A surprising reversal and one I obviously disagree with. This also seriously undermines Obama’s message of transparency and openness…at least in the eyes of Dems.
President Obama has decided to oppose the release of several dozen photos depicting abuse of detainees held in U.S. military custody abroad, reversing his previous position on the grounds that the pictures could inflame anti-American sentiment and endanger U.S. troops.
In a brief statement to reporters before flying to Arizona for a speech late this afternoon, Obama said he believes “that the publication of these photos would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals. 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.”
He also suggested that the publication could lead “a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse.”
Is it just me or does this reasoning make no sense?
Because having these photos be undefined means people fill in the blanks with even more horrific stuff than what’s possibly contained in them. And that means al Qaeda can say whatever they want about them to their recruits and we’re powerless to stop them. And that’s what puts Americans in greater danger.
Also, the idea that this would have a chilling effect on future investigations? How exactly? Actually, by making these public it would put a chilling effect on the behavior, not the investigations.
The only thing I can think of is he’s finally seen the photos and some of them contain pictures of CIA personnel he promised to protect. So if these pictures get out, he’d be obligated to prosecute them the way the other personnel were or face a massive backlash by the military brass and the American public.
Still, I’m confused by this move and I’m sure many other Americans are too. So the administration owes us more explanation…and soon.