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Like many here, I've been reading the back and forth banter between those who support Obama's decision to backtrack on the release of abuse photos and those who feel he is making a mistake.

Personally I feel horrified by this decision. And it is that personal aspect that I think needs to be explored. The abuse that occurred did not happen in a vacuum. It was done in our names, on a personal level, in my name. And in the name of every American.

Obama's logic presents a paradox. On the one hand he says the photos are not that inflamatory, not that bad. But that begs the question, if that is the case, then what could be the harm in releasing them?

If these photos are really so benign then they should pose no threat to our troops either at home or abroad. So there is no legitimate reason to keep them hidden from the public.

I suspect that, and I know this hurts for all of us, Obama is lying about that. I know that's inflamatory and will surely raise the ire of many here, but I don't beleive in euphemisms in a case like this.

Having said that, I would also point out that there is a larger moral imperitive here that really must be acknowledged. Anyone who has watched this debate unfold can not have failed to notice how, thanks to Dick Cheney and his family along with a media as easily distracted by this as would be a magpie confronted with a shiny object, the debate has shifted from one in which the focus was on whether torture abuse was used and who ordered it, to a debate regarding it's efficacy.

It seems that the inherent immorality of the subject has been completely bypassed. In some sense, a masterful job of media manipulation by Cheney. And that is the greatest tragedy of all. Because it is the question of morality that should be the overriding focus of this issue.

Watching media hacks like Chris Matthews I am dumbfounded. His focus and even the focus of many who argue the progressive side of this issue fail to understand this. They focus on whether torture was technically legal. That is irrelevant, the question transcends legality. There is a higher moral imperitive here.

Legality is something determined by the courts, by documents and papers, by arguments and speeches and decisions. Under the Nazi regime, under the Khemer Rouge, and under many middle eastern monarchies, torture is or was legal. What makes torture so abhorrent, what makes it internationally unacceptable is not whether it's legal, it is the universal recognition of the fact that it is morally reprehensible. Laws and treaties are simply the vehicle by which we punish and hopefully prevent it's use.

Torture violates the fundamental precepts of human rights, that all humans have a right to exist with dignity and regardless of how heinous their actions may have been, we recognize their fundamental humanity and at a minimum, we continue to acknowledge that.

We do that because the moment we accept the dehumanization of anyone, for any reason, we open a veritable pandora's box. The greater demons of our nature are let loose to prey upon all humanity. We acknowledge the notion that it is possible for a person to lose their humanity, to lose their right to even the most basic of human rights, and from there it is a very short leap from a person to a people.

Torture is such a vehicle for dehumanization, we therefore can never back off even by even the tiniest measure from our fundamental core precepts that all humans are entitled to basic human rights.

As a nation, if we are to move forward, if we are to retain our national dignity, our credibility that we as a nation are a force for good, then we must endure the national atonement and following catharsis that can only come from publicly acknowledging the full measure of depravity to which we as a nation have fallen, before we can ever fully recover. As the allied troops finished off the Nazi forces in Germany, upon discovering the horrors of the death camps, commanders rounded up townspeople and forced them to face what had been done in their name. Townspeople watched as bulldozers shoveled human beings; men, women, children into trenches for burial. The watched as gas chambers and ovens were opened still containing the remains of freshly murdered victims by the hundreds, if not thousands.

They were not able to escape the reality that their complacency and their denial had facilitated. But much more than this, it shocked the psyche of the German citizenry. Faced with the inescapable horrors they had at best unwittingly permitted, and at worse, tacitly consented to through inaction and unwillingness to challenge authority, they began to search their own souls. It was undoubtedly a period of great pain and shame for an entire nation.

As a result of this, Germany has become one of the world's most stalwart defenders of human rights. The phrase Nie Wieder (Never Again) was coined during this period. It acknowledged Germany's acceptance of it's past evils and an iron clad commitment to never allow them again. In Germany, it is a serious federal crime to deny the holocost. They take this very seriously.

This kind of national reconciliation and catharsis is necessary for a people to both heal and return to the world stage as an accepted and respected member of the world community. Only when we are forced to face the very worst of our national shame, can we as a nation begin the healing. Without it, we would be consigned to worldwide pariah status, universally distrusted and disdained. Our government will be viewed with suspicion, our people with disgust. It will impact our foreign relations, trade, and our interests both at home and abroad.

