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Emmett Till & his mother

So I lived in southern Mississippi. Emmett Till, this 14-year old black boy, who'd gone to Tallahatchie County, Money, Mississippi in the Delta, to visit his great uncle for summer holiday, from Chicago, was lynched. And as a child of 12, I can not remember having felt more vulnerable, more frightened, more--but at the same time more angry. And I can remember my 12-year old anger very, very much.

And when I met people like Judy and SNCC in 1962, '63, all of us remembered the photograph of Emmett Till's face, lying in the coffin, on the cover of Jet Magazine. [...] And when I met Mrs. Mamie Bradley, Emmett Till's mother, many years later, I asked her, "Why did you not have the undertaker do some cosmetic work on his face?" And her response was that, "I wanted the world to see what they did to my baby."

-- Joyce Ladner

Emmitt Till

On September 6, 1955, a little over a week after he was kidnapped, beaten, and murdered for whistling at a white woman, Emmett Till was laid to rest at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois. By the time his journey to the grave had ended, Till's body had been seen by as many as 50,000 people who personally came to view his body at a Chicago funeral home. But before long, it would be seen by millions more, as photographs of his badly disfigured corpse circulated around the country, ultimately appearing on the cover of Jet magazine. The image of a 14-year-old boy with his eye gouged out and his head caved in was a shock to the senses of all who saw it; but it was also a rallying point for a generation of young African-Americans, and many whites as well, who saw in his mutilated face the suffering of a people, and who were inspired to end that suffering by organizing, by marching, and by voting.

The face of Emmett Till might not have inspired so many if it were not for the grim determination of his mother, Mamie Till Bradley. The funeral home where Till's body was displayed resisted allowing the casket to be opened, but Mrs. Bradley insisted, threatening to open the casket herself if need be. She wanted to see her son one last time before he left this world, but she wanted others to see him too. And so, because of her perseverance, the casket of Emmett Till was opened, his body was photographed for posterity, and the world saw what they did to Mrs. Bradley's baby.

For African-Americans in the South, the horrors reflected in the face of Emmett Till were a daily fact of life. But for African-Americans who had moved away from the South and its Jim Crow laws to places like Chicago, the face of Emmett Till was a reminder that the brutality of racism could not be left behind so easily.

Two months ago, I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to the Negroes in the South I said, 'That's their business, not mine.' Now I know how wrong I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all.

-- Mamie Till Bradley

As for white Americans, they were forced to take a serious look at the human toll of the injustice that they had participated in, or tolerated, or tried to ignore. Though many whites, particularly in the South, were unmoved by what they saw (or at least pretended to be), many more were deeply affected by it:

You know, I remember in interviewing people in the course of doing [Eyes on the Prize] that it was not only young black people who spoke about Till, but young white people as well, who had the idea that this is someone our age, you know, a pre-teen really, or young teen, and if you can see that happening to a young black child down in Mississippi, it's not only black kids who say, "Well, it's not that I can't be the teacher or nurse, but if they kill people, this is serious," and that young white people also said, "If they're killing people, it's not just a matter of some folks don't like colored people, this is horrible, and this can't be allowed to go on. I've got to do something about this."

-- Juan Williams

Despite the publicity and anger generated by the photographs of Emmett Till, the people who murdered him were never brought to justice. A little over two weeks after Till was laid to rest, an all-white, all-male jury acquitted the only two men ever formally charged with his murder: Roy Bryant, the husband of the woman who Till whistled at, and Bryant's half-brother, J.W. Milam. Both men would later admit to murdering Till, safe from prosecution due to double jeopardy protection. They're dead now, and while as many as 12 other people may have participated in the crime, no one else has been charged in connection with Till's murder.

But though Emmett Till and his family never received justice from the state of Mississippi, the wave of activism spawned by those who were inspired by the sight of his mutilated body brought justice of a different sort. The face of Emmett Till would inspire Rosa Parks not to give up her seat on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama later that year. It would inspire nine African-American schoolchildren to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957. It would inspire sit-ins in Greensboro in 1960, and Freedom Riders in 1961. It would inspire voter registration drives, and a letter from a Birmingham jail cell. It would inspire over 300,000 people to march on Washington, and millions to dream of a day when people would "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." It would inspire the Freedom Summer of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And more than 50 years after the death of Emmett Till, in a country where racism still endures but without the power that it once had, it would inspire millions of voters, black and white, to reject the prejudices and fears of the past, and elect the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya to be the 44th President of the United States.

Today, as we consider the decision of that same President to block the release of hundreds of photographs showing the torture and abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq, I hope that those of us who are defending his decision will consider the example of Emmett Till, and of how seeing with open eyes the horrors that he endured brought about change in the hearts and minds of so many. Bush, Cheney, and their subordinates may have given the order to torture detainees, but it was the apathy, fear, and ignorance of millions of Americans that laid the groundwork for these abuses to take place. We as a nation need to be confronted with our failures and to take ownership of them, so we can set a positive example for young Americans to prevent such abuses from happening in the future. And we need to show those outside America that we can and will live up to our democratic values, so that we'll be taken seriously when we attempt to share those values with the rest of the world. This isn't about the next election--it's about the next generation, and about what kind of America they will build on the ashes of what we allowed to be ruined.


UPDATE: Wow, I'm really overwhelmed by the response that this diary has generated!  I posted this really late last night (I'm a hopeless insomniac), and when I turned my computer off the diary still hadn't generated any response and I figured that it would disappear into obscurity like the handful of other diaries I've posted.  So you can imagine my utter shock when I pulled up the web site, only to see my diary on the rec list with hundreds of comments.  Needless to say, my first response was to run from the computer, and hide under my bed...

Usually, my diaries only get a few comments, and I like to respond to as many of them as possible.  In this case, unfortunately, I doubt that's going to be an option.  However, I have perused the comments and saw a lot of really good dialogue both supportive and critical.  I'm planning on posting a follow-up diary tonight to respond to your comments generally, since the idea of responding to them individually seems a bit intimidating due to the sheer volume.  I hope that doesn't seem like a dodge to those of you who have been critical of my diary, because I think there has been some valid criticisms raised and they deserve a response.

In the interim, in response to suggestions made by some of you below, I've decided to add a picture of Emmett Till that was taken before his death, to show what his face looked like before it was disfigured by his murderers.  In retrospect, I regret not anticipating the possibility that the photo of Till in his coffin dehumanized him to a certain extent, and not foreseeing the need to give us all a glimpse of the young man that Emmett Till was before he was so brutally killed.

Thank you all for taking the time to read and respond.

Originally posted to Big Tex on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:38 AM PDT.

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    --Virginia Woolf

  •  just a thought... (33+ / 0-)

    It'd be nice if you could include an original picture of Till's face because I dont want to remember the one you show so soon, too soon in this diary.

    The image I remember of him was of a happy smiling child- that sort of stuck in my memory and was kind of erased right now. Or maybe just link to the image you show?

    Sorry to complain, I've also had a friend whose face was mutilated as too, and the open casket funeral was just too surreal.

    Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

    by borkitekt on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:47:56 AM PDT

  •  I don't know that I agree that the photos... (30+ / 0-)

    ...should be released, but I have a lot of respect for this diary.  Tipped and rec'd.

    "The first rule of pillow fight club is that you do not talk about pillow fight club" -- Keith Olbermann

    by juliewolf on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:21:31 AM PDT

    •  I was about to post the same thing (4+ / 0-)

      Contexts aren't the same to any reasonable extent, I feel.  We've already iconified the photos of torture and celebration of killed inmates, which has already served to spark and inspire the public drives against the war, injustice and illegalities, etc. as much as pictures could reasonably do so, most likely.

      Plus, the photos in current question aren't going away - it seems that the context in which they are to be applied, and when, is an implicit aspect of this debate on the Administration's legal tactics.

      Still, this is a deeply inspiring diary that comes from a sincerely disturbing context, and for that deserves a Recommend to see the light of further debate for all of its points.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:56:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where is the mote (0+ / 0-)

        that lands on one side or the other in a difficult decision. It is ultimately a matter of  each making their own decision based on their beliefs & values. If one's passions strongly incline them to feel one way or the other it does not diminish the reasoning that another used to arrive at a different conclusion. I trust Obama. I trust him to weigh the factors that his perspective presents & based on his values & judgement make the decision that he thinks is best for all of us. I may not agree with that decision but I will not denigrate him for making it.

  •  I made this video after the campaign... (13+ / 0-)

    sad but true

    Emmett Till's Dream from Ojas Vaidya on Vimeo.

    Prediction: Sarah Palin gets a masters degree in political science before 2012, or 2016

    by desiunion on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:25:08 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this. (11+ / 0-)

    Just want to add that it's questionable whether Emmett actually whistled at the woman. Most likely, he smiled or spoke in some way that was "too familiar."

    The horror of it is haunting, but it's so important to see the unvarnished truth.

    War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. ~Antoine De Saint-Exupery

    by miranda2060 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:40:38 AM PDT

  •  I'm beginning to hope for a superflu that... (7+ / 0-)

    wipes humanity off of the face of the planet. Looking at images like this, just make me sick to my stomach.

    Not because of the graphic nature of them, but more the inhuman people smiling and giving the 'thumbs up.'

    While there's much good in many people, there's just so much hate, it just sucks the life out of me. And they revel in it.

    How could a human being do this to another? How can they be happy about it?

  •  I'm torn about the release of the photos, (16+ / 0-)

    but your diary has given me more to think about.

    Tipped and rec'd.

  •  this is fascinating. (29+ / 0-)

    there was a diary a couple weeks back in which the conversation in a comment thread rolled around to the topic of the tea parties and the signs and stuff there and someone noted they'd seen an image of obama burning in effigy

    I was HIDERATED for posting, in response, this pic:
    why?  I was told, more or less, "that image prevents the conversation from moving forward.  it scorches the earth."  even though the image the previous commenter described brought exactly this image to my mind.

    it became one of those threads where some where HRing me and others were uprating to counter.

    which reminds me.  I gotta go back, see who said that to me (I think it was seneca doane) and see where they come down on the release of the torture photos.  

    "But Black Dynamite! I sell drugs in the community!"

    by mallyroyal on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:05:57 AM PDT

  •  Bob (12+ / 0-)

    My first wish is to see War, this plague to mankind, banished from off this earth. George Washington, 1796 farewell address

    by BOHICA on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:32:51 AM PDT

  •  The photos should be released (12+ / 0-)

    The photos should be released - definitely, and as soon as possible. Those who can't or won't look at them already know we are all complicit in what has happened. To not accept the truth about who we are is madness, leading only to more madness. I was a teenager when Emmett Till was murdered, and I will never forget the reason why. I became active in the civil rights movement BECAUSE of the photographs and news stories about what was happening to people who were trying to claim their legal equality in the U.S.A. If you have never viewed the entire series of EYES ON THE PRIZE, you need to do that. It is no longer for sale (legally), because of some copyright issues, but many libraries still have in on their shelves in VHS format. LOOK AT IT and then ask yourself whether the torture photographs should be released. You will have to make that decision based on your ability to accept the truth.

    •  Mavis Staples (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      decafdyke, BenGoshi, Greg in TN, grada3784

      My first wish is to see War, this plague to mankind, banished from off this earth. George Washington, 1796 farewell address

      by BOHICA on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:39:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it seems like you are agreeing with the military (9+ / 0-)

      I became active in the civil rights movement BECAUSE of the photographs

      is exactly what the military advisers fear: that outrage from people who identify with the people mistreated in the torture pictures may lead to extreme action directed towards U.S. representatives all over the world.

      I haven't decided what side I'm on in release/don't release, but your comment could also be used to support the idea of not releasing them in order to avoid unrest.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
      President Obama. Still a thrill to see that in print.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:53:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Outrage is the Right Response (13+ / 0-)

        A rational foreign policy need not fear openness.

        I am among those who feel that militarism is impossible without atrocities like this. But in a democracy, advocates of the military-first foreign policy that is favored by both major parties have a burden to prove people who think like me wrong.

        The military may be right that we cannot conduct these wars and have the manner in which we conduct these wars made public.

        But if that's the case--and I suspect it is--the proper response is not to desperately, hopelessly, try to lie ourselves back into the good graces of the people we kill.

        The answer is to bring the troops, all of the troops, home NOW.

        Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

        by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:37:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Unrest"? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pesto, kydoc

        You fear that disclosure of the torture photos/videos will cause "unrest" -- it should. You don't seem to realize that the people who have been and are being tortured are already in a state of "unrest" and so are their families, friends, and the rest of the world, including many U.S. citizens who cannot morally accept this heinous and illegal torture. The "unrest" that needs to be stimulated is among "us", so that U.S. sponsored torture will not continue nor its past practices be condoned and excused. If our military personnel are in the line of fire because of what the U.S. government has permitted and sanctioned, it is but a continuation of what the whole world knows but we are being shielded from on a very temporary basis. Hiding the truth does not make it less true.  

      •  The Pentagon is worried (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jxg, kydoc

        about its own ass being on the line (as, I imagine, the intelligence agencies are).  90% of this is simply standard-issue, protect-the-Forbidden-City-against-the-prying-eyes-of-the-peasantry bullshit.

