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for alexa

The photographs which the Obama administration resists releasing, documenting the torture of prisoners by American citizens at seven separate facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, are my responsibility. As they are yours. For we paid the people who took those photographs, and we paid those who inflicted the suffering. They acted in our names.

This is not May 2004, when the New Yorker printed those first shocking photographs documenting the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, and we could be led to believe that such grotesque abuse was the work of a few wild-eyed hillbillies run amok--"bad apples." This is May 2009. And we know now without doubt that Abu Ghraib-style torture of War on Terra prisoners was approved and directed by persons at the highest levels of the executive branch of the federal government. S/elected to office by the people of the United States. Twice.

Those photographs are our country. They are us. And the sooner we get them out, all of them, the sooner we own them, own up to them, to ourselves and to the world, the sooner we can become something better.

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris produced a lovely song, "This Is Us," involving a married couple of a certain age reviewing a photograph album depicting their lives together.

Most married folks, like the married folks in that song, do not keep, much less fondly review, pictures of their uglier and more unpalatable moments. I, however, work in a job where I see such photographs frequently. In this criminal-defense law office, we regularly review pictures depicting the results of violent acts committed (allegedly) by our clients against their spouses, and against others--crimes ranging from domestic violence to murder. And sometimes part of my job is to argue for keeping such photos from the eyes of a jury.

The law doesn't help me much, though. Out here in California, pictures depicting the damage defendants have inflicted on other human beings are pretty much admissible unless they additionally depict damage inflicted by others (like, for instance, autopsy surgeons). The reason for admissibility is, in lay language, that such photos depict what is. Each presents a fact. This eye was blacked, this nose was slit, this leg was broken, this face was erased, these brains were spilled. Jurors are charged with weighing facts, and thus they are entitled and even obligated to view photographs documenting the facts of damage and suffering.

In the great plural marriage in which we are all joined as citizens of these United States, the photographs which the Obama administration would conceal capture some of our uglier and more unpalatable moments. Much as some might like to, we cannot keep these images to ourselves, burn them, hide them under the bed. Though we are not at present involved in any official, acknowledged legal proceeding, we are in every real sense of the word on trial before both ourselves and the world. And I see no valid reason why those photographs should be concealed any more than should those that I labor vainly to keep from the eyes of jurors in a criminal court. The images Obama would keep pressed to his chest also present facts. They also depict what is. Crime, damage, suffering.

Sloth has heretofore prevented me from diarying on two threads I see running through this new administration that have heartened me even through the inevitable disappointments. And today's announcement regarding these photos grieves me because they cut across both those threads.

First, I believe that more than any president before him, Obama, as the philosopher William Irwin Thompson has observed, possesses a "sense of a new planetary humanity." He has repeatedly expressed the interconnectedness of the United States with other nations and peoples of the world, and has specifically declined to endorse the notion of "American exceptionalism."

Today's act, however, is a selfish act. It dismisses the interests of all others in this world but armed Americans serving in countries where they are not welcome, as well as the vaporous interests of that sinister shibboleth known as "national security." His decision today is cramped, cabined: oldthink. As such, it is unworthy of him.

Second, Obama has consistently stressed the necessity of both individual Americans and the country as a whole to learn to feel, and act on, empathy for other nations and peoples. He has even identified empathy as a foremost quality sought in his first appointee to the United States Supreme Court. Empathy such as that felt by the late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who once memorably expressed his concern for the law's effect on "the miserable, the sick, the suspect, the unpopular, the offbeat."

No one was more suspect and unpopular, and made more sick and miserable, than the prisoners depicted in those photographs that Obama would keep from us and from the world. Yet by keeping those pictures from the American people, Obama prevents us from feeling empathy for these men and women. Forced to confront those images, we will be forced to feel their suffering. It is our duty to do so. Because we are responsible for that suffering. Those photos are us.

Cenk Uygur is correct when he notes that "talk about torture doesn't really do it for the American people. But when they see pictures, they get it." People like ourselves, here on little bubbles like this blog, may be able to "get" torture from words marching across a page, but we are a small and privileged minority among the people of this country, much less the world. For whatever reason, we here all have the time and ability to devote a good chunk of our lives to things that do not directly concern us. That is not true of most people on this planet.

John Mellencamp once said a wise and true thing:

People are really involved, and rightfully so, in their own lives. You can't say anything negative about people not being informed, because they don't have time to be informed. It's a hard world to get a break in.

Long, long before tubes or books or stone tablets, human beings were taking in and making judgements upon pictorial images received through their eyes. Viewing the photos that Obama would keep from us would trigger that atavism, and from that would spring empathy. Americans who haven't the time or the inclination to follow endless streams of words about torture would understand, in viewing these photos, exactly what we were about. Words can act like squid ink; they cloud, hide, conceal. That is how words were used when the original Abu Ghraib photos were released: jet after jet after jet of mendacious squid ink befouled the national discourse, reducing the atrocious behavior enacted in our name to an inexplicable and unsanctioned rampage of rogues.

Everyone in the country knows better now. They know that the damage and suffering inflicted on these people was official American policy. No amount of squid ink can hide that fact, not any longer. Viewing these new photos today, the American public would be forced to say: we did this. This is us.

The release of these photographs would help greatly in centering this nation's reckoning of its involvement with torture on those most afflicted by it: the victims.

Relying on criminal investigations to address torture would immediately disappear the issue into the maw of the legal system, the very source and inexhaustible supplyhouse of squid ink. The accused will attempt to turn any proceeding into an endless, monotonous drone, sucking any and all life out of it, until evil, as the saying goes, has been rendered utterly banal.

The focus of any criminal prosecution, like all criminal prosecutions, would be primarily on the perpetrators. This is where the danger of "revenge" and "retribution" rears its head. Hunter S. Thompson acutely observed that the popularity of the televised Watergate hearings was attributable to "millions of closet Hell's Angels whose sole interest in watching the hearings was the spectacle of seeing once-powerful men brought weeping to their knees." We all need to guard against this impulse; to deny that it exists, is foolish. Howard Kurtz has noted, correctly, that he has "rarely seen the kind of passion that now surrounds the torture debate, even more, it seems, than when it was going on." This seems a fair description of the state of this blog. Back in the day, it was not always easy to interest the community in torture; today, we need to make sure we're not motivated most by the base desire to see heads on pikes.