As long as we are allowed to defend the indefensible, as long as there are torture apologists and denialists credibly presented as purveyors of reasoned opinion, we will fail to emerge from the depths of our national shame.

We must face what was done in our names, we must acknowledge the crimes that were perpetrated as government policy, and we must prosecute those who ordered, facilitated, and executed these heinous acts. We must accept the risks that these may actions entail, we must accept the added burdon of insuring the safety of our troops that this may add. This is the price we must pay for the cleansing of our collective national soul.

That national healing can not begin until all of the horrors of abuse, torture, and war crimes are laid bare for all to see.

Originally posted to Phil In Denver on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:55 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We must face our darkest deeds (4+ / 0-)

    in order to attone for them.

    •  If you have a family member fighting in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue armadillo, jsfox, fhamme

      one of these wars, your perspective will be different. The president made the right decision and I am sure if you did a scientific poll, over 70% of the american people will agree with him

      •  The way to deal with that (4+ / 0-)

        is to take the precautions necessary to insure their safety, not to hide the truth from the American people and the world.

        •  What truth are we hiding... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue armadillo

          from the American people...the torture is acknowledged...other picture samples were released...the pictures are being preserved for investigatory/prosecutions potential...

          The world has no right to see the photos...and Americans already know what has been done...

          Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

          by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:04:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We do? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nokkonwud, Fairy Tale

            So we know the War Crimes that have been committed and yet we still won't do anything to bring anyone to justice?

            Wow, maybe we are that corrupt, complicit, lacking in integrity and in disagreement with the rule of law and our own Constitution.

            Wow, we really suck.

            •  And releasing photos... (0+ / 0-)

              will change that how exactly....?

              All of a sudden AG Holder will appoint a SP and GWB/DC will be arrested because of a few photos that AG Holder probably has already seen...common'

              Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

              by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:32:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This country was meant to be "for the people... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nokkonwud, Fairy Tale

                of the people, and by the people".

                You assert that decisions should only be made by the elected class and you are wrong.

                •  It is a representative democracy... (0+ / 0-)

                  we do not have 300 million POTUS...we have 1 that is elected to make decisions like this for us balancing the safety of Americans with the need for information...

                  You are incorrect that these decisions were meant to be made by popular opinion polls...

                  Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                  by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:39:54 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  It might actually get the attention of (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                downandout, nokkonwud

                WE THE PEOPLE.

                And we might object if, say, it shows children being raped in front of their mothers. We don't know what those photos depict.

                But, people can't react to them or make judgments without seeing them.

                WE PAID FOR THOSE PHOTOS. And we paid for torture. And nobody asked us if it was okay.

                And the people who instituted torture are not even being prosecuted. This is wrong and the WHOLE TRUTH should be brought out NOW.

                When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:57:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  How is that...? (0+ / 0-)

                  Again...these are not the only photos we have of torture that was performed...we know what the general impression of the photos are and we know what occured and that many people consider what happened to be illegal...again...how does putting those photos on CNN change any of that...and how does it make the truth any different...

                  GWB administration tortured...period...no amount of photos disclosed or not will change that...

                  The truth is out there already...photos are not necessary if it will potentially inflame our enemies...

                  Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                  by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:18:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  .. (0+ / 0-)

                    The truth is out there already...photos are not necessary if it will potentially inflame our enemies...

                    It is not our enemies we need to inflame, but our populace inside the United States in order to prosecute those involved.

                    As has been said elsewhere, and as I wrote my Senators, we have been detaining children, some as young as 5 or 6. I pray that is all we have been doing, but my gut tells me the reports coming out of the rape and torture of children are true and THAT is perhaps what they are hiding and THAT is not "out there."

                    In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria. Ben Franklin

                    by nokkonwud on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:31:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If true... (0+ / 0-)

                      then the photos can still be used for prosecutions...they do not need to be pasted on CNN in order to do that...

                      Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                      by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:34:36 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes, except the Obama administration (0+ / 0-)

                        opposes prosecution of those responsible for torture.