        The unrest they're afraid of is unrest, right here at home, directed at them, and at all of institutional DC.

        "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

        by Pesto on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:03:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obama is worried (0+ / 0-)

          about all the "asses" that will literally be on the line if these photos are released. The reaction to these photos in other parts of the world that haven't yet achieved our level of political discourse will IMHO present a danger to Americans in many places, particularly to our troops!

  •  I first heard the Emmit Till story via PBS's 1987 (14+ / 0-)

      Eyes on the Prize series.  I actually checked it out through my law library and watched it, who knows how many times, in '89 and 90.  Powerful.  Utterly riveting, moving and inspirational.

       Here's Episode 1.  I encourage you all, please just watch the first 5 minutes (the total is 54 minutes).  The Emmit Till / Mose Wright story (and the controversy about his mom wanting the that photo to be published) is in this episode, beginning at the 10:40 mark.


    "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

    by BenGoshi on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:40:12 AM PDT

    •  thanks for the link, BenGoshi (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BenGoshi, GN1927, grada3784, deha, pmorlan

      I watched the whole thing.

      I've never seen any of the Eyes on the Prize series and now as everyone knows it is unavailable.

      so thanks for this opportunity.  

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
      President Obama. Still a thrill to see that in print.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:34:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're very welcome. It oh-so-deepened... (6+ / 0-)

        . . . my perspective of and feeling for the Civil Rights Movement, and put my respect for its leaders and the "rank and file", unsung heroes, of it off the scale.  Never so proud to be an American as when I consider what other Americans have done to (at least try and) make my country live up to its ideals.


        "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

        by BenGoshi on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:53:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Okay...This says it all. Case closed. (12+ / 0-)

    Wow...I've been on the fence with this photo-release thing until now. Very powerful argument that is quite frankly impossible to refute. This really does sum up our dilemma, and why we must do what we know will be painful.

    Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

    by langstonhughesfan on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:44:28 AM PDT

    •  the difference - the family decided to release (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cedwyn, grada3784, orphanpower, CupofTea, Toon

      the photos, open the coffin, bring everyone to see.

      that is the right of the family.  they can honor and remember their dead family member how they choose.

      but it's not our right to determine how detainees in US prison camps should have their images used.

      Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

      by Benintn on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:59:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh, right. (13+ / 0-)

        we're completely respecting and honoring the wishes of each detainee's family.  ahem.

        by decafdyke on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:14:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's hard to exceed that argument in laughability (8+ / 0-)

          … and/or cynicism.

          Having tortured people (for months of years, in some cases to death), held them incommunicado, and destroyed their lives, health, and sanity, now we're against releasing the photos out of consideration for their and their families' rights and wishes!

          The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

          by lotlizard on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:05:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Two wrongs don't make a right... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It's not as though we can say now that it's ok to continue doing the wrong thing because someone else did the wrong thing.

            Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

            by Benintn on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:21:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Blur the faces. (0+ / 0-)

              But put out the pictures. Don't let people continue to claim that Abu Ghraib was isolated, that "enhanced interrogation techniques" aren't torture, that their use was very limited, that it was no more than what soldiers are put through in training, etc. etc. etc.

              That way lies accountability. Other people here seem to think there's a cleaner way to get there, but I'm not yet convinced. The US self-enforcing justice and accountability makes the whole world safer.

              I'm all for respect. I think it is more respectful of ourselves, the victims, and humanity in general to face what has been done and put the architects on trial than to find rationales to avoid it.

        •  It would be turning a new leaf won't it? (0+ / 0-)

          To let go of control of those photos, to let the formerly powerless have that power over us? Letting each family decide whether to show our cruelty or to protect their family member's privacy.

          Blackwater is changing its name to Xe.

          by Toon on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:52:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "We"? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "We" would imply that I am somehow complicit in this.

          "We" - the US Government - did this.

          "We" - the Bush Administration - did this.

          "We" - CIA operatives and US military ops - did this.

          "We" - human beings - did this.

          I just don't think it's fair or appropriate to paint Obama with the same brush as Bush.  Different president, different policies, different day.

          So, yes, "We" are completely respecting and honoring the wishes of detainees and their families.  We - I and my tribe - don't torture.  We don't kill.  We don't support violence.  We call for accountability.  We know what the Bush administration did and how they covered up, and we know that Congress and military courts were complicit.

          We know that we need to clean house.  We're not giving up on that.  But we also need to be considerate of all involved, and to show respect, concern, and wisdom in the process.

          Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

          by Benintn on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:17:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's one fucked up rationale... (10+ / 0-)

        and just about the most heinous one I've seen yet.

        •  Don't hold your breath. (8+ / 0-)

          We're pretty far down the rabbit hole already. The dead-end supporters of war crimes--Democrat and Republican--are already saying things that outraged the world when uttered in the original German. It will only get worse.

          Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

          by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:39:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not sure your characterization is (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slapper95, kydoc, Jantman

            legitimate. I have yet to find anyone around here who supports war crimes. I've seen some express caution/skepticism about the wisdom of immediately releasing the photos, but surely you aren't conflating the two?

            •  Let me quote.... (12+ / 0-)

              Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail":

              I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

              The defenders of the Obama administration's policy on releasing the photos bear the same relationship to war crimes as King's "white moderates" bore to segregation.

              They are aiding and abetting those crimes whatever is in their hearts.

              Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

              by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:07:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  It's hardly immediate after all this time. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And with all the talk about them, people have probably imagined them to be even worse than they are, no matter how reprehensible they might be.

              Calling torture enhanced interrogation techniques is like calling a skunk a rose. It really doesn't smell any better.

              by grada3784 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:17:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  By "immediate" I don't mean (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                "so soon", but simply, "right at this time". I meant to emphasize the fact that this decision doesn't preclude disclosure in the future, possibly the near future. I also believe that as long as we have men and women deployed in the region we have to consider the repercussions very carefully. For good or bad, the expression "we are at war" isn't a mere propaganda schtick.

                Regarding your second point, I believe the whole argument this Diary is making is that the actual photos (as opposed to imagined or abstract notions of torture) tend to elicit visceral reactions that are more likely to drive people to take action.

        •  Actually it's true. (0+ / 0-)

          These people are not cardboard images for us to leer at and feel sorry for.  There is a depth of response required that some people posting here are for the most part completely lacking.  And the bigger picture is getting lost in the political messaging.

      •  Umm, The Families Might Be Grateful: (5+ / 0-)

        it may the first confirmation they've had in years that their Loved One might be, still alive!

    •  The wrinkle is... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cedwyn, grada3784, Maori, Jantman

      if the images are powerful enough to move you beyond your apathy, isn't the corollary that the local populations of the Iraq/Afpak regions are likely to be similarly moved?

      •  The wrinkle is... (6+ / 0-)

        … that if we and our military find ourselves in the role of the lynch mob in this analogy, shouldn't our prime concern be to get out of that role rather than to keep people from knowing the facts and seeing the evidence?

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:11:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If by "that role" you mean the role of torturers, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          we've already gotten out of it. Torture has been unequivocally denounced and its practice officially prohibited.

          If you mean the role of occupiers, I believe that's what the new administration is ultimately trying to accomplish. Meanwhile, we still have troops in "enemy soil". In that case the analogy is reversed, and the local population would be the angry mob (this is of course a very faulty analogy, since the locals are the original victims, and as far as the conflict goes largely passive and poorly armed; but the larger point stands, in that we should be careful not to increase the amount of violence targeted at the military men and women in harm's way).

          As long as the "war" is ongoing, we are in a precarious position, morally speaking, to make demands that might put the people we sent to do our dirty work at higher risk. That's why most war tribunals occur after the armed conflict is over.

  •  How many times can a man turn his head, (16+ / 0-)

    Pretending he just doesnt see?

    •  It's Gonna Come Back On Everyone: (5+ / 0-)

      Mama been laid off
      Papa been laid off
      My brother's been laid off
      For more than two years now
      Ooh can't get a job
      Billy can't get a job
      Ooh they gotta listen to the blues

      Help them to strive
      Help them to move on
      Help them to have some future
      Help them to live long
      Help them to live life
      Help them to smile
      Don't let them stay home and listen to the blues

      Mama been laid off
      Papa been laid off
      Billy can't get a job
      For too long too long
      Don't let them lose
      We gotta give them a chance
      It's gonna come back on everyone
      If you don't make them dance
      Don't let them stay home and listen to the blues

      There's nothing sacred (why, why, why)
      Breathing hatred
      We have to face it (why, why, why)
      No one can take it
      And feel no pain

      Words: Sade Adu
      Music: Sade Adu, Andrew Hale and Stuart Matthewman

    •  "and pretend" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      i cannot explain it, but reading "pretending" there was like nails on a chalkboard.  guess i listen to bob too much...LOL

      "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

      by Cedwyn on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:02:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  somehow I managed all these years (14+ / 0-)

    to avoid seeing the Emmett Till picture.

    i knew the story; i knew that his mother "wanted the world to see what they did to my baby" but I had never seen the picture.

    i am speechless.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
    President Obama. Still a thrill to see that in print.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:49:15 AM PDT

  •  Humpin it with a bullseye (9+ / 0-)

    Here's a counterpoint to your point

    I don't disagree that releasing photos would be devastatingly powerful PR, and that it would wake a lot of people up.  But those who are in denial will remain in denial - the photos of Abu Ghraib are out there and you've got people who still say the detainees deserved it.

    There are still people who think that Emmitt Till should have kept himself out of harm's way and that he should have not rocked the boat.  The meaning of the picture, to them is "See?  This is what happens when you try to change things.  So don't ever try to change things."

    Deanie Mills says this in the above linked article:

    But the next time you get all wound up about how suppressing those pictures has absolutely nothing to do with national security, imagine this:

    You are a walking bull's-eye, humpin' it down the streets of Kabul or Fallujah, the target on your back painted blood-red, and every time those photographs show up again in the Arab world, your target goes neon, and the threat on your life just increased tenfold.

    Put yourself in those desert boots.

    Think for a minute about the forgotten men and women in the middle.

    Think for a minute past our own circular arguments.

    Paint a bull's-eye on your own back, head out into a war-torn street in Iraq or Afghanistan, and see how comfortable you are with all those nice, clean, intellectual arguments then.

    These things are never simple.  They are always complex and confusing.  Give our president credit for realizing that.

    Justice, mercy, tolerance, hope, love, grace, and redemption are all Judeo-Christian values.

    by Benintn on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:57:34 AM PDT

    •  It would seem that the people who... (14+ / 0-)

      created this situation didn't give a rat's ass about those humpin' it up roads in Kabul...

      It's out. They know all about it. Pictures might make it worse, but what's the alternative?

      To keep hiding it? To sweep it under the rug?

      If an extremist is going to kill you, they're going to do it anyway. They can tell their recruits that "the pictures are so bad, they won't release them. They injected our people with pig's blood, and cut their privates off, and...."

      Without the release, the recuiters can put whatever, even sicker, images in young minds.

      •  Pictures might make it worse (5+ / 0-)

        No worse than drone rocket attacks on civilians make it. That IMHO, is that adds more fuel to the fire than releasing the photos.

        ".....It's about changing minds before it's about killing people."
        -- General Wesley K. Clark Meet the Press 8-28-05

        My first wish is to see War, this plague to mankind, banished from off this earth. George Washington, 1796 farewell address

        by BOHICA on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:27:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah but that's war. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jxg, lotlizard, grada3784, ShempLugosi

          And Washington loves it some war.

          Given a choice between:

          1. Dialing back the killing.
          1. Lying a bit more to the American public.

          ...our leaders will always choose the lying.

          I suspect that, like the killing, it gives them a chubby.

          Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

          by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:44:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  So then our guys in Kabul (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, Barcelona

      get a chance to shower off the dust from humpin' it down the streets and run the risk of getting electrocuted because of faulty wiring put in by contractors hired by the previous American administration.

      Cleaning up elephant droppings will never be easy, but it has to be done.

      Calling torture enhanced interrogation techniques is like calling a skunk a rose. It really doesn't smell any better.

      by grada3784 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:22:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •   it was only 3 months after Till that ROSA PARKS (19+ / 0-)

    refused to give up her seat. She said in repeated interviews that Till had been on her mind when she saying NO.

  •  Looks like an argument against release to me. (8+ / 0-)

    If you were looking for proof that pictures of an outrage can be used in a completely unrelated matter, you found it.  If you were looking to illustrate how our enemies would use pictures to justify anything, you did it.

    •  How Do Those Enemies Judge Predator Drones, (5+ / 0-)

      air strikes, and house-to-house searches, to, "justify anything?  

      And, you're all scared of some pictures being released and how the "enemy" might react to that?  Really?  Please explain!

      •  Oh don't question the War on Afghanistan? (4+ / 0-)

        Where would that lead?  It's one of the areas that McCain and Obama agreed 100% on: more troops, more killing, more better.

        Just don't admit to what we're doing....'cause that might get folks riled up.

        Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

        by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:46:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The pictures personalize the political (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inland, Jantman

        My understanding is that a large portion of the Afghan population is fighting for/siding with with the Americans. The resistance to the Taliban expansion in Pakistan is strong and widespread. I believe many understand that there is a war going on, and no matter how devastating and unjust the human losses, people still manage to somehow suffer through it.