Back in that day, I was most drawn to Alexa's work, because she always remained focused on those victimized, harmed, made to suffer, in the War on Terra. Her touchstone was this statement from the War on Terra prisoner Rehab Abdel Mohamed Ali: "I was beaten and verbally abused in detention. After a few days, the guards asked me, 'Do you know that your name is all over the Internet?' After that, I was treated better by the guards before being released." She tried to find out as much as she could, and write as much as she could, about as many of these prisoners as she could, in the hopes that what she set down might, even in the smallest way, set some imprisoned someone, somewhere, more at ease.

Many of those people are still out there. They still suffer. They still need our help. Whether we pursue criminal prosecutions, or a truth and reconciliation commission, or both, we should not forget those who are the reason why: those who were tortured. On our dime. In our names.

The photographs that Obama does not want us to see will help us to remember what this is all about: real people, really hurt, really badly. By us.

Years ago, Alexa and Vitamin O inspired me to write on this blog: "When we are all Abu Zubaydah, there will be no Abu Zubaydah." Meaning that if we can all feel what he felt, no one of us will ever be capable of inflicting such suffering upon another. Seems to me there's no worthier a goal here on this weird and often very wretched world we find ourselves--briefly--in.

Three years ago the Kossack BlaiseP, a self-described "old soldier who used to be a Republican," while dispensing advice to a young man in Sri Lanka flummoxed by his co-worker's wingerisms, described this sort of thing as a core Democratic Party value:

In the Democratic view of things, we may superimpose the Buddha's vision of life on all things. To live in this world is to suffer: we measure progress by how the poorest are doing, and often our constitutional liberties are defined by defending criminals.

Do not be ashamed to be a Liberal. For me, this was the hardest obstacle to overcome. Being a Liberal is hard work, intellectually, I repeat myself, our causes are most closely bound to the lowest and the least-likeable people. It is easy to hate, it is more difficult to love, especially when those we love do not love us in return. A criminal still has rights in law in the USA, and these rights are under attack. The Conservatives charge us with Loving Criminals and Being Defeatists, nothing could be farther from the truth, for those who love the law understand how easily the law may be abused.

That remains to me a really lovely statement. The prisoners in the photographs that Obama would conceal were--and are--"the poorest," "the lowest," "the least-likable" among us: that is why they were treated as they were. And it is, as BlaiseP said, our duty as Democrats to both love these people and to bring them within the full embrace of the law. Obama has today frustrated that effort. He has made a mistake. In time, he will come to see that.

I want to close with a comment I read today in mcjoan's FP diary, from the Kossack Bobs Telecaster. It resonates with me because of its weariness, and its determination. The natural impulse of most human beings faced with a harsh task is to shirk it. This is doubly so if the task is to admit error, face wrongdoing. But evasion and delay solve nothing. They are futile, and they are folly; judgement day is not a thing that can be delayed overlong. Best thing to do, is just get to it. Those photos are us: we need to admit that, and them, to the world.

Maybe it is outrage fatigue

I know I feel it sometimes.

But think about this. We tortured people. We tortured 'em the way Torquemada did. The way the Viet Cong did.

There is proof. Don't we finally want it out there? Don't we want the darkness brought out into the light? Don't we want the lies from the right about "splashing a bit of water" to be finally exposed once and for all?

I know sometimes I am not outraged by it anymore. But I should be. We cannot let shell shock win.

Let's just get it done.

Originally posted to blueness on Wed May 13, 2009 at 10:26 PM PDT.

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  •  what bob said: let's just get it done n/t (358+ / 0-)
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  •  What a Beautiful Line: (42+ / 0-)

    In the great plural marriage in which we are all joined as citizens of these United States

    Just one line in a really remarkable diary, but one that stood out even more than the rest.  

    "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

    by Dana Houle on Wed May 13, 2009 at 10:36:12 PM PDT

  •  A tip, a rec, for you and for Alexa, one of my (19+ / 0-)

    all-time blogging heroes.

    Yes, "Let's just get it done."

    Don't take anyone seriously that says one thing and does another--that's the worst sin of all...Claire McCaskill

    by begone on Wed May 13, 2009 at 10:39:04 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this (29+ / 0-)

    Yes, there is a lot of outrage over this question on the site today, but you have demonstrated the long history we have here, the long chain of diaries and comments that convince many of us that releasing these photos is the right thing to do.

    This is greater than the political positioning of any one particular.  This is the right and ethical thing to do.

    Just do it.

    The adults are back in charge.

    by DebtorsPrison on Wed May 13, 2009 at 10:39:20 PM PDT

  •  Pictures destroy bullshit arguments.... (42+ / 0-)

    "we do it to our own troops," is a big one they use. I believe these pictures would end that little bullshit talking point.

    "It was done with doctors present" - again, actual visual evidence would prove this to be useless.

    A picture, or series of them could mean the difference between life in prison, and execution.

    Until we know how 'insignifigant,' or sadistically horrific they are, we can't judge anything, and that needs to happen. No matter the consequences.

  •  thanks blueness. it is troublesome that (29+ / 0-)

    the debate on the release of these pictures focuses on US interests or political games between the parties.

    politics just needs to be removed entirely from addressing torture so that the focus can be on justice for those who were tortured and their families, and also on the healing and reform needed here to make sure it never happens again.

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Wed May 13, 2009 at 10:45:32 PM PDT

  •  Very well done. (35+ / 0-)

    The most widespread justification for withholding the photos has been guesswork about what the reaction will be, without considering how this story itself is being talked about and covered in the Arabic-speaking world (as if they live in a vacuum that waits until the United States makes policy decisions).  I'm probably getting close to spamming with this, but: Al-Jazeera (English) is reporting this as a failure of the Obama administration, while broadcasting both his campaign promise of transparency against rebroadcasts of those photos which have been released.  If the remaining photos offer nothing new as per Lindsey Graham, then there's major cognitive dissonance between what he argues the impact will be, and what the most widespread Arabic-language is saying/showing in the meantime.  