                        When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                        by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:09:59 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That is up to the AG...n/t (0+ / 0-)

                          Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                          by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:52:55 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes. That's unacceptable if we care about justice (0+ / 0-)

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:00:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Which has nothing to do with releasing... (0+ / 0-)

                            the photos...

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:12:11 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  When the AG does his job and starts prosecuting (0+ / 0-)

                            the torture criminals, then I'll stop talking about making the photos public.

                            In the meantime, when we have an administration that's soft on torture, we need every bit of anti-torture noise we can get.

                            Nothing says "anti-torture" like showing what it looks like. Just as any pictures or films of actual war are inherently anti-war.

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:48:32 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You think AG Holder... (0+ / 0-)

                            has not seen these photos yet?  So how do you think releasing will change his mind on prosecutions...?

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:53:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think he's doing what Obama wants... (0+ / 0-)

                            and not prosecuting.

                            In the event that the American people actually develop some moral scruples and DEMAND justice after they see these photos (IF they see them), the AG might be "persuaded" to enforce the law.

                            Of course, I have my doubts about the morals scruples of the American people...they've accepted a whole bunch of evil sh!t...but I can still hope.

                            You don't need to agree with me. But I hope you can understand my point.

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:05:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand your POV... (0+ / 0-)

                            but I do not think releasing the photos for the world to see will change any inclination or lack thereof to prosecute torture enablers...

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:06:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And I think you may be right.. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dvogel001

                            and it makes me sad.

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:08:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I mean if they are refusing to prosecute... (0+ / 0-)

                            with what is already in the public domain...I don't know why you think that additional torture photos would change their minds...or for that matter the minds of 95% of the people who have made up their opinions one way or another...

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:08:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't THINK it will...but it MIGHT. (0+ / 0-)

                            If the American people accept torture...then maybe we and the troops deserve all the evil that others can perpetrate upon us. Maybe our enemies are RIGHT about us.

                            One could make that case.

                            Maybe we have no ideals, and stand only for raw power. That MAY be the only conclusion to draw. That we condone torture and are morally bankrupt.

                            I hope the answer is: we care about justice, civil liberties and human dignity. Show the pictures and let the people speak.

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:36:41 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand your POV... (0+ / 0-)

                            but disagree with your conclusion...it is not worth it and won't change anything...except raise our threat level around the world...peace...

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:49:29 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My position may not be practical. (0+ / 0-)

                            I know that. And it may raise the threat level around the world.

                            There's no 100% trouble free approach to this situation.

                            I think failure to prosecute those responsible for our torture policy is itself a huge motivator for those who would attack us...and WILL attack us in the future.

                            I think we need to maximize the moral distance between ourselves and the terrorists...but opposing torture and prosecuting it.

                            And, I think the way to make our troops safe is by bringing them home. These pictures...whatever they show...are much less significant than leaving our troops in a war zone as occupiers of foreign countries.

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:56:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Doing a unilateral withdrawl... (0+ / 0-)

                            of troops from around the world in a careless way will make our country less safe..."we must be as careful drawing down our troops as we were careless in deploying our troops under GWB"...Barack Obama

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Fri May 15, 2009 at 03:12:59 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  What truth is out there? (0+ / 0-)

                    "...would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals...":

                    1. Who says the release wouldn't "benefit...our understanding"? We're supposed to take him at his word on this assessment, when there's photographic evidence that would allow us to judge that factor?
                    1. Is it really "...in the past"? How do we know? Because he says so? Why don't we get to see if these are events of "the past"?
                    1. "...by a small number of individuals...": How small? Who are they? Based on the evidence, and if the evidence warrants it, will they be brought to justice?

                    Obama is not king. He is not emperor. He is not dictator. He does not have the right to make judgments without accountability to the citizen of the United States--and in relation to the possible heinous quality of the actions he so circumspectly alludes to in relation to the photographs, he's also accountable to the citizens of the world.

                    I do not take him at his word. The evidence is there, but we're supposed to let him make the call on whether we see it or not? Sorry--I lost my craving for fuhrer worship by the age of 8 or so. As so perfected stated above, "We paid for those photos." And if we're talking about crimes against humanity, the world's paid for it, too.