        The new strategy aimed at bolstering efforts focused on aid and development will hopefully help achieve some real progress and eventually wind down the armed conflict.

        Releasing photos that depict their people and their Muslim brothers suffering -- much more than mere physical injury -- profound personal humiliation at the hands of sadistic and disdainful American soldiers... well, I can't see how that wouldn't antagonize the local population in a very visceral level and make it politically toxic for any local leader to side with the American effort. I can definitely see how that would completely undercut the kind of progress we are trying to achieve in the region.

    •  My god someone gets it! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adept2u, gobears2000

      Thank you Inland.  That is precisely the point.

      Mamie was a quiet and gentle woman who had a very specific motive for the release of her son's horrifying photos.  She wanted to catch -- or at least shame -- the killers.  She even did an autopsy of Emmitt's body herself.  In case there was anything the all white police missed.  

      But she did not foster hate against the prepetrators or allow use of the photos for any politician of the day.  And she wouldn't now.

  •  I don't know about the reference to Bush torture (5+ / 0-)

    The Emmet Till case is a blot on our history.

    But there is a big difference between the Till killing, which was the act of private persons that was repeated openly on a wide-spread basis throughout the South; and the behavior of the Bush administration, which is about government acts that were done secretively on a small set of persons, as a perverted response to an act of war on the American people.

    I get the point that people should be outraged by the actions of the Bush administration. But I am somehow uncomfortable that the Till case is seen as a metaphor for the Bush administration's actions.

    •  It's an emotional appeal to general outrage. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CupofTea, Sleepwalkr, TenthMuse

      I don't see the relevance at all.

      •  How about human fucking nature? (10+ / 0-)

        To torture a person to death, while laughing about it? Does government, or private citizens make it any different?

        It's a perfect metaphor. Human beings do unbelievably sick things to other human beings - in this case, it was government sanctioned.

        The Milgram Experiment, and the Stanford Prison Experiment were both damning testimonials to the sick tendencies even normal, decent people can be nudged into.

        It's our duty to fight it wherever it rears it's ugly head.

        •  The decision at hand is releasing PICTURES. (6+ / 0-)

          The decision against torture has already been made.

          So you give even more emotional appealsto an even generalized sense of outrage, now "human nature".  Can you get any broader and any less helpful or more irrelevant to the decision on whether or not to release PICTURES?  

        •  We'll have to agree to disagree. (7+ / 0-)

          Lynching took place over a period of almost 100 years (post reconstruction to early 60s). One study identified 2,500 victims of lynch mobs killed between 1882 and 1930 in ten southern states.

          Lynching took place openly. It wasn't something done in secret, it was literally a way of life.

          Of course, every unrighteous death should condemned. Torture should be condemned. I agree with that.

          But there is a huge difference in context between, say the death of Emmett Till, and the torture of prisoners, and say, a child getting shot in a drive by shooting, and say, the Holocaust.

          All are condemnable. But when we say one is like the other, I have a problem with that. I think it prevents us from understanding the unique social issues involved in each, and I do think there's a value in having that understanding.

          But that's just me.

          •  US torture has taken place since... (9+ / 0-)

   least the Philippine War.

            It may be done in secret as far as the U.S. public is concerned, but it's no secret to the subject populations.

            Despite all the ticking-time-bomb crap about gaining intelligence, it has always been about ruling by terror. And that doesn't work if it's secret.

            The "secrecy" of American torture is like the hood on a Knight of the Ku Klux Klan, it provides the right amount of plausible deniability.

            The analogy is terrific.

            (An afterthought: Lynching "worked."  It helped keep a subject population in its place for roughly a century.  Do you find the very thought of a discussion of the efficacy of lynching as an argument in favor of lynching vile? Well, you know how some of us feel about the current torture "debate.")

            Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

            by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:51:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wow, GreenSooner (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              You have made so many compelling points in this comment thread, but this one totally rocked me. I have been arguing about the torture issue since the Abu Ghraib photos came out. It makes me so sad and angry that there are fellow citizens who can't (won't?) see what makes torture wrong and evil.

              The fact that there are people like Big Tex and you out there saying what so desparately needs to be said keeps me from total despair.

              Thank you.

          •  It's not saying "one is like the other" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pesto, Barcelona

            and it's not a metaphor. The point the diarist is making is that pictures make it impossible to whitewash and ignore these sadistic acts. The diarist does not otherwise state or imply an equivalence in the situations. The closest I found upon re-reading the diary is this:

            I hope that those of us who are defending his decision will consider the example of Emmett Till, and of how seeing with open eyes the horrors that he endured brought about change in the hearts and minds of so many.

            The only similarities the diarist is asserting between the situations is that in both cases, pictures exist documenting the crime, and perhaps in the present case as in the Till case, seeing the images will shake people out of complacency.

            •  The painful point you're missing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The point the diarist is making is that pictures make it impossible to whitewash and ignore these sadistic acts

              America made no attempt to whitewash or ignore the painful sadistic act that was the murder of Till.  The murderers gave magazine interviews.  They never went to prison.  This wasn't some shameful act done in a dark closet that everyone was embarassed about this was par for the course.

              They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

              by Adept2u on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:48:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not missing that point (0+ / 0-)

                It's just not relevant to the discussion. The diarist wasn't trying to make an equivalence. So you're saying "there's not an equivalence--think of all these differences!" And you're right, but you're arguing against nobody. The diarist is saying that the photos of Till cut through some people's apathy, and that the torture/abuse photos now being withheld could do the same thing. Saying "but people were proudly murderous racists at the time" doesn't argue against that point. I'll give you an analogy, though, since you're apparently eager to see one. People proudly defend the torture of detainees now. Take a look at some of the bumper stickers for sale now, being marketed to Republicans. Today, too, the murderers are giving magazine interviews. Something to cut through the general populace's apathy would be very welcome, IMO.

                •  The reference still doesn't work (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Adept2u, irackobama, gobears2000

                  RE: diarist is saying that the photos of Till cut through some people's apathy.

                  As a matter of fact, that is not correct. In fact, pictures of lynchings were not at all uncommon. That's the reason we're seeing so many of these photos in this thread.

                  The thing that made the death of Till so horrible was that (a) he was just 14 years; (b) he was killed for the mere act of whistling at a white woman.  For a child to be killed over something so trivial, was more disgusting than even the most jaded person could accept.

                  Now, to the matter of the torture pix: I have no problem with saying that the release of the photos would have the useful/important effect of sparking public outrage and motivating people to deal with the issue.

                  I do have a problem with associating the Bush torture with the Till murder, in any way. It's like when somebody says, "Oh what the Dems are doing reminds me of what Hitler did."

                  This post DOES in fact evoke an emotional appeal based on a response to racism, which is then used to inform  this discussion of Bush's torture and strategies for dealing with it. And I don't lie the idea of evoking that emotion in this case.

                  Now, if this works for you, fine, different strokes for different folks. But I don't like it.

                  •  There are personal accounts posted here (0+ / 0-)

                    about how photos of Till galvanized people (much later), and anecdotes related about the effect the pictures had at the time. So when I say

                    photos of Till cut through some people's apathy

                    and then you say

                    As a matter of fact, that is not correct.

                    and then change the subject to talk about other pictures, I don't think you're using the word "fact" in its usual sense.

                    I get it that some people think that it is somehow disrespectful of Till and his family to use his image in this situation. And I respect your opinion on that, all of you, although I disagree with it. Personally, I think the diarist was respectful, and is right.

                    But EarthTone, I feel like you're arguing with me on all the wrong grounds. You don't like the evocation of revulsion to a horrible racist act in this context--why? You don't think racism has played a part in the torture and murder of detainees? You think Till's age and innocence invalidate the reference to him in this case? Well, how old were the children Seymore Hersch was referring to, that were publicly sodomized at Abu Ghraib? You think everyone tortured, including those who died during the interrogations, were guilty? I feel like you and I are outraged by the same things for the most part--why don't you think that outrage is applicable to the torture and murder of people abducted with no due process in Iraq and Afghanistan? (If that's what you're saying)

                    •  Some responses (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Adept2u, kydoc, gobears2000

                      [1] RE: The impact of Till's photos: Let me put it this way: we KNOW FOR A FACT that lynchings of many many many many other grown black men did NOTHING to spark the outrage that the Till killing did.

                      OF COURSE the pictures made a difference. But again, there were a LOT of pictures of LOT of lynchings. The unique circumstances of the case - Till's age and the circumstances - made the difference here. IMO.

                      [2] I'm not arguing with you, per se. I respect your opinion, I don't begrudge it. I'm not asking to you to change your view, as much as I'm saying, there are things about this diary that unsettle me personally.

                      [3] I fully agree that the release of the torture photos would galvanize the public to face and deal with this issue. I've said as much. I also agree that the use of torture by the American government is intolerable.

                      [4] I have to go back to the example I used before, where I note that many times-we've all seen this on TV-a person will make a point about something, and then they say, "Well, this is exactly what Hitler did." The idea is to associate a competing argument with Hitler or Nazism, and thereby make it detestable.

                      I agree that what the government did a very bad thing. But to me, using the Till lynching is a cheap way to draw sympathy to the cause. And the social context of the two is totally different.

                      I would agree that the diarist probably wasn't doing this intentionally. And I'm sure many people don't see what the big deal is that I'm making.

                      I just think that, to be respectful of history, we have to careful with how we make references to it. This, to me, does not met a standard of due care.

                      [5] But I have to stress: I do find the use of torture intolerable, I do understand why people want them to be released. I just have a problem with the association of this with Emmett Till. That is all.

    •  till was murdered in indiana, thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      decidedly not "the south."

      "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

      by Cedwyn on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:08:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, Cedwyn (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's dangerous to ignore the fact that racism is everywhere in the US.  

      •  Mississippi not Indiana! Jesus Christ. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...there's a rose in the fisted glove and the eagle flies with the dove - Stephen Stills

        by NuttyProf on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:12:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i got till confused with the pic (0+ / 0-)

          till was murdered in mississippi.  that pic w/ the two lynched men is from indiana.  my bad.  the post should read "those lynchings were in indiana."

          "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

          by Cedwyn on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:54:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? Indiana! LOL (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There is entire background story to this that you can't possibly wrap your mind around.  

        The trial was on TV in Mississippi for god's sake.  The body was pulled out of the river in Mississippi.  What, did it float all the way from Indiana?

        The body had to be secreted away from Mississippi for fear of further desecration.

        You are a putz.  This is why photos should not be released.

    •  The Bush Administration tortue policy is equally (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... a blot on our history. Both are evidence of institutionally sanctioned torture; the only difference is the scale.

  •  Classy LTE in my local paper (8+ / 0-)

    sums up an all-too-common attitude about torture, and why these images need to be released to shock cretins like this into silence:

    Where were all of you liberals when my buddies and I were being waterboarded by the U.S. Navy at a simulated POW camp in the hills of Warner Springs, California, in 1969 in 90-plus heat?

    After a week of foraging for food, and sleep deprivation, we ended up in a barbedwire compound where they tried to make us sign statements that we murdered women and children in Vietnam. Hell, I had never been there yet!

    This resort had all the amenities of being locked in a small black box for an hour in the hot sun instead of a sauna). We were slapped around and thrown into walls (instead of massages and cardiovascular workouts), and if you wanted to relax and get out of the sun, they would put you in a casket, lower it into the ground and throw dirt on it.

    Waterboarding was my favorite; it cooled me off in the hot sun. So, all you bleeding-heart liberals, when it comes to dealing with the people that beheaded and murdered our servicemen, you might try telling them to "go to your room!"

    You can be assured I will be writing a rebuttal for next week's issue just as soon as I stop despairing for America.

    Now I don't know but I been told/it's hard to run with the weight of gold
    Other hand I heard it said/it's just as hard with the weight of lead

    by ekthesy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:17:30 AM PDT

  •  Geneva Convention (4+ / 0-)

    relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

    It can be argued that it is a violation of this Convention as the US did when Saddam used American POWs for propaganda purposes.

    Article 13

    Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention. In particular, no prisoner of war may be subjected to physical mutilation or to medical or scientific experiments of any kind which are not justified by the medical, dental or hospital treatment of the prisoner concerned and carried out in his interest.

    Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.

    Measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited.

    Of course we all know that Geneva is "quaint".

    My first wish is to see War, this plague to mankind, banished from off this earth. George Washington, 1796 farewell address

    by BOHICA on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:18:48 AM PDT

    •  You think this is about public curiosity? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, pmorlan

      Or are you saying you think this is about propaganda? If you're saying either of those things, and if not please make clear what your point really is, but if you're saying either of those things, I strongly disagree. This is about, as people have pointed out above, removing the arguments such as "it's not REALLY torture" and "it's the same thing we do to soldiers in training so its no big deal" and building momentum for justice to be done. It's about murderers and torturers not getting away with it. It's not about rubbernecking at a car wreck.

      •  No I'm saying that it could be argued (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That is what the Bush admin did during Gulf I when American POW were displayed by Saddam.

        When pictures of POWs at Gitmo are shown the faces are usually blurred.

