Thursday, May 14, 2009

Obama defends abuse photos U-turn.

I spoke yesterday about Liz Cheney's outrageous claim that people were asking her, "When did it become so fashionable for us to side with the terrorists?"

One of the things which she objected to was the Obama administration's promise to release more Abu Ghraib photographs. The day after she makes that outrageous claim, we get this:

US President Barack Obama has said the release of more photos of prisoner abuse by US soldiers is "of no benefit" and may inflame opinion against the US.

The pictures were not "sensational" and every case of abuse had been dealt with by the military, with action taken where appropriate, he said.

The White House previously said it would not fight a court ruling ordering the release of the pictures.

US civil liberties activists accused Mr Obama of adopting Bush-era policies.

The pictures were due to be released by 28 May, according to the court order.

The order was issued by an appeals court in September 2008, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

I really hope that there is no correlation between the two things. I really hope that Obama is not being affected by the right wing noise machine which Cheney is operating.

Because, whilst I understand on one level what he is saying, I am also aware that what he is doing undermines Cheney's entire argument about torture keeping the US safe.

Obama is saying that, if we get to see yet more evidence of the kind of actions which took place under the Bush regime, then this might "inflame anti-American opinion and put our troops in greater danger".

So, far from keeping Americans safe, the fact that the Bush/Cheney regime tortured has actually placed US troops in "greater danger".

I understand his point, which is very unpopular in left wing circles - as almost every left wing blog attests to. But, where I differ in all of this is in the conclusion which I draw from this. If Obama is right, and showing these photographs will only "inflame anti-American opinion and put our troops in greater danger", then it naturally follows that prosecuting the people who were behind this outrage would be the best thing one could do to lessen the danger for US troops.

Show the world, in the clearest possible fashion, that these policies do not represent the values of the United States.

I completely understand why Obama making this argument has so outraged people, but, if one takes his argument to it's logical conclusion, then he is actually making an argument for, not against, prosecution.

If evidence of what was done would so outrage public opinion against the US, then bringing the perpetrators to justice can only be seen as a good thing which would lessen the danger to US troops on the ground. And, when I say perpetrators, I mean the people who ordered the policy, rather than the grunts on the ground who carried it out.

The only question now is whether or not Obama has the strength of his own convictions.

For the sake of the troops, for the sake of calming that outrage, he should seriously begin addressing this wrong. Obama should prosecute the Bush regime.

He should follow his own argument to it's logical conclusion.

Click title for source.


Steel Phoenix said...

I'm disappointed.

I'm tired of my government making laws, breaking them, and then trying to hide it. I expected better of the new administration. This stinks of cowardice.

Most of the world would understand if he released the info and prosecuted those responsible, that we had apologized for the previous leadership and were going in a better direction. By hiding it, we suggest that it is approved. The only people who would be unforgiving after disclosure and prosecution would be those who are already rabidly against us.

Kel said...

So am I, SP. But if releasing the photographs puts the troops in danger, which is the half assed argument he is making, then prosecuting those responsible is almost his patriotic duty for the sake of those troops.

And you are right when you state that most of the world would understand if he prosecuted them. Most of the world wants him to prosecute them.