                    This administration has made no indication that it will hold accountable past actions of criminality regarding this matter--hell, one of the alleged torture architects has been promoted in Afghanistan. It has lost all credibility in this matter. It deserves no pass on its own accountability.

                    I want those photos: I want to know who the actors were, I want to know what happened, I want to know when it happened, I want to know who gave the orders, I want to know who created the policy, I want to know who the lawyers were who signed off on it; I want to know when Obama knew, I want to know if he was advised about the legality about what he now knows, and I want to know why he's committed to a particular policy and action path in relation to his knowledge of this matter.

                    I've paid for it. So has the rest of the world. That's what the Nuremberg Principles taught us--or at least should have taught us. Apparently slapping the moniker "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" on it makes some of us forget about Nuremberg.

                    •  Yes. Coming clean & prosecuting those responsible (0+ / 0-)

                      is what will cleanse the reputation of our country. Nothing else would...or should...do so.

                      I like Obama, but where he's wrong I oppose his actions. I'd have opposed FDR on internment of Japanese-Americans, too.

                      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                      by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:12:34 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  Or if you have a family member in those (0+ / 0-)

          photos...I don't mean the Americans...O mean if it was your son being tortured. Yes you'd want people held accountable but putting myself in their shoes the pictures released for everyone to gawk at would be horrifying. They have a strong sense of pride and honor....

          God knows if it was me in pictures being humiliated and tortured I don't want those pictures made public. I'm not too impressed then by your right to see what was done in your name

          I disagreed for that reason when it was announced they should be released. Now I think the investigation they were used in was crap...they should be used in real investigations

          I want real investigations on all of it...not by the military or CIA protecting their butts, not by the house or senate scoring partisan points, not by some pseudo-truth commission. By special prosecuters...

          But I do not want those pictures released

      •  Why don't we quit citing polls. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fairy Tale

        Less campaigning and more governing, you know!

  •  think about this: (0+ / 0-)

    if we had lost the war the other side would release the photos.  We released photos of the concentration camps after we defeated the Nazis.

  •  The pictures are not necessary... (0+ / 0-)

    even if there is a chance of causing more violence against Americans...we all know what happened and they could be made available to a investigatory panel or a judge in the case of prosecutions/investigations without making them public...

    They have been acknowledged to exist and are being preserved...that is all that matters...

    Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

    by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:02:27 AM PDT

    •  The pictures are necessary (3+ / 0-)

      because failure to release them acknowledges that we are hiding something. Also I challenge the notion that

      we all know what happened

      Were that really true, people like Frank Gaffney would have no forum and no credibility. Clearly, we don't all know. Many of us believe we know, but many still deny what happened.

      This wound can not be healed by covering it up.

      •  Didn't you see the pictures... (0+ / 0-)

        that have already been released...what else do you need for proof that we have acknowledged it?

        Failure to release photos that have no additional value and may put American lives at risk is a stupid idea...

        Nobody is hiding anything...the pictures are being preserved and are admitted to existing...

        Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

        by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:17:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Who exactly is we? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WattleBreakfast, memorybabe

          Of course I've seen them, but there are still many Americans who do not acknowledge them. Additionally, the notion that these phtos have no value is absurd in the extreme.

          The ACLU is fighting tooth and nail for their release, high ranking officials who have seen them have already acknowledge their value as has every singly court to which they have been presented without a single exception.

          •  And some of us... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue armadillo

            think the safety of American lives is more important than seeing these additional photos on CNN...

            It will not change any wingnut pro-torture minds...they all believe the end-justifies-the-means anyway...

            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:23:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What do those photos depict? (0+ / 0-)

          Do you know? Have you seen them?

          Do they depict things worse than what has already been disclosed? If so, this is a coverup.

          Do they depict things which we already know about? Then, why would their disclosure cause any problem?

          WE THE PEOPLE paid for those photos. Torture was done in OUR names, with OUR money, and WITHOUT our consent.

          WE OWN THOSE PHOTOS and should be allowed to see them. Period.

          Also, I might note, voters supported Obama with the notion that he would bring our troops home. He hasn't done that, nor do we know when or if he will do so.

          I believe Obama is a good man. But when he does the wrong things, I will oppose him on those things full force.