        Here's one example from the BBC.
        POW 'torture photos' investigated by the Brits

        Allegations Iraqi prisoners of war were mistreated by UK troops are being investigated, after photographs allegedly showing the abuse were discovered.

        A British soldier has been arrested on suspicion of taking the pictures, including one showing an Iraqi, bound and gagged, hanging from netting on a fork-lift truck.


        The MoD says reports of abuse will be "thoroughly investigated"
        Allegations Iraqi prisoners of war were mistreated by UK troops are being investigated, after photographs allegedly showing the abuse were discovered.

        A British soldier has been arrested on suspicion of taking the pictures, including one showing an Iraqi, bound and gagged, hanging from netting on a fork-lift truck.

        Police were called in after the photographs were handed into a store in Tamworth, Staffordshire, for developing.

        If the pictures are found to show real Iraqis, and have not been stage-managed, such treatment would be a breach of the Geneva Convention which governs the treatment of POWs, says the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

        Investigation conducted

        An MoD spokeswoman said an investigation into the allegations was under way.

        "We can confirm that an investigation is being conducted into allegations that a soldier took photographs depicting mistreatment of Iraqi POWs.

        "We cannot comment further. But if there is any truth in these allegations the MoD is appalled.

        "We take responsibility to POWs extremely seriously.

        "The Geneva Convention makes clear that 'prisoners of war are entitled to respect to their persons and their honour'.

        "Any allegation that this has been breached must be seriously and thoroughly investigated.

        "The individual concerned was arrested yesterday by Staffordshire Police and is in custody."

        I'm all for releasing the photos.

        My first wish is to see War, this plague to mankind, banished from off this earth. George Washington, 1796 farewell address

        by BOHICA on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:35:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  if there is a question of motive (0+ / 0-)

      (which I do not believe to be curiousity) why don't we take it up with the U.N. and see what the other Nations think about releasing the photos?

      There are bagels in the fridge

      by Sychotic1 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:35:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This diary should be sent to president Obama. (7+ / 0-)

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

    by hestal on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:19:30 AM PDT

    •  i have a feeling his staff monitors Daily Kos (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and since this is on the rec list they will take notice of it

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
      President Obama. Still a thrill to see that in print.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:36:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I promise you (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, Sleepwalkr, jennyL, Jantman

      that President Obama does not need a history lesson on Emmett Till.

      Do we really need a new batch of torture pictures from these current wars popping up on people's Blackberries?

      There is no purpose served at all, in today's society, to publishing more of these torture photos. We live in a world where people are desensitized to violent graphic images.

      Obama is doing the right thing in not releasing the pictures...however....he needs to repeat our pledge to end any practice that is or resembles torture.

      "How can I tell you everything that is in my heart. Impossible to begin. Enough. No. Begin." Maira Kalman from The Principles of Uncertainty

      by orphanpower on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:13:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just saying "there's no purpose served" doesn't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        make it so. I believe there most certainly IS a purpose to be served, and obviously several people here think so. I have spoken with people and seen talking heads on the news who are still saying that what has happened isn't REALLY torture. Photographic evidence either makes or destroys their case. Judging by the efforts to conceal it, I'm guessing the photos are pretty damning. But they should be released either way. I have a right to know what's being done in my name, and so do all my fellow citizens.

        •  The law has been broken (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slapper95, Sleepwalkr

          that we know for a fact.
          There is no question at all that the Bush Admin was torturing question.
          WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN pictures of the Bush Admin's torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. We have the former Vice President running around defending their use of torture.
          Anyone who doesn't think that they were using torture as an interrogation method is dumb as a stack of bricks.

          So, there is a lot of hoopla going on...when the whole thing is pretty damn simple.
          The law has been broken. Those who broke the law need to be prosecuted and convicted and do jail time.

          The United States needs to obey the international laws of the Geneva Convention that prohibit torture.

          The pictures belong in evidence, not splayed across every screen in the world.

          "How can I tell you everything that is in my heart. Impossible to begin. Enough. No. Begin." Maira Kalman from The Principles of Uncertainty

          by orphanpower on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:00:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is unclear that prosecution will take place (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            without a lot more public support, which (as the diarist seems to be implying) would be a likely outcome of the public release of the photos.

            •  Well, maybe I'm wrong (0+ / 0-)

              maybe the photos should be released. My field of expertise is not law or politics.

              I just can't believe, or don't want to, that there is any question that the Bush Admin used would seem that the evidence is overwhelming.

              On a side note, I used to work in an office with a very die hard super right wing Republican. When photos were released of Americans being tortured and beheaded by insurgents, the person posted print-outs of the pictures all over his cubicle.
              Beheadings on the wall right above his every time I passed by....I was smacked in the eyes with the crap. His reason for displaying the photos?
              To justify the "harsh interrogation" techniques being used by BushCo. Yes, he was pro torture.

              Who the hell cares about public support? The law was broken so we must prosecute,convict and incarcerate the lawbreakers. Are we still a nation of laws?
              Time will tell.

              "How can I tell you everything that is in my heart. Impossible to begin. Enough. No. Begin." Maira Kalman from The Principles of Uncertainty

              by orphanpower on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:10:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Who the hell cares about public support?" (0+ / 0-)

                It would be nice our government could be trusted to do the right thing, e.g. "prosecute,convict and incarcerate the lawbreakers," regardless of public support. But the reality is that if enough people in congress find it more politically advantageous not to do so, it's not going to happen. We are still a nation of laws if we collectively choose to be. Otherwise not. That's why public support is important, especially right now. It has to be the right choice for those in power to make, not only morally, but also politically. Then it will happen.

      •  I will tell you why. The photos here of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        young Emmett Till and the photos of lynchings are effective teaching tools to show children the horrors that are possible when emotion overrules reason.  

        I remember seeing photos of the Nazi extermination camps shortly after the Allies captured them.  I don't remember the year, but I was well into elementary school.  These photos have always been in my brain, recalled whenever the holocaust deniers spew their lies.

        These photos should be shown because they can be effective in shaping the future, shaping today is too late as Mr. Obama admitted.  But tomorrow is another day.

        I am not disappointed in Mr. Obama's actions because I expected little of him, and now I expect even less.

        Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

        by hestal on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:47:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Wasn't Black, So I Said Nothing (12+ / 0-)

    "First They Came..." by Martin Niemoller

       In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

       And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

       And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

       And then... they came for me... And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

    Matthew 25:40

    And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:19:54 AM PDT

  •  Powerful diary... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, grada3784, deha, sephius1, leonard145b

    I am frustrated that we are having "stand-in" arguments instead of investigations and prosecutions holding people accountable for torture.

    Who gives a damn if:

    Nancy Pelosi was briefed?

    Obama doesn't release more pictures of what we already know happened?

    Torture "works"?

    We either are a nation of laws and hold ourselves to the standard we demand of others or we are a banana republic.

  •  In the name of fairness (8+ / 0-)

    you should post some images of dead american troops in this diary as well.

    If you want to use Till to personify one side of this debate (although the situations really aren't very similar) and make us think about the human cost of one decision, you should post similar pics to demonstrate the cost of the other decision.

    Otherwise you empathy here becomes a bit too convenient.

    •  You want pictures of dead American troops? (6+ / 0-)

      Post 'em yourself.

      You can't demand that your opponents in a debate make your arguments for you.

      And if you actually want fewer dead American troops, the answer is the same today as it was in 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001:

      Bring our troops, all of them, home from Afghanistan and Iraq now!

      What's killing U.S. troops are the awful policy decisions to wage and continue deadly wars of choice.

      Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

      by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:57:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, why on earth should I expect (7+ / 0-)

        intellectual honesty from the other side of the debate when you've done so many contortions to create ad hoc arguments to justify what is really nothing more than a desire to rub some people's noses in shit.

        Bringing them home would obviously be safer. However, I very much doubt the veracity of your concern for their safety when you are advocating placing them in more danger.

        It's funny, when BushCo was torturing people the fact that it was upping the dangerr to the troops was a perfectly valid argument against it.
        Why is your great humanitarianism only reserved for moments when it is politically convenient?

        •  I'm not advocating putting them in more danger. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sychotic1, Vega

          I'm advocating bringing them home.  And I have been advocating this since 2002. I opposed the Iraq War from the start. And I deeply regret not having taken the same attitude toward the Afghan War.

          That said, I don't believe that releasing the pictures would place them in more danger than they already find themselves in.

          Incidentally, when you descend to ad hominem arguments about the sincerity of your opponent, it strongly suggests to me that you've run out of arguments on the merits of your case, such as they are.

          I repeat what I said: if you think that photos of dead Americans make your case for you, post them.

          I honestly think they don't.

          Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

          by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:13:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Pointing out rhetorical (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sleepwalkr, Adept2u, jennyL

            inconsistencies is not an ad hom attack and attempting to misconstrue it was such smells of a desperate red herring.

            The pics at Abu G are a huge recruiting tool, this is known fact. Releasing more pics will most certainly endanger our troops more. So yes, you are advocating endangering them more.

            I have more respect for the dead then to use them as propaganda tools. This diary is crass and tasteless.

            •  Inconsistencies? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sychotic1, Vega

              This subthread began with your issuing the following demand to the diarist:

              you should post some images of dead american troops in this diary as well.

              Now you clutch your pearls and insist:

              I have more respect for the dead then to use them as propaganda tools.

              I'm honestly trying to find the supposed rhetorical inconsistency you find in my argument. Hint: accusing me of not really caring about American lives is not a "rhetorical inconsistency." It's an ad hominem attack on my motives and state of mind, an attack for which you have no evidence.

              Terrorists have plenty of recruiting tools.  The Abu G photos were recruiting tools. So are our drones and our very alliance with the Pakistani government. So is our support for the state of Israel. Are you advocating ending all these things? I didn't think so (and neither am I, fwiw).

              Doing the opposite of what our opponents can twist into useful propaganda for themselves is not a rational policy or even a rational rule of conduct.

              In fact, it's shouting "9/11" when you've run out of other arguments.

              Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

              by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:31:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh dear God, I'll try and be patient here (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sleepwalkr, Adept2u, TenthMuse, jennyL

                I didn't actually wanted to pics, I wanted to point out that the diarist is being intellectually dishonest by talking about one outcome without naming the potential cost. It was sensationalism meant to block discussion of the cost, sorta like BushCo invoking 9-11 every time their methods were questioned.

                You talk about keeping troops safe and then advocate putting them in more danger. That is inconsistent and does beg the question of what your motives really are.

                This post is not a rational argument it is an Appeal to Emotion. You seem to have no problem problem with that. Why should we need a rational reason not to put our troops in further danger? Again, inconsistent : you allow a line of thought when it fits the beliefs you already have and cry foul when it doesn't. Also it lends more weight to the question of what your motives really are.

                Persuing an ideology with no regard to the human cost isn't rational either. Pragmatism has a lot more to do with reason than idealism.

                •  Not cleaning our own house puts the troops in (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sychotic1, Vega

                  more danger. By all means, let's acknowledge the risks of each alternative. But pragmatism does not always justify not rocking the boat. Covering up war crimes could lead to more death, torture, and misery in the long run than exposing them now would do.

                  •  This isn't zero sum (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    slapper95, Sleepwalkr, TenthMuse, jennyL

                    we can clean our own house without our neighbors watching both literally and figuratively. Then, when we don't have troops over there we can consider it.

                    This isn't about covering anything up, I'm all for televised trials. Just don't aid in terrotist recruitment by giving them pics to take to tiny villages with no access to the full story of what is happening right now.

        •  Justice, priorities, long-term vs. short (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jxg, Sychotic1, Vega

          It's not as simple as "does this increase or decrease danger to US soldiers." For starters, although it's certainly plausible, what's the evidence that these pictures would increase the risk beyond the ill-will that's already being generated by occupation, airstrikes, etc? Next, you can justify moral action by pointing to the destructive consequences of the alternative (e.g. we shouldn't torture because it is morally wrong, and we also shouldn't torture because it might increase the danger to our soldiers) no problem, but are you really comfortable justifying immoral action that way (e.g. we have to suppress evidence and cover up the crimes of some Americans because having the evidence be public might increase the danger to our soldiers). And think about long-term changes rather than only the initial reaction. If we are seen cleaning our own house, taking justice and the rule of law seriously at home, might that not in the long run save the lives of US soldiers? It is the right thing to do to bring criminals to justice. If making the evidence public helps that process along, then that, too is right. It is possible that doing so could get people killed. It is possible that not doing so could get people killed. Either way, it's still right to pursue justice. Would you go back in time if you could, and prevent the release of the Abu Ghraib photos?

          •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sleepwalkr, jennyL

            Because in the rush to prosecute justice wasn't served. Our legal system shouldn't be ran with pitchforks and 'hell yeah!' reactions.

            Also because, they WERE used as a recruitment tool.

            You can persue justice without making those pics public. Crime scene evidence is kept out of the media all the time.

            The problem with the short-run/long run arguments. Is that they reduce actual people into numbers to be sacrificed. You want to do what is expedient, not what will get the best result. It is just as possible to get the same result without increasing the danger, you just have to try something new.