    I do understand why the Obama administration is antsy.  The Nick Berg decapitation was done, as his murderers said, in retaliation for Abu Ghraib, and if someone dies after these photos are made public, it would fall on his head if he had made the call to release them.  But first, this isn't 2004, when the disclosure about Abu Ghraib was brand new and shocked the hell out of people (the existing photos are long since widely disseminated, discussed, and available); and second, everything in your diary testifies as to why there's a moral necessity beyond the political one.  These photos show that Abu Ghraib was not an isolated bushel of bad apples, so the worst part of the information is already public.  Open the windows and flush out all that darkness with light.  That's the only way we can handle this.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed May 13, 2009 at 10:47:28 PM PDT

  •  Revulsion is a momentary response. (11+ / 0-)

    It fades.  America was revulsed by the Abu Ghraib photos - then became desensitized to them.  This will happen again with these new photos.

    At some point we need to allow the paradigm to change.  As long as we're still showing torture photos on tv and debating torture prosecutions (or engaging in torture prosecutions), we are in Bush's world. We will find ourselves endlessly mired in debate over the morality and efficacy of torture.  9/11 will remain in the center of our discourse,a nd because of this - at some level torture will remain on the table.

    The way to truly end torture is to allow ourselves to enter a paradigm where it is not up for debate.  This cannot happen as long as we insist upon allowing Bush to dominate our current debate.

    I respectfully disagree with this diary.

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them" Pres. Obama 1/20/09

    by snout on Wed May 13, 2009 at 10:55:59 PM PDT

    •  abu ghraib (22+ / 0-)

      was sold as the work of what the Chinese used to call "bad elements." They can't sell that anymore. People were allowed and encouraged to believe that their government was not responsible for the 2004 Abu Ghraib photos. They can't believe that anymore. They have to own these photos. When they see them and own them, that will contribute to reaching that state you describe as "a paradigm where [torture] is not up for debate." My take, anyway.

      •  Americans will never "own" those pictures (0+ / 0-)

        Not any more than they owned Abu Ghraib.  It is still too easy to point at the Bush Admin and blame them, just the same as conservatives now view Bush as a failure to uphold conservatism.

        There will be no grand moment of clarity that comes with these pictures.  Just more of the same debate we've had on this subject for the last several years. You are lying to yourself if you expect otherwise.

        "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them" Pres. Obama 1/20/09

        by snout on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:59:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  what? (15+ / 0-)

      how does not releasing the pictures take us out of "Bush's world" ?

      Even if I agree 100% with you I do not see how this decision, to release or not release the pictures, plays into your argument.

      On the contrary, the pictures will break us from Bush's world where torture is simply a policy decision recommended by an attorney.  The focus on the memos and the current debate is in Bush's world. We are dissecting the discussion that happened in the last administration trying to understand that decision.  The argument the author is making, as I understand it, is that's the wrong focus. Focusing on the real human effects of the torture policy could very well break us from Bush's world.

      It may no longer matter if the memos were legally sound, it may no longer matter if we got good intelligence - the pictures will show us what it looked like and hopefully convince more people that this is just wrong - no matter what.  The pictures of Abu Ghrab were explained away by bad apples as a commenter below pointed out - these will not.

      •  The national conversation that will ensue... (0+ / 0-)

        ...will be the same one we are already having - just magnified.  We'll spend the next several months debating whether torture works.

        I think it is naive to think that more pictures will result in a national epiphany of any kind.  

        "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them" Pres. Obama 1/20/09

        by snout on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:46:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  America has become desensitized to the Abu (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueness, James Kresnik, Randtntx

      Ghraib photos?  I don't think so!  I recoil Everytime I see one - and I notice that they're flashed on the screen for only a split second at a time when infrequently shown these days during the discussions on torture.  Because they are still so appalling people can't handle seeing them but  briefly.  No, the photos of Abu Ghraib are what made the public finally begin believing the allegations of torture were possibly true, although they eagerly bought into the notion it was only because of a "few bad apples".  Without those photos, all allegations would have been dismissed, regardless of the number of words used to describe the events.  It will take these photos for the public to release their fantasy of torture being "frat pranks", essentially harmless and ultimately beneficial practices, imposed on a terrible an dangerous enemy.

      I know of no one who has become desensitized to the pictures of the piles of dead or the emaciated bodies from the concentration camps.  I know of no one who has become desensitized to photos of blacks hanging from trees.  I know of no one who has become desensitized to photos of Abu Ghraib.  Photos are the one thing people can't ignore, can't pretend about, can't become desensitized to.

      Your argument is a fail.  

      •  And yet... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the national outcry you imagine would naturally result from seeing this pictures has not happened. People do not howl in protest when they hear talking heads debate about whether torture works.

        Regardless of what you think you see, the evidence is pretty clear.

        "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them" Pres. Obama 1/20/09

        by snout on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:48:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ummm. You seem to forget the pictures haven't (0+ / 0-)
          been seen because Obama is not releasing them.

          What a terribly bizarre argument.  "The pictures should not be released because there will be no national outcry, as is proven by the fact that the seeing the pictures that have not been seen yet has not unleashed a national outcry."  Surely you realized this was just a ridiculous assertion even before you hit the post button?

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you're critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:26:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't make that argument. (0+ / 0-)

            First off, we've had pictures of torture for several years now.  New pictures will not change the national mindset.

            Second off, I never used the above as my argument for whay they should not be released.  I'm not even dead set that they shouldn't.  I can simply see the argument for moving beyond the torture debate - an argument I've made above.

            I'm pretty sure I was clear about all of this.  Perhaps it is you who ought to have guarded against making ridiculous assertions before submitting.  

            "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them" Pres. Obama 1/20/09

            by snout on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:30:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Well put. (13+ / 0-)


    Well get past this and be stronger. It's a matter of how long it will take and how much more damage we'll inflict and endure.

    In a number of instances in American history, the country has done official shameful things that we now look back upon and accept as shameful, never to be repeated.

    Internment of Japanese Americans is one of the more obvious, more recent incidents.

    Dred Scott.