          When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

          by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:55:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  not really (0+ / 0-)

      There is a darker side to this than the photos. What we are seeing is a president MORPHING into some different than we elected. That alone is distrubing, mostly because we have seen this happen before to our shame and dismay.

      •  It is funny how that works... (0+ / 0-)

        when you actually have to govern and do your primary job of keeping Americans safe...

        Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

        by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:33:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And this keeps us safe how? (0+ / 0-)

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          There are some things, that just can't be covered up forever. But the manner in which they come out, will determine our fate as a nation. Better we acknowledge the truth publicly and willingly, than have it forced on us to our even greater shame. There can never be an excuse for a cover up.

          •  I am still having trouble as to where the... (0+ / 0-)

            cover-up is?  The photos are not being destroyed, they are admitted to, available for a judge or a prosecutor to look at...there is no cover up just because they are not plastered on MSNBC....

            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:41:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The coverup is SUPPRESSION of the photos. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phil In Denver

              They are being hidden from us. WE THE PEOPLE paid for those photos. And, this torture was done in OUR names with OUR money...and WITHOUT our consent.

              That's the coverup.

              When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

              by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:51:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And if those photos put Americans... (0+ / 0-)

                in harms way...that should be ignored so it can be plastered on CNN

                The torture is not covered up...photos are just ancillary...you are conflating photos with torture...

                Again, releasing the photos does what in terms of prosecuting torture...nothing...

                Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:59:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Failing to come to terms (0+ / 0-)

                  with the full measure of what has been done in our names as a nation puts far more lives at risk in the long term than would the release of these photos. We can't keep hiding behind the safety of our troops to excuse the reprehensible deeds of our nation.

                  Our troops knew what they were getting in to by volunteering to serve, we as a nation did not know what we were getting into by electing Bush and his cronies.

                  •  Who is failing to come to terms... (0+ / 0-)

                    with anything and putting additional photos on cable TV will not change anything...between the "end-justifies-the-means" crowd and the torture is illegal crowd...

                    All it will do is inflame our enemies and get them more interested in attacking Americans and not just troops...

                    You believe that by having these additional photos (remember significant terrible torture photos have already been released) will magically change and cause prosecution of people responsible for torture and I would respectfully disagree...they have no intrinsic value beyond the fact that we know they exist and can be used in future prosecutions/investigations.

                    Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                    by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:13:12 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We don't know what those photos depict. (0+ / 0-)

                      If they show something really disgusting, maybe...just maybe...the American people will DEMAND prosecutions and we can restore justice to our country.

                      But, by withholding them from WE THE PEOPLE, we cannot know what the reaction would be.

                      Torture was done in our name, by our gov't, without our consent. The perpetrators have gone unpunished and, as of know, may go unprosecuted for their crimes.

                      These photos may be our last chance, as a nation, to restore our dignity and re-instate justice.

                      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                      by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:19:58 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Our enemies ARE already inflamed. (0+ / 0-)

                      We've laid waste their country and continue to occupy it. In THAT context, what possible harm could these pictures do?

                      The populations of those countries have been living in a river of American-spilled blood for years...

                      Have you forgotten? Because, THEY haven't.

                      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                      by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:21:38 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And that is what Obama... (0+ / 0-)

                        is trying to repair...in the world opinion of the US which he has already made great strides on our acceptance in the world...and we are in accordance with the general timetable set withdrawing from Iraq...so where is the problem?

                        And just because they are inflamed does not mean we need to inflame them even more...

                        Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                        by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:25:58 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well, I like Obama and hope he does (0+ / 0-)

                          a good job on this.

                          But, so far he's decide to protect the torturers of the previous administration and withhold from WE THE PEOPLE some (but, thankfully, no all) of the information and evidence of wrongdoing.

                          Of course, if he prosecutes the criminals, renounces torture and restores justice, nobody will be happier than me.

                          But, I can't take that on trust. I can only judge actions. And, so far, I'm not liking what I see from Obama regarding torture.

                          But I have hope...

                          When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                          by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:29:04 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Releasing the photos... (0+ / 0-)

                            will not move the AG any closer to prosecuting torture enablers...

