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May 13, 2009

Yes Mr. President, No Pictures!


Yes, I think it’s a wonderful idea for Obama/Gates/Petraeus to stonewall the release of the detainee photos.

Let the American people and the world see Obama as unwilling to expose America’s torture record and maintenance of black sites. Let the President deny himself (and the rest of us) the ability — as far as visual evidence is concerned — to finally and firmly get on the other side of these immoral activities. Let the Administration disregard the cathartic, if painful process of visual truth telling and reconciliation. And yes, let’s create a situation where the world can only imagine what’s inside those frames — given people’s ability to imagine the worst.

Obama’s latest effort to conceal evidence of Bush era crimes (Greenwald/Salon)

(slightly edited: 2 pm PST)

(linked image: Philip Zimbardo via U.S. military)

  • Gasho

    The instances where Obama is leaning towards keeping the UNAMERICAN policies of the Bush Administration alive are SO PAINFUL. Any of this crap that’s not cleaned up with great haste is a permanent stain on our constitution. A bent, torn, redacted, stained and otherwise inoperable document – our constitution. SO SAD. SO VERY SAD. America is being destroyed from within – because it’s not being defended from the very government corruption it was established to guard its citizens from.

  • Gasho

    He said he won’t release the photos because of the backlash against the US.. and he’s right. There will be backlash – and if no-one is held accountable, then the backlash is unleashed against the US itself. If people are held accountable -if Bush and Cheney and Gonzales and Rice are tried as war criminals – then the US will be spared most of it and maybe even be seen as upholding justice. If not, then we’re just a rogue nation anyway. Damn this pisses me off.
    Sunlight is best. Any attempt to hide in the shadows just causes our liberties and freedoms to rot and disappear. Obama knows better. He KNOWS BETTER.

  • metoo

    We have enough to reference this misguided legal allowance from the Bush administration. Let’s put energy into the big picture- convicting those who wrote and implemented those “decisions.” And keep in mind that stumbling day to day or hand to mouth is no way to run this country- we have Iran and the others in the ME to respect.
    Why look at more examples of depravity? Same as it ever was- look up some old copies – enough already for a conviction.

  • Stan B.

    Buried things grow deep…

  • g

    You know, I’d be fine if he doesn’t release the photos as long as there’s an inquiry into the illegal acts that led to the torture. I don’t need to see the photos. I need to know that people who broke the law will be prosecuted.
    I don’t need to see death scene photos to know that justice served when murderers are prosecuted.

  • eatbees

    Obama is becoming part of the coverup. His loyalties are to the institution whose power he now wields.

  • Russ Nichols

    The excuse is that it would bring harm to the troops. Bullcrap. This is the kind of excuse I would have expected from Bush, and disappointed that Obama fell for a cliched number like that. Hurt the troops? Bullcrap again. Any insurgents bent on hurting the troops will do so partly motivated by what they know already about our torture policy. And it is doubtful that more pictures would motivate those not previously inclined to go to war against the United States Army.
    What would discourage anger against America, seems to me, would be a demonstration to the world that justice can be done here, even against High and Mighty Grand Poobahs like Bush and Cheney and their assorted criminal friends. Much of the rest of the world operates the way we are operating now–letting the High and the Mighty off the hook. That, they understand. They would be astonished by prosecution for war crimes the way we were astonished by the downfall of Pinochet.

  • Sergei Andropov

    Given that Obama is planning on releasing the Holy Grail report, I’d have to say that he’s being sincere on this. My guess would be that he’s trying to pursue justice while not pushing all of the Republicans’ buttons at once. If he were to just dump all of the evidence on the public at once, then the Republicans would be instantly confronted with incontrovertible evidence that they were wrong. That level of cognitive dissonance is not healthy in a wingnut; I’ve seen what can happen then first hand, when I proved to a theocrat that Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood) was pro-life. After parsing and reparsing the evidence, he finally admitted that the evidence did indeed show that, but that it was still wrong. He know firmly believes that Margaret Sanger almost singlehandedly masterminded the fall of the American Republic (I wish I was joking). Imagine if that were to happen to hundreds of thousands of them. Countless WalMarts could be destroyed in the resulting riots. Instead, Obama appears to be breaking the news to them gently by giving them time to recover between each salvo. Meanwhile, the investigations — the legal ones, the ones that actually count — continue at their own plodding, governmental pace.

  • thebleatgoeson

    uh, yes, umm:
    ‘what do we know and (when
    did we) stop knowing it(?)’

  • yg

    imagine this scenario:
    obama pretends to oppose releasing photos, even though he knows they’ll end up being released via court order.
    they get out. it sparks violence. insurgents target and kills soldiers. they cite the photos as their rationale.
    had obama not postured opposing release of photos, he would be held personally responsible for soldiers having been killed. media would have a field day blaming obama. his political capital would have shrunk. his domestic agenda left in tatters.
    now, which do you prefer? a little game of pretend? or ideological purity that led to dashing any hopes of passing a progressive agenda?

  • NS

    Michael, what’s the Philip Zimbardo connection?
    His Stanford prison experiment seems more relevant every day.

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