    All right thinking Americans must keep pushing for the accountability that will as much as possible put this terrible moment in history behind us.

    •  I agree with much of what you say - except (0+ / 0-)

      that America will be stronger.  It won't.  It will never again be what we once believed it was - nor will it be better in any form.  Bushco has irretrievably damaged this country and it can never again claim any high moral ground.  It can never again lecture to any other country.  It can never again be used as an example of what a wondrous thing democracy is.  What we've been so proud to stand for is irretriviably broken and, no matter what we do from this point on, can never be put back together.  Thanks to Bush and Cheney and their ilk.  

      The only way to make any progress back to some semblance of pride is to at least face what has been done honestly and openly, punish those responsible, and try to make amends for our horrific miseeds.

  •  Beautiful diary (11+ / 0-)

    thank you for bringing morality to this issue.  We need to end torture (and make sure it never comes back) because it is the right thing to do.  

  •  Thank you. (20+ / 0-)

    If Obama continues to resist prosecuting the people responsible for torture, the damage will be far greater than any damage from new pictures.

    Exhibit A:

    Obama's CIA Torture Prosecution Stance Leads to Outcry From Human Rights Groups, Muslim World

    Obama sought to turn a page on what he called "a dark and painful chapter" with his announcement a day earlier. He condemned the aggressive techniques including waterboarding, shackling and stripping used on terror suspects while promising not to legally pursue the perpetrators.

    But the decision left some bitter in the Muslim world, where there was widespread anger over abuse of detained terror suspects. It could tarnish somewhat Obama's growing popularity among Arabs and Muslims, who have cheered his promises to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities and withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

    "All of us in Guantanamo never had hope or faith in the American government," said Jomaa al-Dosari, a Saudi who spent six years in Guantanamo before being released last year. "We only ask God for our rights and to demand justice for the wrongs we experience in this life. There will be a time in history when every person who committed a wrong will be punished."

    The editor of the Saudi Arabia-based Arab News daily, Khaled Almaeena, said the decision not to prosecute "sends the wrong message."

    "They destroyed people's lives ... Unfortunately, they're allowed to go scot free," he said of operatives who carried out the techniques.

    "Treat people like you want to be treated. Life is fragile." Torii Hunter 4-9-2009

    by Sagebrush Bob on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:04:45 PM PDT

    •  Exhibit B (14+ / 0-)

      approximately 50 people have been killedin US custody, perhaps through torture, or murder, or through other circumstances.

      Autopsy reports reveal homicides of detainees in U.S. custody

      Detainee was found unresponsive restrained in his cell. Death was due to blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease.Contusions and abrasions on forehead, nose, head, behind ear, neck, abdomen, buttock, elbow, thigh, knee, foot, toe, hemorrhage on rib area and leg. Detainee died of blunt force injuries to lower extremities, complicating underlying coronary artery disease. The blunt force injuries to the legs resulted in extensive muscle damage, muscle necrosis and rhabomyolysis. Electrolyte disturbances primarily hyperkalemia (elevated blood potassium level) and metabolic acidosis can occur within hours of muscle damage. Massive sodium and water shifts occur, resulting in hypovolemic shock and casodilatation and later, acute renal failure. The decedent's underlying coronary artery disease would compromise his ability to tolerate the electrolyte and fluid abnormalities, and his underlying malnutrition and likely dehydration would further exacerbate the effects of the muscle damage. The manner of death is homicide.
      This approximately 27 year old male civilian, presumed Iraqi national, died in US custody approximately 72 hours after being apprehended. By report, physical force was required during his initial apprehension during a raid. During his confinement, he was hooded, sleep deprived, and subjected to hot and cold environmental conditions, including the use of cold water on his body and hood. Flexcuffs used around each wrist. Abrasions and contusions around wrists. Minor abrasions and contusions of extremities. Laceration above right eyebrow, 1cm. Contusion of right side of neck. Minor abrasions of left side of forehead. Subgaleal hemmorrhage of bilateral frontal regions of scalp. Intramuscular hemorrhage of anterior aspect of right shoulder. No internal evidence of trauma. No significant evidence of natural disease. Drugs and abrasions consistent with defribilation efforts. Rib fractures consistent with CPR efforts. Concludes that cause of death cannot be determined. There is evidence of multiple minor injuries, including "blackeyes", abrasions and contusions of the face, torso and extremities, side of the next and subgaleal hemorrage of the scalp. The decedent was also subjected to cold and wet conditions and hypothermia may have contributed to his death. DOD 003323 refers to this case with the notation "Q[uestioned] by NSWT [Navy Seals], struggled/interrogated/died sleeping." Preliminary autopsy report of this individual is at DOD 003260 -003261. Death certificate is at DOD 003300.

      Listen to Noam Chomsky's Necessary Illusions. (mp3!)

      by borkitekt on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:12:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How we treat the "least" among us is a (22+ / 0-)

    fundamental moral precept, by which all societies should be judged.  

    And it is, as BlaiseP said, our duty as Democrats to both love these people and to bring them within the full embrace of the law.

    Beautifully said. But I would argue it is our duty as human beings to do so.

    Sweet are the uses of adversity...Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It.

    by earicicle on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:09:53 PM PDT

  •  Thank you. You have written beautifully about (9+ / 0-)

    the most unbeautiful of subjects.

    Yes, let's just get it done.  Sooner or later, the whole ghastly story is going to be revealed.  Stalling and postponing is like delaying a surgery that is needed to remove a deadly, malignant growth.    

    "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

    by CKendall on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:22:20 PM PDT

  •  Self-flagellation/On-Demand Society - be patient (6+ / 0-)

    Don't get me wrong, the sentiment of the diary is spot on and I don't mean to be disrespectful.

    What will cloud any true justice is to reduce the political flailings of the Republicans as much as possible. Obama gained political capital with the right with this move. Not releasing the pictures this month is not the endgame. Far from it.

    It seems that we want to take a flail to ourselves, to feel the pain to atone for our collective sin. Thankfully we aren't talking about literal self-flogging, that's akin to torture...

    As a society we don't need to view child pornography to know it's reprehensible, and while I don't want to throw a red herring into my argument with an analogy like this I still can't help but think there are similarities given the core ugliness that these torture pictures represent.