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:31:39 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, then shame on US if, after (0+ / 0-)

                            seeing the disgusting evidence, the American people don't DEMAND justice.

                            But I'd like to judge the American people AFTER they've seen this evidence. Not before.

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:34:56 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  They can't be any worse than... (0+ / 0-)

                            Abu Grabe (sp?)

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:37:44 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, then we've all failed. And America (0+ / 0-)

                            stands for nothing and has no ideals.

                            We'll commit any evil based on our own cowardice and fear.

                            Might as well put Cheney in the White House. At least he'll commit evil without equivocation and won't pretend he gives a sh!t about justice.

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:40:07 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Our actions and preventing... (0+ / 0-)

                            torture in the future is what is important...not just getting a bunch or sensational pictures on CNN for the world to see more of the same bad stuff that happened under GWB...

                            America is great and stands for a lot of greatness despite our flaws...

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:44:17 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Agreed. If we can get justice without those (0+ / 0-)

                            photos, I'd be plenty happy.

                            But so far, Obama has been (in effect) protecting the torturers by opposing prosecution.

                            It's possible, however slightly, that these photos...if published...might actually move the American people to DEMAND prosecutions of those responsible for torture.

                            It might now. And, if so, well the shame would belong to the American people, too.

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:47:02 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand your POV...n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:50:08 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  That is true only if (0+ / 0-)

                      you believe what Obama has said about these photos. I don't, I believe the many other high ranking officials who have seen these. If indeed you are correct, then there is little harm that can come about by the release of these photos.

                      By your logic, we have already seen this before as has the rest of the world, so what difference would it make?

                      On the other hand, by hiding them, when they finally do come out, as they surely will eventually, the retribution will be much worse for the worst fears as to our national character will have been confirmed by our having covered up our crimes.

                      You can't have it both ways, either the photos are of little consequence and thus there is no reason to hide them, or they are of great consequence and thus covering them up can not be justified.

                      •  Little additional consequence... (0+ / 0-)

                        to American public sentiment...to our enemies...entirely different story...and it is not having it both ways...2 different audiances...2 differerent perspectives...2 different reactions...

                        Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                        by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:29:25 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, when we hide those photos (0+ / 0-)

                  the bad guys in Iraq will love us.

                  WTF?!

                  Our soldiers are in harms way because our gov't put them there, and because our gov't is (so far) keeping them there.

                  Iraq is dangerous for Americans with or without those photos. They know the carnage our war has brought to their country. They know that we are occupying their country.

                  If you want our soldiers safe, bring them home.

                  There is NO EXCUSE for covering up what we've done. We're not fooling the Iraqis. They know more than WE THE PEOPLE of America know. Because they know first hand.

                  When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                  by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:17:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I am less worried... (0+ / 0-)

                    about soldiers than I am about American citizens safety abroad...in terms of people taking out revenge on our innocent citizens...and yes the pictures could make a difference to the uninformed rogue terrorist...

                    Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                    by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:16:50 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Again... (0+ / 0-)

                    nothing has been covered up...just because the photos have not been pasted on CNN for the world to see...

                    Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                    by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:17:36 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, the Nixon administration didn't destroy (0+ / 0-)

                      the Pentagon Papers either. They preserved them.

                      So, why would we need to see them? People who hate Americans might have reacted badly...

                      Why did the Nixon administration have to release the Watergate tapes? He didn't destroy them. And when people the world over found out that the president is a crook, wouldn't it hurt our image abroad?

                      I think my point is: we deserve the truth. Hiding the truth has consequences, too.

                      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                      by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:25:21 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Because Nixon did not torture... (0+ / 0-)

                        any of our overseas enemies...

                        Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                        by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:52:16 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Ummm...I know that...but... (0+ / 0-)

                          the point was that hiding these photos ALSO has negative consequences.

                          As long as our soldiers are in countries that we brought war and carnage to, those soldiers will be in harms way. With or without those photos, the people of those countries — millions of them - have relatives who were killed because of the American war.

                          They're really, really mad at us already...even without those photos.

                          The main effect of withholding those photos is to hide them from the American people, and preventing them from doing anything about what's depicted in them.

                          In other words, hiding the photos protects the tortures from any reckoning from WE THE PEOPLE.