            •  "You want to do what is expedient, not what will (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sychotic1, Vega

              get the best result."

              Funny, that is exactly the reaction I was having to your line of thinking. Tell me what this new thing is you think will get justice served without increasing the danger. Convince me that it could really happen, and I'll be on your side. The only reason I'm arguing for the release of the photos is because I currently think that without broader and more intense public support for investigations and prosecutions, current governmental leaders will (continue to) find it more politically expedient to avoid justice rather than pursue it. So the public needs more of the proof at this stage, to create that support. If you know of a better way, one that can actually happen, I'm all ears.

              PS In re-reading this I think it sounds a bit more combative than I intend. I really am open to you persuading me that a better way exists, just skeptical until I see it.

              •  Prosecute BushCo, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                slapper95, jennyL

                keep the pics out of the media but let the jurors see them, and implement the new strategy that was announced a few months ago.

                As for motivating the prosecutions, the steam is already building. I'm of the opinions that the prosecutions should wait until fall (and this is purely a cynical attempt too use them as a hammer when they are trying to pass healthcare).

                I can't answer the correctly because a) I have no idea how to organize and b)I am of the mind that we don't need to create more pressure the outrage on this is palpable, combine it with the anger over EFCA and the credit card bill and you have the perfect storm for prosecutions.

                I really don't think either of us will sway the other at this point because we seem to see the situation completley differently. I really just don't think more momentum is necessary. Honestly, I think it's already been choreographed to perfection.

  •  Sorry, not going to fly (12+ / 0-)

    I have been teaching the story of Emmett Till, the importance of the Black press, and that photo for 20 years. The hole in your argument is that publication of more photos of the work of the Bush II administration will endanger our young men and women in the military. I am someone who worked my ass off trying to prevent the Iraq War. Now that we are there I am not willing to put our people at greater risk.

    Keep your eyes on the prize.

    by Better Days on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:29:38 AM PDT

    •  So the Photos Already Out There of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, pmorlan, kydoc

      what happened at abu Ghraib-- the "terrorists" and Iraqi people have forgiven us for that disgrace?

      No, they have not. the argument by Obama and others that the new photos will put our people at risk is more or less a red herring-- meant to distract us from the actual issue: torture and WHEN is Holder/the DOJ going to move forward with prosecution of higher ups in the CIA and former bush administration?

      THAT is the real problem here, because it appears there will be no prosecution.

      The bank bailouts are a failure. Robert Reich

      by Superpole on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:38:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. (9+ / 0-)

       It will (can) have the opposite effect.  The photos need to be released with a statement by President Obama that says (something along the lines of):


      "These atrocities were perpetrated under the previous Administration.  The current Administration does not tolerate these practices and rejects all forms of torture.  These photographs are released to not only demonstrate the transparency of the Obama Administration, but, more, to send a message to the world that this is and shall NOT be tolerated by the current U.S. Administration.

       "The test of a people, of a nation, is not whether it's capable of finding and unleashing its darker tendencies -- no nation could past that test if enough layers are peeled away from its historical record.  Rather, the test is based on how willing a nation is to own-up to its past and then take steps to make things right.  

       "The United States is a country that time and time again rises above and out of its darker times and we here demonstrate to the world that that is our mission once again:  to be a example of confronting our past, accounting for it and, then, setting an example to the world of what the 'better angels' of our nature are capable of building within ourselves and creating, with understanding and partnership, throughout the world."



      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

      by BenGoshi on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:42:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Obama does as you suggest, I do not believe it (6+ / 0-)

        will prevent retaliation against our soldiers. Why ? Because polls taken in the top six Arab nations suggest that while they have a favorable opinion of President Barack Obama , they still hate America.

        I will gladly sacrifice not being able to view the photos in an effort to insure that a radical idiot , pumped up on Anti-American sentiment does not take a shot at one of our soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan after viewing said photos.

        It is the life of that soldier(s) whom I wish to protect from retaliation. It is that soldier President Obama wishes to protect as well.

        "There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President."~ President Obama (Grant Park, Illinois November 4, 2008) -ahem-

        by WeBetterWinThisTime on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:56:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a no win scenario... (8+ / 0-)

    I appreciate the outrage and feel great pain whenever I read the story of Emmett Till.  However, there are two sides to this story of the torture documents.  If Sy Hersh is to be believed - and I believe him and his stellar track record - there are acts of depravity that will shock us even in light of what's already been released.  

    I do think the photos should be released... just not now.  Our troops in harm's way would probably come under more ferocious attacks and we would lose young American men and women who were dropped into this nonsense by a criminal administration.

    If Obama releases the torture docs, I have no doubt that our troops will see a new wave of attacks.  If he doesn't release the material, justice can not be served.

    His first responsibility is to the safety of the American people.  To serve justice and protect our citizens, we should not release the material - yet.  Get our troops out of Iraq.  Begin the withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Release the material at the same time you serve indictments to all of the Bush Administration people responsible for this horrible situation.  Show the world that we are a nation of laws.  

    "Now if people got problems and they got problems with people oh yeah I know what it is to be there." - DW

    by ScantronPresident on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:32:41 AM PDT

    •  This, to me, is the only consideration (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScantronPresident, jennyL

      that millitates against releasing the photos.  But it's an incredibly powerful one.  We would likely see an absolute explosion of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We need to bring our troops home, then deal with all of this.  

      Faith in oneself is not trusting that you will always be victorious. It is trusting that you will either die or get back up.

      by Justashotaway on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:12:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  disagree (3+ / 0-)

    with the conclusion, but I do have to respect your well-reasoned, powerful diary.

  •  Emmett Till and black history (15+ / 0-)

    Many of us who know something about African American history have seen those photos of Emmett Till already. Being a black American as well, I am certain that President Obama has seen the images of Till. Now ask yourselves how black folk reacted to seeing those images. It would not surprise you that many of us in our communities, both north and south, where these things were discussed, were horrified and saddened, but also deeply hurt by the graphic images of such physical violation, and death, images that reach far back into African American culture and history. It somehow feels to me like the parallel that you draw is not exact, and somewhat exploitative of a strong racial memory.

    And please, with respect, correct the spelling of the name "Emmitt" in the tag

    ...there's a rose in the fisted glove and the eagle flies with the dove - Stephen Stills

    by NuttyProf on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:37:50 AM PDT

    •  I'm in no way disparaging your take on this, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, grada3784, pmorlan, Vega

       . . . and it seems that, by definition, yours is certainly a viable and legitimate viewpoint.  Yet the diarist (naive though you think they may be) is trying to do the right thing and makes, I think, a heartfelt point.  That should count for something, it seems.

       Moreover, there are a lot of people, a lot of younger (say, under 45!) Americans -- of all hues and backgrounds -- who don't know the Emmitt Till / Mose Wright story.  So bringing this to the fore via this site also has that positive aspect.


      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove." -- P.G. Wodehouse (via Bertie Wooster)

      by BenGoshi on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:46:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lots of younger people don't know about Till (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BenGoshi, Sychotic1, Barcelona, grada3784, Vega

        I agree with you that a lot of younger people do not know about Till. I worked with an African American woman in her late twenties who had never even heard of Emmett Till. I was shocked when she told me that because I thought everyone knew about Till. I ended up finding information for her on the net and gave it to her to read. She thanked me for letting her know about it. I think using the Till photo is a perfect example of why those photos should have been released and I compliment the diary writer for posting the diary.

        by pmorlan on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:25:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Very interesting point.Another interesting point (15+ / 0-)

    I would like to make is this. As an African American and possible decedent of one of those victims in the various photos that are being posted to justify release of the detainee photos, you would be very surprised if you knew what comes to my mind when I see all of those people surrounding the dead bodies.

    What thoughts and images flood my mind about the children of those men in the photos. The thoughts and feelings I have about the states these people committed their acts in. Thoughts about the people  today who have no connection to the men in the photos, only that they too are possible decedents.

    Anger, distrust , suspicion and other feelings that have taken me a lifetime to overcome , began to haunt my thoughts again. I can only imagine what other African Americans think when they see these photos. They do not tell me anything that I already knew. They just piss me off and I am a proud American citizen. Imagine if I were an enemy.

    Therefore. I do not think the photos of the detainees should be released.

    "There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President."~ President Obama (Grant Park, Illinois November 4, 2008) -ahem-

    by WeBetterWinThisTime on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:46:32 AM PDT

  •  Hypothetically, what would be the response (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grada3784, Sleepwalkr, Amber6541

    here in the US were the photos to be released? And I'm not in any way minimizing the stated reason for not releasing the photos. I'm just wondering what the fallout would be here at home since this diary has already pushed me a bit on this issue.

    I think it would intensify public opinion to push for investigations, but there would be hell-to-pay should US casualties increase, especially now that the photo release/higher risk cause-and-effect has been linked by the administration.

    "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

    by Uwaine on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:50:59 AM PDT

    •  The reaction at home... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cedwyn, Uwaine, Amber6541

      ...will be minimal.

      The Americans who are against torture already know how bad it is.

      The Americans who are for torture won't care.  They may even take the horrible photos as a sign that the government is doing a good job!

      •  Interesting, thanks. I was thinking that given (0+ / 0-)

        how short US attention spans can be, and given how information-poor many folks are despite the incessant chattering of the news channels, that another round of photos would have an effect.

        But I concede, you're probably correct.

        "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

        by Uwaine on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:49:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Can I put in a photo request of (5+ / 0-)

    the soldiers that went down in Somalia from the blackhawk down deal.

    What about the contractors that were hanging from the bridge in Iraq.

    Anybody wanna see a picture of that?

    You'd be a lot cooler if you were from Minnesota!!!

    by mim5677 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:51:30 AM PDT

    •  You think that makes your argument? (4+ / 0-)

      Then post them.

      I'm tired of passive-aggressive proponents of covering up war crimes demanding that those of us who disagree with them make their arguments for them.

      Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

      by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:00:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't PAY to have those people tortured... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kulshan, siduri

        and killed.

        Their pictures would be meaningless in the effort to have our justice, and our law served.

        The pictures in question most definitely have a purpose at this moment in time.

      •  I think it did (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adept2u, jennyL, siduri

        I know you are tired of what you think is the opposite view of yours.  Welcome to the club.  

        Not that I recall seeing any photographs of war crimes in this diary, but that is neither here nor there.

        Using Emmitt to make this argument really doesn't take into consideration many of the additional variables that apply to this modern day case.  

        People that catch our soldiers will return the favor and granted IF IF IF IF we prosecute somebody in say five to ten years after all of the investigations we will go through, IF we prosecute them and IF they are found guilty, I agree there would be a positive change in the way people percieve America and more importantly its military.

        If they weren't found guilty...even after the release of a few hunderd photographs, I would hate to think of the treatment that American soldiers would recieve if ever captured....I wouldn't trade the life of a single soldier, to go chasing a pencil pusher that may not even get prosecuted and most likely end up with a pardon 20 years down the line.

        You don't need to make my argument cause it is pretty simple.  I have no doubt in my mind that the U.S. government has enough evidence to convict someone of war crimes without these photos.  

        These photos will end up as blog content for stupid people to post and get on the rec list and a torturing guidelines for kidnappers in other countries.

        You'd be a lot cooler if you were from Minnesota!!!

        by mim5677 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:54:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  the pic of the fallujah contractors (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jxg, kulshan, jennyL

      has been posted here.  markos said "screw 'em!"  citing an example of mercenaries doesn't exactly make the case.

      "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

      by Cedwyn on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:14:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thats really reachin. lol. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Brilliant essay. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm glad this is on the Rec list, and it deserves an even broader readership.

    Are you the change or not?

    by goinsouth on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:53:28 AM PDT

  •  Weak. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tazz, Adept2u, drache, jennyL, gobears2000, siduri

    Diarist, I think you are making a weak argument for the release of the photos. And I really detest your use of Emmett Till's photo to make your point.

    At the time that Till's photo was published, it truly did serve a purpose and was a strong call for action and change.

    We live in a very different world today. I don't see any good coming out of releasing MORE of the torture photos from these current wars.

    Here is an idea...let's stop the use of torture- not by releasing more horrific pictures, but by changing the law/returning to the law.
    Let's end these wars and start focusing on Universal Health Care.

    "How can I tell you everything that is in my heart. Impossible to begin. Enough. No. Begin." Maira Kalman from The Principles of Uncertainty

    by orphanpower on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:59:55 AM PDT

    •  Agree on One Important Point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, leonard145b, Amber6541

      Let's end these wars

      You know if we were actually ending these wars, all this crap about the impact on troops in the field would be moot.

      But the Obama administration isn't ending these wars. It's escalating one of them and dragging its feet in the other (as candidate Obama promised to do throughout the campaign, it must be said).

      So I agree with one point of yours (while disagreeing with your objections to this brilliant diary): the most important thing is ending these wars. Now.

      Self-styled progressives who call for balanced budgets are not merely parroting conservatives; they are parroting dead conservatives. - James Galbraith

      by GreenSooner on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:02:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I totally disagree with you (5+ / 0-)

      I think it's a very powerful diary and the photo of Emmett Till is very appropriate. What we did to the detainees is being denied by V.P. Cheney and others. The photo release would have countered that denial and made it harder for them to continue to deny what we did just like the release of the Till photo made it harder to deny what was happening to African Americans in the South.