    The analogy ends there because as a society we do need to see these pictures. But the court of public opinion will not get you convictions, just ask any disgraced MLB slugger. All these pictures will do right now is fan the flames of partisanship. Obama gets a compliment from Boehner today and will trade some of this capital in when it truly matters.

    Didn't Abraham Lincoln have less experience than Barack Obama?

    by relikx on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:22:37 PM PDT

  •  I'm still undecided on this. (7+ / 0-)

    But you make an excellent point; we can't heal a wound if we don't expose it to fresh air and sunlight.

    As long as prejudice exists in this country - in this world - we are all its victims. ~~ Keith Olbermann

    by Purple Priestess on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:22:43 PM PDT

  •  Obama is making a terrible mistake... (15+ / 0-)

    ...for purely petty domestic reasons.

    Internationally, this hurts us a lot.


    by Lupin on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:28:28 PM PDT

  •  If we don't deal with this now (21+ / 0-)

    It will deal with us later. I understand the desire of many people to just move on, out of a weariness in dealing with such unpleasantness after years of being subjected to it, a desire to focus on clearly serious problems in other areas, a hope and belief that we won't ever do this again, and, among some at least, the sense that for the most part we only did this to bad people, under very trying conditions after 9/11, so that even if it was wrong and illegal, it was somewhat excusible under the circumstances.

    I really do understand that, having come across such views here and elsewhere, by people who could hardly be called Dick Cheney clones. Some are my relatives.

    And yet, I don't buy it, no matter how sincerely people believe such things. It's not the people who believe these things that I fault, but their reasons for believing them:

    1 - The weariness factor. Understandable, but no excuse for letting criminals off the hook for serious war crimes. If anyone finds this tiring, they're welcome to move on and focus on other things, and let people who do care about it deal with it.

    2 - The unpleasantness factor. Ditto.

    3 - Other pressing priorities. Clearly, we do have other things to worry about, like the economy, schools, jobs, health care, energy, infrastructure, etc. But as the saying goes, we can walk and chew gum at the same time--i.e. multitask--and have ample resources to do so. If this isn't your priority, then fine, move on, focus on what you do care about, and let people who care about this (among other things, I would add, as there are few single issue types here, myself included), deal with it.

    4 - The belief that this was a one-off, a terrible aberration in our history that we won't repeat, and certainly not by the current administration, thus we don't need to deal with it lest it happen again. Well, I'd like to believe that Obama won't allow this to happen under his watch. I'm inclined to believe so (but hey, I don't know the man, and what he's capable of under certain conditions, say if we're attacked again). But it's not so much whether Obama won't do this, as whether some future president won't do it. And if we don't hold those who did it in the previous administration accountable for its crimes here, there will be no deterrent for future administrations to not do it again. And to those who view it as a one-off, may I refer you to the body bag-based "metrics" used to guage "success" in Vietnam, the carpet bombing of Cambodia, and what Reagan authorized be done in Central America. Hardly a one-off.

    5 - They were mostly bad people, probably deserved it, and it was done under trying conditions. Well, the law doesn't excuse crimes committed against allegedly bad people, we have no way of knowing how many of them were in fact "bad" (especially since only a handful have been tried as of yet), and we're talking about a 5 or so year period, hardly the days and months after 9/11. Plus, in case it hasn't been said often enough, torture not only doesn't reliably work (and anything that doesn't work reliably effectively doesn't work), but it causes all sorts of counterproductive blowback.

    Bottom line, if this isn't your (meaning generally, not the diarist, by "your") issue, then fine, focus on your issues and let us focus on ours. And if you don't view this as that big a deal, then fine again, but the fact is that this is a big deal, not just legally, or morally, but in terms of national security. And if you don't think that not dealing with it now won't hurt us later, then you just don't know history.

    I don't know what Obama's up to here, but this can't be swept under the rug. I can see why he might be doing this for political reasons, but substantively, this has got to be persued, and he can't substantively stand in its way.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:33:27 PM PDT

  •  NO! no no no. No no no no no no (7+ / 5-)


    Look...I'm sure PhARMA would LOVE for us to all turn our heads to some ridiculous, less domestic issue right about now...but this is THE MOST CRITICAL JUNCTURE IN THE LIFE OF AMERICAN HEALTH CARE REFORM EVER!


    Mainstream America is already on board the concept of a truth comisssion and trials...screw this photo stuff.

    PLEASE do not confirm my original fears that this torture investigation would eclipse all domestic issues by putting a THIRD diary on the rec list for this issue.

    Yeah, people thing we can chew gum, walk, and balance eels on our noses at the same time...but can we please, please, please focus on this one issue for a week? ONE week?

    If this is coffee, please bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.

    by Muskegon Critic on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:35:29 PM PDT

    •  No (19+ / 0-)

      Never happened before, not gonna happen now. We multitask here, about multiple issues, always have, always will. And this is just a damn blog. What is and isn't discussed and focused on here doesn't negatively impact what happens out there. The world will go on. Banks will be bailed out. Schools will be improved. Roads will be rebuilt. Some sort of health care solution will be found. And none of that will be held back in the slightest just because we want this particular issue to be properly dealt with. No one has ever convincingly made the case otherwise.

      And no, this isn't about a blue semen-stained dress that threatens to shut down the govenment. Anyone even hinting that is full of it.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:44:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah yes...."just a damn blog. " (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ericlewis0, Front Toward Enemy

        Good point.

        A lowly, worthless "damn blog" that nobody pays attention to.

        Let's talk about our favorite marshmallows!

        If this is coffee, please bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.

        by Muskegon Critic on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:51:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm just saying that if you believe (11+ / 0-)

          that the only thing keeping us from getting universal health insurance is this site's current (but not exclusive) emphasis on other issues, such as torture, then wow, simply wow. I had no idea that I was that powerful!

          And if we are that powerful, how come Obama never does what we want him to do?!?

          Damn, I want my money back!

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:17:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  then go find a health care board to whine on... (7+ / 0-)

          Yes, health insurance is important. But this carries a weight that transcends your pet project. I've got no job, and no insurance - and I find that this is more important to me at the moment.

