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May 21, 2009

Releasing the torture photos would help restore America’s global luster.

By Alan Stoga

The president’s recent decision not to release a new round of Bush-era torture photos says more about how Washington politics is played than it does about what is needed to restore America’s standing in the world.
Consider the facts.

  • First, technically, all Obama did was to delay the release of the photos, pending a decision about whether or not he would launch an appeal to the Supreme Court about a recent decision by the Court of Appeals that the photos should be released. The decision on whether or not to go to the Supreme Court must be made by June 9—a few days after the president is scheduled to deliver a speech in Egypt to the Muslim world. Would you want to give a speech in Egypt before or after hundreds of photos had been released showing Muslims being humiliated and degraded by American troops?
  • Second, Generals Ray Odierno, David McKiernan and David Petraeus all said that releasing the photos could cost American lives. Where is the upside for a president with shaky-to-nonexistent military credentials to pick a fight with the commanders he needs to prosecute an expanded commitment in Afghanistan and a rear guard action in Iraq?
  • Third, the Supreme Court might or might not take the case. If it doesn’t, the photos will be released. But if it does, the prevailing view in the legal community—and probably in the White House—is that the Pentagon will lose. Lower level courts have already rejected Obama’s argument that releasing the photos might endanger U.S. troops—just as the Supreme Court did almost four decades ago in the Pentagon Papers case.
  • Fourth, with the Republicans in a full-throated assault against Obama’s proposal to close Guantanamo Bay, Nancy Pelosi stumbling over what and when she knew anything about torture, and Dick Cheney accusing the president of inviting new terrorist attacks, the Democrats unexpectedly find themselves playing defense on national security issues. Why add fuel to the right-wing radio talk show fire by releasing the torture photos?

Those are practical, political reasons to kick the can to the Supreme Court.
But in doing so, President Obama missed an opportunity to break cleanly from the flawed policies of his predecessor. By any standard, the country President Bush passed to his successor is more vulnerable and less in control of its own fate than the one he inherited—and the obscenities committed at Abu Ghraib are part of the reason why.
The hitch is that the new torture photos have already begun to surface in publications around the world. By not officially releasing them—and by echoing the Bush mantra that the abuses were solely the responsibility of a few, low ranking bad apples—the president failed to move toward the closure of a flawed chapter of our history.
Sometimes eloquence is not enough.

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Unfortunately “quisling” does seem to be the right term for people who want to prosecute a former president of the united states, and are on the side of the people who bombed New York city with gasoline laden airplanes. I can understand pacafists and anarchists or intellectuals who keep us honest, but I can’t understand the ACLU of today. I believe in social justice, but that is not what politics in America today seems to be about this year. It’s a credit to FLYPside that Howard’s post was not blocked. A war seems to be headed for the streets of American cities.

Kathleen Riley
Jun 28, 2009

Are you people really that stupid? Do you really think that the release of those photos will do anything to help the United States? Forget about your self serving agenda and for once think about the big picture. Those clowns were not tortured. Leave you bleeding hearts at home and wake up. Torture is cutting the head off of someone while filming it and showing it to the world and hiding behind hoods like the cowards that they are. That is torture my friends. Waterboarding and a little humiliation is not torture. The primary role of the federal government is SECURITY! We must never forget that. It is time for you on the far left to leave your agenda behind and wake up to the world in which we now live. We are fighting an enemy that does not care about human life, yours or theirs. WAKE UP!!!!!!!!

benny blanco
Jun 19, 2009

How do you spell quisling? What is a mole? How does a wolf fit into sheeps clothing? Can people really hate and want to destroy themselves and those around them? Quisling is spelled FLYPside. A mole or fifth column is defined as ACLU or FLYPside. Yes they can. A wolf will fit into sheeps clothing when it is hungry and angry enough even though it doesn’t know why. There have always been individuals like you asses. Have you ever heard the name Benedict Arnold?

Howard Stauffacher
Jun 6, 2009