President Obama has many issues but the ones dealing with his approach to the phony war on terror, torture and armed conflicts that he is escalating continue to baffle and upset me. Now he has petitioned the US Supreme Court to suppress release of pictures taken at Abu Ghraib which show torture and prisoner abuse. I understand why he doesn’t want them released; it would force his hand to prosecute those who would be clearly shown violating every conceivable law in the books, our books as well as international treaties we’ve sworn to uphold and protect. However, he can’t give that as a reason for asking they not to be released so instead he chose this:
“there are nearly 200,000 Americans who are serving in harm’s way, and I have a solemn responsibility for their safety as Commander-in-Chief. It is my judgment … that releasing these photos would inflame anti-American opinion and allow our enemies to paint United States troops with a broad, damning and inaccurate brush, thereby endangering them in theaters of war.”
Obama was forced to petition the high court after a lower court ruled the photos should be released ignoring the pleas by some in government that their release would imperil US personnel. The courts have sided with those who cite the Freedom of Information Act which they say requires, or mandates the release of such pictures.
Obama’s petition to block the release is an about face from his earlier position where he called for their release. He has decided to escalate US involvement in Afghanistan and is using that escalation as an excuse for keeping the pictures locked up but he goes on to say with a straight face, ‘Any abuse of detainees is unacceptable. It is against our values. It endangers our security. It will not be tolerated.’
If abuse won’t be tolerated Mr. President, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who carried it out as well as those who ordered it. I assert the photos should imperil the freedom and liberty of those who are engaged in the abuse chronicled therein or who were responsible for it. If he is worried about inflaming anti-American opinion, correct those anti-American notions by restoring the rule of law and showing the world we apply that law equally to all even when it hits close to home and involves members of American government. If he’s worried about negative opinions of American foreign policy he should curtail America’s wars of aggression and remove American troops from foreign lands that pose no direct threat to American personnel or American interests. He should return them to America and de-escalate American forces that have been used as advance teams for US corporations to set up permanent bases and expand global markets at the expense of US resources. These theaters of war are ones he has chosen to engage in when the survival or prosperity of our Republic is not at stake. The greatest danger to our military is their deployment to these areas by the very government that wants to protect them by infringing on the rights of the society they are fighting to protect. People who claim that photos showing abuse and or torture of prisoners under American control should be released should also proclaim those who are responsible for their ugly content must be brought to justice. If the Supreme Court rules against the Obama petition most likely he will used the powers of the unitary executive, finely tuned by the Bush administration, to block the release of the pictures. Just one more example of ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.