          This is about how the world percieves us. It's about owning our failures, that we've inflicted on people who live outside our borders.

          If you want to highjack this one, you're not going to find anybody particularly nice about it.

          •  you troll rate a guy... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            miriam, capelza, Same As It Ever Was

            ...expressing his concerns, just because you disagree with him about your pet project, and, yeah, I'll be "nice" to him about it.

            And if you wanna get not-nice with me over that, that's fine, too, sunshine.  I'm sick of people mis-using the "hide comments" feature to try to squelch anybody they disagree with.  That's beyond petty, it's cowardice.  If you can't handle other views being expressed, then do everybody a favor and don't blog.

            "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

            by Front Toward Enemy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:17:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's not how this site works. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueness, gustynpip, Phil N DeBlanc

              Hijacking diaries by bringing in irrelevant topics is not allowed here. Go and write your own diaries.

              •  he wasn't hijacking (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                capelza, Same As It Ever Was

                I don't agree with his concern that health care getting pushed aside, but it was a legit concern for him.  He wasn't hijacking anything, because it was still related to the priority of the issue being discussed, and he didn't deserve to be troll-rated for a civil post.

                I've been around this place long enough to know when the HR system is being abused... and it was.

                "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

                by Front Toward Enemy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:30:02 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, FTE, he is attempting to hijack. He (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  blueness, Phil N DeBlanc, Nailbanger

                  didn't just post his opinion on the subject.  He posted it repeatedly.  He is focused on trying to change the subject - to tell everyone they're wrong to be discussing this subject because his own pet subject is so much more important.  That's not an opinion on this issue - it's simply his opinion of what's most important.  He can write a diary about that if he wants and people can choose to read it or not.  He can't attempt to deflect people from the subject of this diary by repeatedly posting the same essential comment over and over.  That is the epitome of hijacking.

                  •  bad form, sure... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    capelza, Same As It Ever Was

                    Troll-rating worthy, no.

                    "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

                    by Front Toward Enemy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:35:30 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  In your opinion. Have you yet continued reading (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      blueness, Phil N DeBlanc
                      his subsequent posts?  If so, are you still convinced he isn't attempting to hijack the diary?  IMO, both bad form and HR worthy.  We each get to form our own opinions on it, argue it until you're blue in the face, I've had it with MC's insistence we have no right to discuss something we consider crucial and are permitted only to discuss what he thinks important.  That kind of arrogance and petulance is that of a troll.  Period.
                      •  Yesterday... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        ... a numbfuck by the name of "Angry Toy Robot" bounced up and down a thread writing "SPAM SPAM SPAM" to anyone who disagreed with his stance on releasing the photos.  He was obnoxious and an asshole, but I didn't HR him for it, even though he did that to some of my comments.  I called him out on it, but I didn't HR it, because I don't believe in doing that lightly.

                         And he didn't get HR'ed by anybody else, because most of the people agreed with his stance, so they were okay with his "SPAM SPAM SPAM" posts, as disrespectful and disruptive as they were.

                        It's the Daily Kos version of "it's okay if you're a Republican."  

                        All too often around this increasingly-sandbox-like site, people are abusing the "hide comment" function just to squelch unpopular posts.  And I think that's screwing up a lot of the atmosphere here.  It's injudicious and, too often, childish.

                        If MC's being obnoxious - and, yes, I think he is - then tell him he's being obnoxious.  But unless he's actually just being abusive - which I don't think he is, at least not in the posts I've seen - then I wouldn't go HR on it.  

                        Hide ratings are something that I use very sparingly.  Too many people around here are using them in a "crying wolf" fashion just because they don't like being disagreed with.  And I maintain that that's cowardly and an abuse of the priviledge.

                        "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

                        by Front Toward Enemy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:02:32 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Like I said - you're entitled to your opinion. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Phil N DeBlanc
                          I'm entitled to mine.  They just happen to be different.

                          I believe he is being abusive.  I don't give a shit whether he agrees or disagrees or what his opinion is and I've seen plenty of posts which disagree with the diarist and which disagree with my opinion - but which are not HR'd.  I certainly wouldn't have considered HR'ing him had he simply written his opinion.  But when he intentionally and repeatedly posted comment after comment after comment that was not on the subject of the diary, it became abusive, regardless of what his opinion was.  

                          We each get to decide when HRs should be used.  If you feel they're being abused, you can report it.  But I'm afraid the rest of us just aren't obligated to abide by your rules or your opinion or make the same decisions you would.  

                  •  I gave counter-points in the same thread. (0+ / 0-)

                    Or is that not allowed?

                    If this is coffee, please bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.

                    by Muskegon Critic on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:21:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I don't use my HR often, and I'm still (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Phil N DeBlanc

                debating whether to use it for hijacking a diary.  Never done that before.  But in this case, it's so jarring, so inappropriate, so offensive, it seems more than appropriate, it seems right.  

                •  then be sure to bust a few caps... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  on this motherfucker from yesterday.  Just scroll down and look at all the "SPAM SPAM SPAM" stuff.  

                  That's a much clearer abuse than the one that's going on in this thread, and I still don't advocate using the HR function on it.

                  If somebody's annoying, confront 'em.

                  If somebody's actually trying to abuse someone, then HR 'em.

                  But, as you said earlier, nobody's got to abide by my rules about this.  I'm not demanding they do; I'm just saying that I find what they're doing cowardly... and I'm confronting 'em with it rather than putting out any retaliatory-HR's.  But, regardless, the HR function is still being abused.  Look at the hidden comments sometime; at least 50% of that stuff on any given day is just based on disagreement.  It brings down the whole tone of the place, and it wasn't always this way.  

                  Anyway, that's all I'll say, before somebody starts accusing us of "hijacking the thread."

                  "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

                  by Front Toward Enemy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:38:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  The flaw in your argument (19+ / 0-)

      Obama made this torture decision this week. We're not going to follow some arbitrary rule of yours where we don't get to respond to it when he does it.

      If it's not arbitrary, then you should be criticizing Obama for tackling a torture issure during "health care week."

