[Scroll down for update]
I just saw on Fox News that President Obama now plans to oppose the release of those pictures of American soldiers engaging in torture. There is not yet an updated report on the Fox website. Here is a link to the earlier story about the release of the photos, and an excerpt:
Lieberman and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., urged President Obama in a letter to “fight” the release of the photos.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was noncommittal about the president’s position.
“We are working currently to figure out what the process is moving forward,” he said.
Asked if that means the decision could be reversed, Gibbs said, “I don’t want to get into that right now.”
Whether the new photos are as repugnant as those from Abu Ghraib is still an open question. But one U.S. official told FOX News that hundreds of photos are involved, drawn from military investigations into alleged abuse between 2001 and 2005.
A recent military study found a troubling connection. The study, based on the interrogation of 48 detainees, concluded that a motivating factor for bombers was the humiliation of Muslims, depicted in the photos shown repeatedly in the Arab media and on the Internet.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney told FOX News’ Neil Cavuto that the Obama administration appears to be “committed to putting out information that sort of favors their point of view in terms of being opposed to, for example, enhanced interrogation techniques.”
The head of the American Legion warned in the Wall Street Journal that “a picture may be worth a thousand words, but is it worth the death of a single American soldier?…The Defense Department owes it to the soldiers to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to block the release of these photos.”
The ACLU claims the release will help the American people decide whether the abuse was widespread or, as the Bush administration claimed, bad acts by rogue actors.
It appears Obama has taken the advice of Dick Cheney (sorry, couldn’t resist that). It is disturbing that he did not take this position in the beginning, but I am glad he has come around to it now. Not only was this the sensible position regarding the safety of our troops and security of our country, but I suspect Obama came to realize this was the only smart political option for him as well.
UPDATE: The story has now been posted at Fox News.
President Obama has decided not to release hundreds of photos potentially showing U.S. military personnel abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.
A senior administration official told FOX News that Obama met with his legal team last week and told them that he did not feel comfortable with the release of the photos because he believes they would endanger U.S. troops, and that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented to the court.
At the end of that meeting, the president directed his counsel to object to the immediate release of the photos on those grounds, the official said.I don’t understand how Obama argues that these pictures would endanger the troops, but that the “torture memos” he released did not. I have to wonder if he now believes he should not have released those memos. If he does regret it, is it because of national security concerns or politics?