      We have an establishment in Washington that needs to change. They are all trying their best to just make this go away because it's politically uncomfortable for them. As a country we can't afford to let them  sweep this under the rug. The Till photo was appropriate and I believe that in your heart you know that too.

      Sadly I've read comments in the Washington Post where people are calling the detainees subhuman and vermin that need to be exterminated (I kid you not). The photos would remind people that these people were human beings that we tortured and it's important that they be released.

      by pmorlan on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:17:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent Diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leonard145b, Amber6541, ctlrick, Vega

    Thank you for posting this diary. You are absolutely correct about the power of the Emmett Till photo. That photo made it difficult for people to continue to deny what happened to that little boy. Unfortunately I think Obama made a very bad mistake when he was convinced not to release the detainee photos. And the people that convinced him not to release the photos knew full well that the power of those photos was more dangerous to those who authorized torture than to our soldiers. But once again they used our soldiers to protect themselves.

    by pmorlan on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:05:52 AM PDT

  •  Also Remember the murderers were in LOOK magazine (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, pmorlan, Amber6541, Vega

    and they got paid for it
    were acquitted and bragged about it in the magazine
    Let's not hope that happenes here, knowing the sorry state of the media and the IQ of most Americans it probably will.

    "If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking 'til you suck seed."--Curly Howard

    by JackAshe on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:24:22 AM PDT

  •  But we ALREADY have our Emmet Till photos... (6+ / 0-)

    The original Abu Grahib photos were the necessary Emmet Till photos for this situation.  Even though they did have some detriment by way of aiding Al Quada recruiting, I agree that the release of those photos were important and necessary for the greater good.

    But the release of more photos, of old practices that have already been acknowleded and stopped, don't serve any beneficial purpose.  The public already knows about the torture problem, the government has already acknowleded it, and has taken and is still taking steps to remedy it.

    If new Emmett Till photos surfaced, would you demand the release of those, too?  Even though the case is as settled as it's going to get and doing so would just be re-opening old scars?  

    I see the benefit in releasing the original photos.  I do not see any in releasing extra photos of the same activities... other than to satisfy morbid curiosity and give bloggers something to write impassioned posts about.  And, since our troops are the ones who'd be paying for that, I don't think it's worth it.

    Obama listened to the advisement of commanders in the field, whose necks are on the line... and, sorry, but I'm not selfish enough to demand to see extra pictures of something the public already is aware of if it means some kid somewhere may lose a parent or someone may lose a spouse over it.

    "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:27:26 AM PDT

    •  Sorry I don't buy it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The commanders in the field weren't worried about protecting the soldiers, they didn't want the photos released because they wanted to protect the military from embarrassment for what was allowed to happen. The people our soldiers are fighting already know that we tortured and they are already angry about it. Endangering our soldiers is a red herring that the torturers use and now sadly some Obama supporters use because they can't bring themselves to criticize Obama.

      by pmorlan on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:39:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bingo (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm deeply suspicious of pretty much all of established power in DC (and that definitely includes any occupant of the Oval Office, including Obama), but #1 on that list is the Pentagon.

        Why would anyone take their word on anything that has to do with their own power, prestige, or status?

        "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

        by Pesto on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:56:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I can criticize Obama... (0+ / 0-)

        No problem about that; his deficit-building has me pretty pissed off.   But the military's already been shamed because this stuff's already been revealled.

        Ya'll just want to see the pictures for the same reason people go to websites to look at car-crash images and serial-killer photos.  I don't buy that.

        "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

        by Front Toward Enemy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:02:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree with you (0+ / 0-)

          Speaking for myself I can assure you that I don't want the photos released just because I get some kind of ghoulish thrill by viewing the suffering of others and I doubt that very many people have this motivation. But you keep on believing that if it makes it easier for you to advocate the non-release of photos that refute the Dick Cheney lie that we don't torture. These photos are from all over Iraq and Afghanistan so Cheney can no longer claim that what was done was just a few bad apples at Abu Ghraib.

          I don't subscribe to the Peggy Noonan view about this issue but maybe you do:

          "Some things in life need to be mysterious," Noonan said on Sunday about the release of the torture memos. "Sometimes you need to just keep walking. ... It's hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking, oh, much good will come of that."

          by pmorlan on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:15:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dick Cheney's lie is already debunked. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GN1927, sherijr, Sleepwalkr, jennyL

            Obama has seen the photos.  It's confirmed that they're bad enough that he doesn't want them released.  The government is not denying that we've used torture, and Dick Cheney's horseshit has been called exactly what it is - horseshit.

            If the government tried to cover up the existence of the photos, or claim they weren't that bad, that would be another thing.  But that's not what they're doing.  They're not hiding the crime by not sharing the pictures with us.

            And that's not "some things remaining mysterious."  It's just denying Al Quada something else ugly (and already settled) to put on a poster.

            "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

            by Front Toward Enemy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:21:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  It's not only the face of Emmett Till (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, Vega, dakinishir
    But the body of Matthew Shephard.

    Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

    by Dartagnan on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:29:34 AM PDT

    •  With all due respect (7+ / 0-)

      the scale of the terror campaign against African Americans, which was waged in part to maintain an economic and social system by which African American lives would approximate slavery as closely as possible, is something which stands on its own and its not clear whether there is any match in this country's history for that level of sustained and systematic brutality.  There have been many crimes here, including Native American genocide, and brutality against GLBTs as you note.  But the terror campaign against African Americans because of the length of time that it went on and its numerous acts of depravity stands alone.

      With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. - President Obama

      by GN1927 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:27:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama Supporters (0+ / 0-)

    I think you would have far more people agreeing with this diary if they didn't let their support for Obama cloud their thinking. I think a lot of people are so dedicated to defending whatever Obama does that they oppose things that they normally wouldn't oppose. I wish those people would understand that they can support Obama yet disagree with him when he is wrong. He will not be right 100% of the time and it's up to all of us to tell him when we think he's wrong. He's getting all kinds of advice from different people that surround him so we need to make our voices heard to counter those other voices that may lead him in the wrong direction and cause him harm.

    by pmorlan on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:32:03 AM PDT

  •  I knew Emmett Till's mother. (11+ / 0-)

    A very kind, gentle, soft-spoken woman, who had the inner strength of very few people I've ever personally known.

    We met at a gathering at my house.  Her youth group, The Emmett Till Players, were performing at an event my husband had organized.  She and I had conversation about why she insisted on the open casket at Emmett's funeral.  She knew the country had to face the ugliness of racism headon, and she knew many people would be shocked.  This is what raciscm had done to my child, she told me, in her very soft voice.

    It's a shame, though I guess human nature, that the shock of such things wears off, especially when it doesn't directly affect their own lives.  When people see these things over and over, regardless of the severity of the images, the effect lessens.  It seems to take alot more to have an impact on people.

    Anyway, that's my observation.

    By the way, Mamie denied adamently that Emmett whistled at the woman.

  •  Hiding history never bodes well for the future (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pmorlan, leonard145b

    The Victorian novel is right. Possessiveness, controlling others and not listening to your own heart always goes badly. - MKKendrick

    by cskendrick on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:46:02 AM PDT

  •  America is not this picture.. because it was shown (7+ / 0-)
    to the world.

    Because this picture was shown, the men who got away with torture and murder long ago, and all those who wish for a return to such ways, must now live with their shame and hatred in secret.

    America needs to shine a torch on what the Republicans did in its name...and then put a torch to the Republican legacy of torture.

    And if that burns some Democrats who forgot themselves, forgot their oaths, forgot their constituents...well, fire is called cleansing for a reason.

    Because no one dared show torture pictures before, Emmett Till was in harms way.

    by cskendrick on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:55:09 AM PDT

  •  You should send this to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom, pmorlan, HenryBurlingame

    it's a great synopsis of why to release.  Not for what happens tomorrow but for what happens five years from now.

    We're all one heartbeat away from Forever.

    by KS Rose on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:57:33 AM PDT

  •  This stuff just makes me want to throw up... (4+ / 0-)

    .... and yet we can't hide it in a closet or shove it under a rug. If we do, it'll come back and happen again.

    As a white woman raised in New Mexico, I never saw racism to much of an extent. We had our share of Mexicans, but many were my friends. My family had been living in the southwest since the 1800s, and I don't think I knew five black kids until I move into the work force as an adult. My family didn't use racial slurs, so I never learned them. My best friend was a Jew from NM. In some ways I was very sheltered. Good or bad, I don't know.

    Sometimes now, at middle age and living in Texas, I find this kind of racism absolutely shocking. When my son said kids on his school bus were singing some kind of song about how Obama was going to get assassinated in office -- days after the election -- I was speechless. I guess all I can do is know that my son was disgusted by the song, and would throw up at these pictures, too.

    Racism breeds racism. We gotta stop the breeding of hate, and by posting pictures like this from time to time is the way to do it, it must be done.

    Republicans: Fluffy. White. Happy. -- The Daily Show

    by romwriter on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:04:25 AM PDT

  •  I remain unhappily ambivalent about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye BattleCry, publicv

    releasing the photos now.  But I am very glad for the discussion, these comments, and this diary.

    "Neither a borrower nor a lender be"

    by HenryBurlingame on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:12:43 AM PDT

  •  I'm extremely happy that you wrote this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filby, Jantman

    One of my first reactions to the torture memos was outrage that after all that people had sacrificed to move this country at least beyond the overt and systematic campaign of terror with heavy torture components which was waged against African Americans for centuries, the government under Bush could still not be trusted to refrain from this sort of depravity.

    Yours and blueness' diaries are some of the best writing I've seen on the torture pictures.

    Personally, I think the Abu Ghraib torture photo release is delayed, not denied.

    But thank you for giving wide exposure to but one instance of many of the outright torture and murder of African Americans in this country, something which went on heavily for centuries and didn't slow to a trickle (because it still has not completely stopped) until the latter part of the last century.

    With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. - President Obama

    by GN1927 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:18:38 AM PDT

  •  at best your actions are misguided (8+ / 0-)

    at worst your actions are shameful.

    This is not the civil rights movement.

    There is no real valid comparison.

    There is no real connection between torture and the civil rights movement.

    Stop waking the dead for no reason, please.

    A song about life
    Why aren't you more like Gandhi? Why aren't I?

    by drache on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:25:11 AM PDT

    •  I gotta kinda agree with you. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drache, jennyL

      Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

      by publicv on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:29:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I see a lot of value in this diary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      conlakappa, publicv, jennyL

      I'm sure there are people who don't even know who Emmett Till was, don't understand what took place very recently in this country in terms of systemic and just depraved acts of violence against African Americans, and thus don't really get what's going on in terms of the African American condition today.  I'm happy that this diary, by connecting with an issue of high discussion value today, is distributing this picture and thus exposing a tiny bit of the truth of what African Americans experienced in this country.  Too many people don't get it IMO, and can learn from this diary.  My two cents.

      With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. - President Obama

      by GN1927 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:30:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and if this diary was just a history lesson (6+ / 0-)

        I would have immediately recced and tipped it.

        Instead this is an underhanded attempt to turn a tragedy towards the benefit of the diarist.

        The minute this turned towards the torture photos it frankly made me a little sick and more then a little mad.

        There is no real comparison between the civil rights movement and the current torture issue/problem and I feel it is wrong to try and play one off the other.


        A song about life
        Why aren't you more like Gandhi? Why aren't I?

        by drache on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:43:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  tazz said much the same below (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and you're right.  But I don't think that this diary is as bad a comparison as I've seen in other contexts--it doesn't minimize the African American experience at least in my reading and is simply stating that sometimes picture evidence is required for people to have a visceral understanding of atrocities which might otherwise be downplayed.  And I did think about the African American experience in this country and the sacrifices made to move past at least the outright barbarism when I first read about the torture memos--I thought it was a slap in the face that the government still could not be trusted to refrain from participating in this type of bs.

          That said, I take yours and tazz's point; in fact, I unrec'd because of it.

          With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. - President Obama

          by GN1927 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:49:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I had the exact reaction at the exact point (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          irackobama, drache, jennyL, gobears2000

          I was actually very moved by the diary, and was thinking finally an excellent REC LISTED diary about what happened in this country, when it made its turn I was thoroughly disgusted.

          They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

          by Adept2u on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:01:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You're kidding, right? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA, jxg, fhcec, imchange

      There is no real connection between torture and the civil rights movement.

      Please tell me you are being intentionally obtuse here. A picture of a 12 year-old boy who was obviously tortured prior to being snuffed out like a candle... torture and murder that was at best ignored and at worst sanctioned by government at all levels and had been for decades... torture that continued to exist only because those who were the victims of it were denied their civil rights... does there need to be an Iraqi equivalent of the Edmund Pettis Bridge live and in color on the CBS evening news before you acknowledge that torture is an inevitable end when civil rights are denied?

      •  obtuse? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You tell me how the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s is related to government ran torture and then we will talk.

        And no 'they both were ignored' is not enough.

        You do not get to just randomly use history as you wish.