      The crooks are leaving have left office, unprosecuted and scot-free.

      by BentLiberal on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:53:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Classic and self admitted example of trolling (6+ / 0-)

      Trolling Defined:

      * Off-topic posts. There's entire threads devoted to being off-topic: the Open Threads. In other conversations, it is rude to interrupt a diary or story conversation with your own unrelated "threadjacking".

      This user has admitted they are intentionally trying to hijack the comments of this diary.

      Blueness clearly put a lot of time and thought into this diary, they deserve better than this hijacking.

      "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

      by MichiganGirl on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:34:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blueness made an INCREDIBLE diary and had the (0+ / 0-)

        unfortunate luck of being the third such diary on this topic on the rec list.

        My thread is in no way unrelated.

        If this is coffee, please bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.

        by Muskegon Critic on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:40:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Healthcare is obviously not the topic (4+ / 0-)

          of either the diary, or the comments section... which seems to be the point of your hijack.

          You've admitted you're here to disrupt, show Blue some respect and do it somewhere else. You're doing neither yourself, nor your cause any favors.

          "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

          by MichiganGirl on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:46:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're right. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, ericlewis0

            I yield.

            You're much more eloquent than Kovias...or kovian...or ...ko...somethingsomething.

            If this is coffee, please bring me some tea. But if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.

            by Muskegon Critic on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:48:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Just a word on this "hijacking," now that (4+ / 0-)

              it's over.
              You really did make a good point, and a surprisingly relevant one. I'll explain: There are those who point to Health Care Reform as one of the key issues, perhaps THE key issue before the Nation. It is certainly that according to the President.
               The argument goes that investigating/prosecuting possible criminality of the past Administration would be a distraction, suck up all the oxygen, or however it's put.
                So there is not a focus on that issue by the Obama Administration. Whatever his intentions are in the long run regarding this issue, he is clearly distancing himself now.
                Okay, fine, let the wheels turn under the radar to whatever (unknown) extent they are now, and let him focus on health care. (Meanwhile, we can look at, discuss as many issues as we wish). But when that health care plan comes to fruition, given that focus, it MUST be real reform, i.e., one that contains no less than a quality and affordable Public Plan. It must be reform that puts the needs of the American People first.
               If that happens, I'd be fine with the President. That doesn't mean this issue is over, nor are any of the other big issues we face, but yes, he will have shown us something big, something we can understand before we keep moving (and pushing) forward.
                But if the health care plan that emerges, despite our best efforts only supports the status quo, if it puts the needs of the health care industry above those of the People, then this "distraction" argument is nothing more than a load of crap, and we'll have been officially betrayed.

              "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

              by elwior on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:38:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  In short, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                the same plutocratic politicans that excuse, hide and support torture will gladly sell out health-care reform to the insurance companies. Regardless of context and despite all rhetoric, the plutocrats don't give a hot damn about any little-person's life or limb.

                If you are in the clubhouse, you will have health care and you will not get tortured. That, and taking the little-person's wealth and labor is all that matters to them.

                Why should they plutocrats care about little people's life and limb? They have both political parties as their playground, tons of kleptomaniac buddies paying for the fun and only one of those playgrounds have been locked off by the adults.

                It's clear that we need to crack down on all of Congress this next election. Democrat or Republican, they all need to be held accountable for rendering life and limb.

                - A fried California Roll sounds stupidly good. I mean, it's fried. It's automatically good. - aclockworkprple

                by James Kresnik on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:54:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  S/he (Musky Critic) may think that the mojo s/he (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phil N DeBlanc

        … derives from being on the Rec List immunizes her/him against the possible consequences of trolling or being perceived as such.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:20:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  IT is the same DC insiders................ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Kresnik, farbuska

      .......... making decisions for our society on both of these subjects and a whole lot more subjects too.

      We are not a single subject society, Muskegon.

      People are interested in all of these subjects and the burnout due to corporate control of our governance ruling the day has us all frazzeled.

      There are times I have to take a time out to clear my head over all the blood and money that has been stolen from this nation. And when I choose to reingage, I'll pick when and which subject I want to focus on. As I hope you will as well.

      Personally, I favor real healthcare as opposed to an insurance policy that pits my care as inferiour to company profits. I want insurance to die a fast death or be mandated(legislated) as not-for-profit when any insurance is legislated for. period!

      Governments lie....... quote by Izzy Stone and Amy Goodman

      by socks on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:40:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Uprated. The US may very well need a triage. nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  absolutly horrible comment..... (4+ / 0-)

      Why can't people fucking get this??? This isn't just another issue like health care or the economy;

      These pictures are about the purposeful sadistic torture of another human being, human dignity demands full and unfiltered accountability.  Obama's actions are refusing national absolution that we as a nation need to move on. Like or not, it was done in our name so perhaps we as a nation deserve the humiliation that comes with releasing those pictures.

      With Obama invoking the false "national security" argument, it sends the message that these savage acts where not all that bad to begin with.

      Torture is the more purist form of evil imaginable, so for me every other issue is secondary.  

    •  why is this comment being troll-rated? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton

      Some people here don't have any fucking idea what the "hide comment" function is for.  There is nothing trollish or objectionable in Muskegon Critic's post... other than the fact that some people disagree with it and can't handle disagreement.

      I'm giving it a rec just to balance out the missuse of the "hide comment" function.  And you people who can't handle being disagreed with?  Find a new hobby, because you apparently can't handle blogging.  Troll-rating MC's comment is bullshit.

      "Oh, you're agnostic, you think there COULD be a Batman, you just don't know." - Doug Stanhope

      by Front Toward Enemy on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:53:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is not about you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phil N DeBlanc, James Kresnik

      If you want people to focus on healthcare, write your own diaries. Obama is creating this distraction and uses poor rationale to boot. You have nobody to blame for this mess but him.

    •  Uprated. Debateable, yes, but troll worthy, no. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Good MSM spin = helping the rich. (0+ / 0-)

      UHC won't happen regardless. Notice the good spin Obama is getting on the MSM? Big Pharma could pull the plug on the MSM, if they wanted(MSM mega-sponsor/every other commercial)
      The MSM would be smearing the shit out of Obama if big pharma hadn't already been assured that no meaningful healthcare will happen.