                          Admittedly, the American people have lately had a pretty uninspiring record of demanding justice. But, without seeing those photos, they cannot either react against them...or accept them.

                          When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                          by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:59:04 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

        •  The PRIMARY job of the president (0+ / 0-)

          is to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.

          His job is NOT primarily to keep us safe.

          The safest thing for the founders to do would have been to compromise with England.

          The safest way to keep Americans out of harms way would be to have a curfew nationwide at sunset.

          No, the primary purpose of having a gov't is to protect our unalienable rights. Check out the Declaration of Independence. That's where you'll hear about it.

          When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

          by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:47:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He has both jobs... (0+ / 0-)

            in reality...and they need to be balanced...

            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:57:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, our founders chose justice over safety (0+ / 0-)

              when they were in conflict.

              And, remember, the Revolutionary War cost a higher percentage of American lives than any war until the Civil War.

              When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

              by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:02:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That was a one time occurance... (0+ / 0-)

                I do not think that in the modern day society we would accept that the POTUS does not have as one of his primary jobs being an effective CIC...

                Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:07:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Really? How much safety? How much liberty? (0+ / 0-)

                  The war wasn't fought for safety. We, as a country, started out with the goal of liberty and protection of the unalienable rights of WE THE PEOPLE.

                  If we now renounce those ideals, I'll need to renounce my citizenship.

                  When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                  by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:11:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What does photos... (0+ / 0-)

                    have to do with inalienable rights...?

                    Where do we have inalienable rights to see all photos regardless of the value of those photos and the relative risk to Americans here and abroad...

                    How does that cause you or me any personal harm...?

                    Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                    by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:14:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  How about "freedom from torture"? (0+ / 0-)

                      Yeah, I know it's not specified in the Bill of Rights, but the 9th amendment assures us that our unenumerated rights are also protected.

                      The Iraqis already KNOW what Americans have done. These photos won't be news to them. So don't give me that crap that our soldiers are safer by hiding additional evidence of torture.

                      Americans need to see those photos. Because to Americans...who still don't quite recognize the magnitude of evil committed by their gov't...this might wake them up.

                      And get them to DEMAND justice.

                      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                      by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:25:43 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Again... (0+ / 0-)

                        your argument that by not having the photos on CNN we are hiding evidence of torture is not reality based...Obama has seen the photos, and they are being preserved and acknowledged...not shreaded...

                        It is not just soldiers...innocent Americans abroad could be endangered by enraged enemies of the US as well..

                        Showing these photos changes nothing...the torture has been acknowledged and people have made their judgements...since we have already seen the disgusting photos from other torture...this will add nothing to the debate...it changes nothing about the magnitude...

                        Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                        by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:30:03 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  If you're right...then America stands for nothing (0+ / 0-)

                          and the great American experiment is over.

                          Torture won.

                          Because, with the evidence so far produced, the American people did not demand justice. We let torturers get away with it. And we never squawked at ongoing violations of our civil liberties, either. Mass spying on WE THE PEOPLE without probable cause.

                          I mean, if WE THE PEOPLE don't give a sh%t, then we should just give up.

                          When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                          by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:37:43 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You are right... (0+ / 0-)

                            a significant pluarlity of this country feels that it is more important to keep the country safe after 9/11 than to do things that potentially endanger American lives...

                            We have had these issues before where civil rights have been abridged and survived as a country...during wars habeas corpus has been suspended, people have been put in internment camps because of their national origin and we have even had witch-hunt trials...

                            And we will survive this crisis too...don't give up yet because we are not perfect...

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:42:20 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If would be nice, however, if we actually (0+ / 0-)

                            learned lessons from our mistakes...like the internment camps.

                            I mean, we're really not so stupid as to believe that torture is okay. We KNOW it's wrong. Americans are just rationalizing...chosing to believe that it makes us safer.

                            Just as keeping Japanese-Americans in prisons camps might have helped the American war effort. Even if it did (and I don't believe it did) it's still wrong and we should not have done it.

                            So it is with torture and coverups.

                            Your point about our "recovery"...is correct. We did, somewhat, recover from the past evils we've committed. We corrected course.