        A song about life
        Why aren't you more like Gandhi? Why aren't I?

        by drache on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:11:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bull Connor et al... (0+ / 0-)

          were acting on behalf of the state in turning loose the dogs and the firehoses on civil rights protesters. Because of the complicity of civil authority at every level, groups like the Klan and the White Citizen's Council could terrorize and abuse those they targeted... primarily black but not all... and claim the moral authority for doing so by saying they did it to keep their communities safe from some amorphous and unspecified threat embodied by the existence of the persons they hung this charge of being a danger to their community. Men were allowed to terrorize, torture and kill in the name of "protecting their community"...Men like those who brutalized and killed Emmett Till... and for the most part the men who did these things were never charged... and those who were, for the most part, were never convicted.

          The perpetrators captured in these photos are doing what these men did in the name of "protecting America". Despite the ass-covering arguments presented when the Abu Ghraib photos came out, it has become evident that this behavior was condoned and even mandated at the highest levels of government, the SECDEF and VPOTUS. The only difference is rather than Tulsa or Omaha or Rosewood, these things happened in Iraq... but the end result was the same... people... human beings... were dehumanized to such an extent in the minds of their oppressors that the idea of their deserving to be treated with basic human dignity because non-existent... and once that line is crossed, there is no telling how deep the abyss or how fast the descent into hell and  how Emmett Till was treated will be only, as the good book puts it, the beginning of sorrows.

          Light remains the best disinfectant. Just as those who were in denial about how blacks were being treated remained so until they saw Emmett Till and the Little Rock 9 and The Edmund Pettis Bridge and the Rodney King video and Abner Louisma and the aftermath of Katrina and could no longer deny the extent to which inhumanity can descend in the darkness once this came to light, it will take the revealing of the ugliness in these photos and those who are guilty brought to justice before this country will even begin to be "safe". Hiding our sin will not do the job.

          You, of course, are entitled to disagree... but this is what my 45 years as a black man in America has told me; YMMV.

          •  a better argument (0+ / 0-)

            but still it's off point and it's disgusting to use what happened to Emmet Till for political purposes.

            And Bull Conor and the KKK and all the other morons never really claimed to be defending America, they claimed they were defending white America.

            There is no real comparison between the 2 and I wish people would just stop trying to force one.

            A song about life
            Why aren't you more like Gandhi? Why aren't I?

            by drache on Tue May 19, 2009 at 07:51:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  To Bull Connor et al... (0+ / 0-)

              America and "white America" are synonymous... No one is trying to force anything... but it doesn't take a whole lot of objectivity to see that for the century that followed the Emancipation Proclamation, government at all levels allowed and encouraged the propagation of  the idea that America is a "white, Christian nation"...and one does not have to  scratch far below the surface to find those ideas and sentiments are alive and well; ask the survivors of hurricane Katrina who were prevented from crossing the Crescent City Bridge by the police of Gretna, LA and the Jefferson Parish sheriff's dept...who were acting in an official law enforcement capacity

  •  Very disappointed in this diary (11+ / 0-)

    I remember what happened to Emmett Till like it was yesterday. Sometimes when you try too hard to prove a point, you actually do the opposite. You may get the most zealous advocates of release on your side, but that doesn't make your diary righteous.

    Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others.

    by tazz on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:28:07 AM PDT

    •  I don't mind having Till on the rec list (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just my opinion, but I have no problem whatsoever with a diary distributing Till's picture and serving as a sorely-needed education about what took place in this country with African Americans.

      With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. - President Obama

      by GN1927 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:32:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you Tazz (6+ / 0-)

      I commented in a similar vein down thread.  It's hard not to be happy some education is happening as I can't believe how many people didnt know how active the Klan was in all of America, freaking Birth of a Nation won an Academy Award, but on the other hand the way this community can so cavalierly use the struggle of Black people whenever it suits them is starting to really concern me.

      They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

      by Adept2u on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:58:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was tempted to stay completely out of this (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adept2u, TenthMuse, jennyL, gobears2000

      discussion because if you disagree with using Till's photo in this context then you must be fine with prisoners being tortured... or it seems to be trending this way in the comments.

      I think it is kind of a cheap way to put the hardcore (I think we know all of the koolaid drinker references by now) Obama supporters in between a rock and a hard place.

      Maybe it is possible to know the history of America, with all of the ugly and hate included, and still think that there may be an argument for holding the pictures up for awhile. In this internet age they won't be hidden forever.

      I am with those who hate to see references to the domestic terrorism against Black people in the US and references to the attempted extermination of the Jewish people in WW2 be used to win an argument. Make your argument another way.

      Landscape, with its basis of aridity, is both our peculiar splendor and our peculiar limitation- Wallace Stegner

      by blindyone on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:29:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This story always touches my heart. Showing this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sleepwalkr, TenthMuse, SilentBrook

    picture here, and the other hanging photo that a commenter offered is also a defense for not publishing the torture photos while our troops are in harms way.  It feels to me that the torture photos are not going to make our war opponent stop and think about our aggression in a civil way.  They are not going to say let's work this out, or let's march on a 'Washington'.  They are going to be bitter.  They are going to be insulted.  They are not a country of men trying to reconcile their house.  These photos will not serve to get them thinking in that direction.

    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

    by publicv on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:28:12 AM PDT

    •  I don't think they would be insulted (0+ / 0-)

      if Bush, Cheney and other war criminals were brought to justice. I think they would feel vindicated.

      My opinion vs yours. So what?

    •  It's not about them. It's about us. (0+ / 0-)

      The American people need to see what they are doing. The American people need to feel horror.

      Because then, and only then, is there any chance of it stopping it from happening again.

      American arrogance is one of the most destructive forces in the world today. A lot more destructive than dime-store operations like Al Qaeda.It doesn't matter to me one bit whether some of our enemies get angrier. I want the myth of America exceptionalism destroyed once and for all.

      Films of children being raped in front of their mothers just might do that.

      Secrecy? Covering up torture? Military Commissions? Trillions to Wall Street? Change we can believe in, my ASS!

      by expatjourno on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:59:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Till's coffin image (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, Big Tex, mango, Adept2u

    Is one of the very few that still troubles,upsets etc. my students.

    Very powerful and should be more widely known.

    "...and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords." --Kent Brockman

    by dhshoops on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:28:16 AM PDT

  •  What will happen next... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adept2u, Jantman

    I think that we are all in agreement that torture is wrong.  It is wrong not just for moral and ethical reasons, but it is also not productive in that torture does not produce results.  In fact it only puts our troops on the ground in much more danger.  The diaries have used the murder of Emmit Till as a metaphor as to how a picture mobilizes and in some way inspires the oppressed to rise up, take action and demand change.  
    I hear the metaphor in terms of releasing the pictures. But what I am not hearing, what I have not read here is how exactly these pictures would mobilize you as Americans to mobilize and change things. What would be the concrete action that we would take as a society to affect change once these pictures were released?  
    The murder of Emmit Till was a defining moment in African American History.  It humanized racism in a horrific way. In some respects the picture snapped many people out of a haze of denial and blindness.
    This is not the case with torture.  We know how awful, unacceptable and inhumane torture is ALREADY.  We are a community that mobilized to change 8 years of destruction and immorality that Bush heaped on us.  We did this with organized thoughts, actions and civility. Do we as a community need pictures to mobilize.  I think it is really important not to box ourselves in. Because if those pictures are released and we do nothing substantial to mobilize or change things then we need to ask ourselves are we just "living room activists" or do we truly back up our intelligent thoughts and moral beliefs with actions.  Just a thought...

  •  Black Men are being tortured everyday (11+ / 0-)

    By an American justice system that targets them imprisons them and abuses them.  Right now a Black man is being abused in a contractor run prison, we have judges selling Black children to prisons, we have cities preying on Black travellers.  Right now, right now in America.

    Anytime education happens it's a good thing, and I can see how hearing Emmit Till story again is a good thing, but I think I do have to object to your context.  The industrial, governmental, societal, oppression of my people is not analagous to these detainees.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by Adept2u on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:52:17 AM PDT

    •  No one owns the title of "oppressed"... (0+ / 0-)

      and as someone who has suffered at the hands of an unJust justice system, would understand how insidious it is, no matter on what scale.

      Jews don't own genocide and African Americans don't own oppression.


      The murder of 1 million plus Iraqis isnt oppresive? I mean come on man.

      Pretty disingenuous.

      •  nice strawmen (5+ / 0-)

        That didnt address any of my points.  The murder of one million plus iraqi's wasnt discussed and neither was genocide.

        What is being discussed by me at least is the false use of that analogy.  Why don't you address my real points.  There is TORTURE GOING ON RIGHT NOW IN AMERICA IN OUR PRISONS SYSTEMS AGAINS THE SAME PEOPLE WHO GAVE US EMMIT TILL.  Where is all the fucking outrage over that.  Emmitt Till was a child killed for looking at a white woman, that kind of shit happened all the time.  These detainees were picked up because at least some dickwad thought they were fighting.

        They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

        by Adept2u on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:10:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Kulshan did the same thing to me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TenthMuse, gobears2000

          and then called me a hateful troll.   Nice!!!

          You'd be a lot cooler if you were from Minnesota!!!

          by mim5677 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:27:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I read huge pain in Kulshan's comment... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I'm guessing s/he is suffering, too, and feels unheard and impotent in the face of the pain.

            There is no doubt that we have a huge problem with violence against our fellow humans - here at home as well as in other countries where we project our violence.

            We need transformational change, IMHO - and unfortunately, such a change, built on the suffering of many, may or may not happen in our lifetimes.

            For sure, if and when it does, it will not be soon enough.

    •  this is the harsh truth (10+ / 0-)

      I agree with you and sometimes I also get upset that inequities in our own country do not spark as much outrage as torture during a time of war.  
      Another interesting point is that although the Emmit Till picture sparked a burst of interest in the civil rights movement the real mobilizing came from African Americans not from whites.  Often times in this country victims are the population group expected to affect change.  
      In Chicago over 37 high school students have been murdered.  One recent young man was beaten,  lit on fire and dumped in an alley.   This is happening in our own country.  I would love to see a thread of comments as passionate about this issue as I am seeing about torture.  I know this will cause a backlash here against me but I think we should be really honest with ourselves about why we are so angered and passionate about torture.  Is it because in the end we know that we can't do anything but write about it in a passionate way.  Why is it that when it comes to issues that we can LITERALLY do something about there is often times silence..

  •  Obama needs a refresher on the impact photos (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex, Night Train

    have had I guess.

    Let America look itself in the mirror.
    They wont like what they see.

  •  I was 10 years old when Emmitt was killed. (18+ / 0-)

    I remember a summer day before that when we played baseball in the vacant lot around the corner from my house in Chicago.  Emmitt came over to play with us and wanted to be a catcher.  The only problem was, he couldn't whistle because he had been having work done on his teeth.  So we pooled our money, all ten cents of it, and bought him a whistle.  Miss Mamie came over to remind us that "her baby" better not get hit in the mouth or we would all suffer a fate worse than death!

    That next summer Emmitt went south and was killed.  We all knew that he was going south, but we had no idea what that meant until his death.  We had no idea how our own lives would change after Emmitt was murdered.

    I remember seeing the picture in Jet and remember how frightened I was that people could do that to a kid.  A kid who was still having work done on his teeth when he went south that next year.  I remember being frightened whenever I went south to visit family and friends.  I remember the fear in my grandmother's eyes whenever I left to go south.  Being a young girl did not change the fact that death could come at the behest of someone who might be angry at me for something, anything!

    Memories....some good, some bad.  They all came rushing back when I read this diary.  I remember Miss Mamie and her shrill reminders that we needed to go home and get cleaned up for dinner.  I remember Emmitt laughing at the fact that he couldn't whistle because of his teeth.  I remember the horror that we all felt when we were told that Emmitt was missing and, we knew, dead.  I remember hating the south and the people in it who could perpetrate something so horrible as what was done to Emmitt.  But then I remembered my grandmother telling me about her brother, who was lynched in Kentucky so , many years ago.  I remember the sadness in her eyes and the choke in her voice when she told me about him.  I remember thinking that if only the people who did that knew the pain they had caused.

    Thank you for this diary.  Now I have to go wipe my old eyes and come back to the present.  The present, where now the lynching is done with words, laws, rules, regulations....will we ever learn?

    "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few....or the one." Mr. Spock, The Wrath of Khan

    by RO45 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:09:10 AM PDT

  •  What amount of reparations . . . (0+ / 0-)

    makes up for that kind of terror and torture?

    •  The amount that enables all children in America (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, filby

      to get proper educations to be able to live comfortably. Don't give people the fish, teach them how to fish, that will be far more valuable.

      A word to the wise ain't necessary, it is the stupid ones who need all the advice.
      My Friend's Facebook Status

      by Muzikal203 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:03:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had never seen this photograph and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tuffie, signals, jennyL

    was unfamiliar with Emmett Till's story. I am deeply moved and disturbed by it. What was done to him... is simply beyond comprehension. I am happy to have learned about him. This is a legacy we cannot forget.

    Still, I have to say that I find it in extremely poor taste for you to use his suffering, and the deeply disturbing image of his disfigured body as it was laid to rest, to advocate for the publicizing of the torture photos. It is blatantly exploitative and, IMO, pretty disrespectful.

