Wednesday, May 13, 2009

President Obama: Release the torture pictures

What point does it make at this juncture? If we are going to show transperency, then it has to be all the way. Grant it, the military have their asses on a plate right now, nothing is going well for them. First the torture memos released (verifying torture), then a soilder killing his comrades while mentally imbalanced, now more photos to be released.

I know the generals, admirals, powers that be of the military has pressed Obama not to release these pictures but really what difference does it make now. This is toothpaste out of the tube. The world knows that the United States tortured and had a full blown torture organization going on. I know there are many, who are incensed about this but it is just too late.

The ACLU lawsuit was filed and the ACLU won. Simple as that. Do I want to look at torture pictures? No, but at this point, what is the difference? I agree with McJoan on this one:

It's just as arguable that Al Qaeda and any other terrorist organization will be able to recruit if President Obama doesn't make a clean break with and repudiation of Bush/Cheney policies as it is that these photos will do further damage. It's not like the rest of the world doesn't know the United States tortured at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, and at every other detention facility. And what "national security implications" there could be at this point should have been well hashed out. Importantly, President Obama has ended the policy of torture, and done so very publicly. Thus, further evidence of these formerly used "methods" should no longer relevant to our national security.

The international community already knows we tortured, what they want to know is are we ending it and can they trust the Obama Administration, after being lied to by the Bush Administration. The anger of the Middle East has been there from day one with our entrance into Iraq, what they demand is that we get out and they wanted us gone, yesterday. And the ACLU is correct here:
"It is inconsistent not only with commitments the Obama administration has made to us and to the courts but inconsistent with the promise of transparency that President Obama has repeated so many times," he said.

Jaffer, who has filed suit for the release of these photographs under concerns over civil liberty violations and possible detainee abuse, noted that the Obama White House still had a steep hill to climb in its efforts to suppress the release of the photos. Jaffer has won his case in the district court in New York as well as a three-judge appeals court. The Bush Administration, towards the end of its term, asked the full Second Circuit Appeals Court to review the matter. They refused to do so.

"At this point," Jaffer said, "the burden is on the government because there is a court order that requires them to release these photos. So they are either going to have to seek Supreme Court review or come up with some creative strategy to get yet another hearing below the lower courts."

"These photographs are critical to the historical record so it is very disappointing... that the administration is going to try and suppress them," he added.

This is about shame. Shame from the Bush Administration and it is history, documented history of what our country did, period. There are alot of moving parts here with this torture stuff, but one thing must happen, transperency.

Obama, you promised transperency. You must deliver.

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