh, My God! We did that! I should have listened to Jeremiah!"] and after getting warnings from top Pentagon officials [''You will have to arrest the lot of us, then who will run your wars for you?"] that the images, taken from the early years of the wars, [they don't photograph themselves now] would "further inflame anti-American opinion" [is there any room really left?] and endanger troops in two war zones [just like the Pentagon brass to hide behind the troops to save their cowardly moral asses].

President Obama, sounding more like his predecessor every day, said, "The publication of these photos would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past [so why the fuss?] BY A SMALL NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS [here we go again-- those bad apples on the front-line.]"

Now for the piece de resistance: "In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger."

But of course the truth is just the OPPOSITE. Releasing the photos would show the world the US was SERIOUS about rejecting the use of torture and would make the troops SAFER! But at what cost? Once the photos were out it would be almost impossible NOT TO PROSECUTE those responsible for war crimes and torture. The political impact on the elite would be catastrophic. By suppressing the photos the message is clear: they would show conduct so repulsive and criminal that the American people would demand justice. The world would see and applaud. The troops would be MORE SAFE.

But it looks like this won't happen. The safety of the troops will be sacrificed, as always, for political expediency. It is almost a law of nature that when ANY PRESIDENT says-- "I am worried about the troops," that the troops are about to be screwed.

Obama owes it to the American people and to the world to publish these photos to bring to light the truth about the crimes of the Bush White House. After all, it is for truth, justice, and the American way that our troops are supposed to be fighting-- not political considerations.