    Incidentally, I would argue that you are just as easily making the case for the non-release of the torture pictures, since your diary is so effective in eliciting the same kind of visceral, galvanizing reaction that we fear those in the other end of the abuse scandal would have.

  •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, 2manychefs

    for ridding the rec list of that torture apologist filth of a diary "I agree, lets hide the photos".  FEH!

  •  Thank you for this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, 2manychefs

    diary, one of the most powerful I have ever read on DK in my 5 years as a reader.

  •  self-righteousness here is off the scale (7+ / 0-)

    The Emmitt Till case/photo has no relation at all to Obama and the torture photos.  But dammit, if we can bash Obama and one-up each other on proclaiming how much we are against lynching and torture -- as are 99.9 percent of the six billion people on the planet -- we will!  "We are good! (echo echo echo ...)"  Should the photo release anger millions of Muslims, too bad for them and any troops that get in the way.  After all, THEY HATE US ALREADY.  The ultimate wingnut framing, echoed by Kossacks.  "Doesn't matter what we do, good or bad, THEY HATE US ALREADY." Does anyone seriously believe that after all the revelations we've already seen, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and the rest, that more torture pictures will cause a groundswell of national demand that Obama prosecute the Bushites?  And that he would care?  This whole thing strikes me as a moralistic circle-jerk.  

    Andrew Mellon & GOP: 'In a Depression, assets return to their rightful owners'

    by Tuffie on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:28:59 AM PDT

    •  We are a Nation of Laws... (0+ / 0-)

      even when it is "inconvenient" to be such.

      It's not about voyeurism.  It's about facing the ugliness of actions that were conducted in our name and allowing it to make us better.  Hiroshima pictures were made public decades later along with a decades late apology from our country.  It's not that these photos won't eventually come out, we just want to wait until it's more convenient for us.  

      As an American, I'm long weary of hateful things being done in the name of "making me safer" when we are scared to face what we've done to "make me safe" because they may "make me unsafe."  And we continue to defend this failed logic by sweeping the evidence of the failed logic under the carpet?  That's the circle-jerk, IMHO.

      If Obama is the Change We Can Believe In, then he should consider working harder to find ways of remaining Change, even when it's inconvenient. Remember, just because it's hard, doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for it - or something like that.

      "To kill one person is murder. To kill thousands is foreign policy." Chinese writer Moh-Tze

      by ILean Left on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:32:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a thoughtful and relevant diary. I was just talking with a friend about the release of the torture photos and we both had some ambivalent thoughts and feelings (mostly of the best politics nature). Your powerful diary cleared the strategic thoughts, release of the photos is necessary now.  thank you again!

  •  powerful.. thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, signals

    I don't normally comment, but what a great diary.  Thanks.

  •  Thank you for this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, 4Freedom

    I can't think of a more apropos justification for the debate at hand, although there are certainly millions of examples. Sometimes, just one picture is all we need, and there is nothing left to explain.

  •  This shows that torture is not new in America (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blindyone, jennyL, regmoe

    Everyone is so caught up in the unreleased photos, a larger point has been missed in this diary. That point is that Americans have been tortured for quite some time now.

    Yes the release of Till's photo is powerful, but lost is the larger point of what was done to him and other men,women, and children.

    If we are serious about ending torture and holding people accountable, then it cannot just be the CIA, and BushCo. It must include a serious look inside our criminal justice system.

    There are Americans who still suffer torture at the hands of law enforcement officials.But unlike the CIA which is distant, looking at law enforcement is local.

    I wonder do we have the moral courage to acknowledge the abuse of criminal suspects and the same passion to defend their rights as we do those who were tortured because of alleged terrorist ties?

    Until we are willing to fight for the same principles in our own cities and states, there is a serious gap in our moral credibility.

    "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." ...Bertrand Russell

    by sebastianguy99 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:15:37 AM PDT

  •  Is this diary meant to inflame me?....... (8+ / 0-)

    Well, you've done that, but for all the wrong reasons.

    How dare you equate my suffering in this country and that of Emmit Till and try to turn in on it's head. Why don't you throw in the Holocust so you can cover all your bases, oh yeah, that was done yesterday.  HOW DARE YOU.  Have you no sense of decency.  

    Today, as we consider the decision of that same President to block the release of hundreds of photographs showing the torture and abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq, I hope that those of us who are defending his decision will consider the example of Emmett Till, and of how seeing with open eyes the horrors that he endured brought about change in the hearts and minds of so many.

    As the famous French Interior minister Talleyrand (sp) once said:  Power (percieved or real) in the hand (or access to a keyboard) of people with a lot of zeal and no experience is a deadly experiment.

    Some of you here have really crossed the line.  Each day I come here you remind me more and more of the Christian Right.  All you have to do with diaries like this is change a few words and pictures  for example:  This diary:  Add the picture of an unborn baby, and change  the word detainee to abortion and you got yourself one carzy zealot.  No matter which side it's on - it's still unattractive.  

    I am dissapointed that so many here actually entertained this. Now we really see the face of the ugly left.  I guess Limbaugh and O'Riley were right about Daily Kos.

    •  I'll rec ya but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TenthMuse, gobears2000

      but nothing I guess, there are some truly ugly people here just as there are on the right.  

      The one positive thing I could say is that there are people that try to balance it out.  

      The Dailykos is the Dailykos it ain't perfect.

      I am convinced that this site abuses the banner of racism for the sake of its many causes, but I don't think there is enough people African-American or otherwise to stand up against it to make a difference.

      You'd be a lot cooler if you were from Minnesota!!!

      by mim5677 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:08:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am just shocked and horrified, how could some (4+ / 0-)

        be so cold as to use this as a case for making the pictures public.

        What a fool I've been thinking people here really understood what racisim is and to have them insult me and mine in such a horrible and personal way is just beyond the pale. I can't take this place anymore.   How does one remove themselves (all traces) from this site.  I can get this shit from Gretawire over at fox.  I expected this from the right, but never in my wildest dream from so-called progressives - they are just as cold as the right.  

        •  jennyL, if you are still around ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          denise b

          I am trying to understand your outrage.  Is it that you feel the diary equated torture (a focal evil) with racism (a widespread evil).  Is it that you feel that the picture of Emmett Till in his coffin dehumanized him and his suffering, and by extension the humanity and suffering of Black Americans?

          I find the picture very disturbing ... but also understand what the diarist was trying to convey -- that pictures do in fact bring home the horror and make it more real and palpable.

          I do feel badly for your feelings about it ... but also struggle to understand exactly what it is you are trying to tell us.

          I hope that before you leave this site you attempt to give us a better understanding.

          •  I agree, Pincone. I'm unclear as to the offense. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            As an AA female, I'm not offended in the least.  I think the diarist successfully illustrated how we as a nation are made better when we confront our own shortcomings. The diarist eloquently draws a connection between how we as a country better understood the suffering of blacks by having the sterile term "racism" humanized by exposing its painful and ugly consequences in a photo; and, how we as a nation can in this day benefit by once again facing the ugliness of our actions as a Nation by facing the horrors of torture as captured in the torture photos and videos (if they exist).

            "Harsh Interrogation Techniques" can take on a new meaning when they are accompanied by photos or film of children being raped in front of their mothers, men/women/children being demoralized and humiliated and others being murdered.  It is painful and offensive - as it should be to any and all that see it. I would worry about anyone who is not offended by such visuals as the one above or the photos of detainee abuse.

            But the offense is not a reason to avoid confronting the wrong.  The photos only capture moments in time wherin a wrong was captured. Why be upset about the photos - because the force you to see?  Aren't we really angry about being made to face the wrong in the first place?  Pictures make in real.  They make us uncomfortable.

            Is it any different than the anti-abortionist?  Maybe.  The anti-abortionists show shocking photos of mutilated fetus to attack abortion, yet they abdicate their responsibility in many cases to deal with many of the social conditions that lead to abortion.  The diarist seems to be challenging us to NOT abdicate our responsibility to address the underlying conditions that lead to these horrors.  

            Are the photos offensive?  Yes, but they tell of a reality.  The real question is, what do one do about it?

            "To kill one person is murder. To kill thousands is foreign policy." Chinese writer Moh-Tze

            by ILean Left on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:20:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well said. Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ILean Left

              While I grew up in the sixties, I am an old white guy, so sometimes miss certain sensitivities and perspectives, but I just couldn't understand jennyL's distress.  Thanks for sharing your perspective and confirming for me what I felt - which is that words like "Harsh Interrogation Techniques" take on a more sinister and real existence when we are confronted with photographic evidence of what that really means, just like "lynching" is a word but Emmett's picture was the reality.

    •  The diary is not about racism (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      prfb, denise b, RevolutionRock

      The diary is about the power of graphic pictures of violence to change people's minds. It's about telling the truth, and seeing the truth.

      Emmett Till was multilated and murdered because of racism. The pictures forced people to confront that. They couldn't ignore it any longer. They had to deal with it. So we took on racism and largely, and still imperfectly, we beat it. As a result, we are now a less racist culture than we were before.

      Prisoners in our custody were tortured and killed because of ... what do you want to call it? Not racism? Ok. Krugman calls it evil. Prisoners in our custody were tortured and killed because evil still exists in our society. They are no less multilated and no less dead than Emmett Till, they just got that way for a different reason.

      Releasing the pictures will force us to confront that. We won't be able to ignore it any longer. We'll have to deal with it. We have to take on this evil and beat it. As a result, we will be a less evil culture.

      •  Like Positronicus above me said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This is about an historic example of the power of photographs.  The Emmett Till pictures were one of the most important factors that caused the civil rights movement to enter full flower.

        You mention the Holocaust.  Most Americans didn't think of the Holocaust until the pictures of the camps came home.  There was an issue of I believe Time Magazine that had a number of pictures that brought the truth of the Holocaust home.

        A picture is worth a thousand words, and somewhere in those thousand words we might find the truth.

        "While there is a lower class I am in it; while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free" -Eugene V Debs

        by RevolutionRock on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:33:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  thank you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    extremely moving.  Thank you for writing this.  

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by Texanomaly on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:52:38 AM PDT

  •  why must the sins of the fathers, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    continue to be repeated by the sons. Hate is an ugly word and even an uglier act.
    Thankyou Big Tex for this very informative diary.

    *a hundred years from now, the future may be different because I was important in the life of a child*

    by bonesy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:32:45 PM PDT

  •  This is an excellent example of why we must (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    prosecute but I am becoming increasingly hopeless that it will ever happen in our country.  Perhaps another jurisdiction in the world will take on the required task of bring Cheney, Bush, Rice and those who helped them break the law to justice.

    •  Soon this will be spun as a partisan witchhunt (0+ / 0-)

      The media bobbleheads will do their usual "objective reporting" suck-up and Rush will probably shout off something like "Smear! Liars! Traitors to America!"

      Which is why there is all this fuss about Pelosi. There's probably "no there there" but they'll scream about how the Democrats are complete partisans and can't be trusted because they aren't prosecuting Pelosi's crime/s they want her to be charged with, even if none exist. Any time now they'll be quoting specific laws and statutes and precidents that they'll say the Democrats are ignoring.

      Oh, and they'll probably do the same to Bob Graham.

      The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes. -5.75, -7.18

      by Rogneid on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:55:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was listening to no rhyme, no reason (0+ / 0-)

    by George Duke as i read this. That picture of Emmet still brings me to the verge of tears. Some of those tears might galvanize me to do everything I can to make sure that nothing like this can ever happen again but some of those tears are tear of rage & anger. No rhyme , no reason to all the terrible things we are capable of. I have learned to quiet the passion of those tears of rage & vengeance but but I do not believe that others, upon seeing horrific images of abuse of their loved ones & brethren can exercise my my restraint. Do not release the pictures. They will inflame more than they will inspire. No rhyme, no reason.

  •  Thank you Big Tex (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I had a very heated debate about this topic just today. You are reading my mind as the Emmett Till photos came up in the discussion.

    Dum Spiro Spero - While I Breathe, I Hope

    by Dancing Angel on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:20:22 PM PDT

  •  Sorry Big Tex (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TenthMuse, gobears2000

    This diary is so very very painful for me.  And I don't agree with your conclusions about the release of the photos at all.

  •  Good diary Big Tex (0+ / 0-)

    Damn good diary.
    Thank you for caring about about other people.
    Not everyone does.

    by myra on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:55:30 PM PDT

  •  Because meaningful change is impossible... (0+ / 0-)

    ...unless we brutalize each other with the worst images of crime and abuse.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:11:33 PM PDT

  •  I say 'No'. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I say 'No' to the releasing photos of raped Iraqis.  
    It would serve only to further humiliate and degrade the victims.  Especially if they are children.  We don't release photos of U.S. citizens who are raped.  To do so to Iraqis would be devastating.  Does anyone have any idea of their culture?  Of the culture of Afghanistan?  The victims will be seen as having brought shame to their families.  Please, no.  No rape/torture photos.  

  •  really like the fact (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that you listened and added the second picture to the diary proper.....shows great spirit and community........and look forward to your collective respone in a second diary.....a great monitoring toally deserve the rec

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