                            But if we can't even prosecute torture? And with THIS supreme court that maximizes gov't's power to spy on us without probable cuase, put us in prisons without due process? With an imperial presidency and squashed civil liberties?

                            We may or may not be able to recover. I think it depends on the effort WE THE PEOPLE are willing to make. And we've done a pretty lame job so far.

                            Electing Obama slowed the bleeding of liberty...but it didn't (yet) do nearly enough to restore our ideals.

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:51:59 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well we did not prosecute... (0+ / 0-)

                            those involved in the Japanese internment camps and we did not make the same mistake in the Korean or Vietnam wars...

                            Not to say I am against prosecuting torturers...but to say we will not learn our lessons and not torture again unless perpetrators are prosecuted is not a certainty...

                            Obama - Real Leadership for a Real Change

                            by dvogel001 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:56:30 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Good point. Thanks for giving me (0+ / 0-)

                            reason for hope...

                            When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                            by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:13:45 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

    •  If there were actual prosecutions, we wouldn't (0+ / 0-)

      be talking about making these photos public. We are talking about this because both Obama, nor his AG oppose holding those who instituted the policy of torture accountable.

      So, we want to go over their heads, and show the American people - graphically - what their gov't has done, and what they are condoning.

      Then, if the American people accept it...well, then our whole country isn't worth a warm bucket of piss.

      But, at least we'll all know it...

      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

      by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:51:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Taking the long view . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue armadillo, sanglug

    something Obama seems to do better than most of us.

    From Andrew Sullivan, who yesterday was as outraged about Obama's decision on the photos as almost everybody here at DKos. After reflection his response has gotten a bit more nuanced.

    The point of the photos is not to demonstrate more gore; it is to have a fresh opening to explain to Americans just how widespread this was, and also to remind them that this led to the deaths of scores. But against this important public interest, the president has another duty - to his soldiers in the line of fire. These soldiers deserve a chance to do their astonishingly difficult job without inflaming those who might be inspired to kill and attack them. I see no reason to suspect that Obama is not genuine about this question, and it's a fair factor to consider. More importantly, he has not said that suppressing the photos at this time means suppressing them for ever, and has not indicated that he will prevent justice being done. In fact, his statement said the opposite.

    Read the entire post, it's worth the time.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:06:54 AM PDT

    •  Possibly. But the justification for hiding the (0+ / 0-)

      photos is "trust me."

      I'm a little past the point of trusting politicians...even a good man like Obama.

      I want the whole truth, out in the open. If he follows through and does the right thing — like prosecuting the criminals who instituted torture, I will be very happy.

      But I don't think Americans should trust their gov't, at least not until that trust is EARNED.

      And even then, trust by verify.

      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

      by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:50:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  betrayed (0+ / 0-)

    In one sentence; you should go home with the guy who "brung" you!

    WE brung you...Mr. President.

  •  Obama is wrong on this because it's a coverup. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fairy Tale

    WE THE PEOPLE are entitled to the TRUTH. What was done in OUR name? With OUR money? By OUR gov't.

    Either the gov't is OUR servant, or it's trying to be our master.

    We don't submit to monarchs...elected or otherwise. When Obama is wrong, as he is here, WE THE PEOPLE must resist him.

    We need to fight the GOP and anyone else who does evil...or protects evil...in OUR name, with OUR money.

    When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

    by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:45:20 AM PDT

  •  He knows they (0+ / 0-)

    will be out eventually, but in the meantime,he is erring on the side of caution to try to avoid writing one extra letter to a family of a dead soldier.

    He can take the heat. Screams from the left are nowhere near as painful as that letter he has to write to the families of a dead soldier.

  •  I very much agree (0+ / 0-)

    The Obama administration has a moral imperative to release the pictures. That's why they were voted into power and what the whole world was expecting of him. He talked of change, transparency, accountability. Where are they now?

  •  The same moral equations apply to Bush & Obama. (0+ / 0-)

    Either we should be hiding photos of torture to protect troops, or we should be publishing them to expose the truth...and prosecute those who instituted a policy of torture.

    On this issue, so far, Bush and Obama are substantially the same.

    It's pretty disgusting...I hope Obama changes course. I didn't vote for Bush...

    When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

    by Rayk on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:55:54 PM PDT

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