    •  You need to (0+ / 0-)

      quit hijacking this diary.

      [-6.25, -5.59] Fox News - Despair for the unbalanced.

      by Phil N DeBlanc on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:13:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As usual this site is all about itself (6+ / 0-)

    and not giving a thought about what our soldiers have to face from enflamed populations who are enraged by what the Bush policies have done. I trust our president on this ten times more than what the self-righteous here have to say.

  •  Exceptional diary, thanks so much. Today is (12+ / 0-)

    the day, at least in my heart, that Dick Cheney brought President Obama down to his level, and that is what I find so disheartening.  At the center of this storm lays the 'credibility' issue for President Obama and if it were not just the torture photographs it would be one thing, but what compounds my ever growing disappointment in our President is the same non-accountability that has been given to the Bankers and Wall Street.  

    The Sharks that are swimming around President Obama (The Military Industrial Complex, the Corporations, Wall Street and the Bankers, and now the 'fake' Universal Health care being cooked up behind the scenes ('single payers' who were arrested for simply trying to have a seat at the table with Big Pharma and the Insurance Companies) are very telling of a trend that tells me loud and clear, our President is not playing chess.  He does not have a 'rabbit of justice for all' that he is going to pull out of his hat anytime soon.  That ship is sailing away from us in a sad way, because you are so right.  Those photos are 'us' and who we have become as a nation.  We are the Nazi's sitting in the gallery at Nuremburg pretending that we were all 'just citizens of Switzerland' who had nothing to do with torture.  Or worse, we have become a nation that secretly believes that the 'world has changed' and this is a different kind of war and new rules apply'... The only thing that has changed is that we have lost our moral courage to do the right thing. We have become Saddam Hussein and Dick Cheney if this is allowed to stand.  I truly am disillusioned on many levels. I guess the 'powers that be' around President Obama are greater than any of us can fathom.  What a amazing diary. Thank you so much!!!  

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. Isaac Asimov

    by Badabing on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:46:11 PM PDT

    •  I'm willing to give Obama some leeway on this (4+ / 0-)

      and related matters, for many of the reasons that have been put forth. E.g. he's still fairly new at the job and consolidating his power and can't risk being taken on by the still very powerful RWNM and its MANY friends in the right-leaning SCLM, there are some genuine national security risks in proceeding too fast on this, etc. We're dealing with the real world here, where it's not just a matter of justice and morality, but also of politics and national security interests. And it's still too soon to tell what Obama's up to here, and where all this is heading. But there are things going on that just don't seem right to me, and in any case, even if Obama is doing this because he truly believes that it's the best thing for the country, we don't know that that's what he believes, and even if it is what he believes, that doesn't necessarily make it right.

      Democracy isn't just about supporting and electing the best people possible and then standing back and hoping for the best. It's about supporting and electing the best people possible and making sure that they DO do their best.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:11:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  a president is only as good as the advisers he (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, Badabing

      chooses to listen to, and his strength to stand up when it is not a political advantage to do so, but to stand up for what is right regardless.

      On the CIA issue and now with the military, is it bad advisers, or that the man does not have the strength of his convictions to really care, now that he is in office?

      The man has changed so much in such a short time about providing an open and tranparent government - that man who wanted to bring the sunshine in, that this man today would not have earned my vote.

      I no longer know what he believes is open government, but continuing on with "that old Bush state secrets" sure will not do it.

      "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." Thomas Jefferson

      by allenjo on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:34:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Also, I'm of two minds on all this (8+ / 0-)

    I want this to be done, but I also want it to be done right, in a way that, one, shows no signs whatsoever (except to those inclined to see them when they don't exist) of being a "partisan witch hunt", as many of those against such investigations call them, two, in no way seriously endangers our national security or troops, and three, stands the most chance of yielding the most desirable outcome in the end, namely justice being done, and strong steps being taken to ensure that this is unlikely to happen again.

    This doesn't have to be, and can't be, done in one fell swoop, and we shouldn't try. From a legal, national security and even political perspective, we have to do this right, meaning deliberately and methodically. So if these photos get kept under wraps for a while longer, and trickle out slowly in a way that minimizes the national security and political blowback, then I'm ok with that. But they do have to be released eventually, especially if legally compelled via FOIA. And I suspect that they will be. The trick is to release them fast enough to sufficiently enrage the public to support investigations, but not so fast that it inflames Islamist hotheads, especially in Pakistan.

    And in any case, this shouldn't even be in Obama's hands, or Holder's, but in the courts'. Obama and Holder can and certainly will argue against their release, but the courts ultimately have the final say. We are, after all, a nation of laws, not men.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Wed May 13, 2009 at 11:59:23 PM PDT

    •  Yep. I think we can do it right AND make it stick (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueness, farbuska, ericlewis0

      But I will be really pissed off if this turns out to have been nothing more than insulating partially complicit Democrats currently serving in congress until next year is over.

      If this is turns out to have been a way of finally snaring Cheney in his own words, it will be worth the wait and frustration.

      I simply don't know...yet.

      No hell below us, above us only sky...

      by rightiswrong on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:50:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's likely about many things (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        farbuska, CherryTheTart

        And we're all only guessing here. But there will come a point in the not TOO distant future where Obama truly does morph into (or reveal himself to have always been) Hamlet, and we all know how that ended. I understand the need for playing bait and switch games with an unscrupulous opposition in a media environment that still favors it even though it's out of favor with the country, and making sure to not give them openings to attack you. But you can only do so much of this before all that you're really doing is playing prevent defense, and no one accomplishes anything that way. And if the GOP ends up preventing Obama from doing anything substantive on these matters by making him constantly play these defensive games for fear of being tagged by them, they will have accomplished their main objectives of staying unaccountable for their past crimes and buying enough time to mount a comeback.

        You win by watching your back AS you proceed forward. So far I see a lot more of the former than the latter, and it's troubling. If he keeps spending most of his efforts protecting himself from the GOP rather than on also moving forward with investigations and such, he will have failed. We didn't elect him merely to stop doing what Bush & Cheney did. We elected him to both stop doing what they did, and start doing the opposite of what they did. And they're not doing enough of the latter.

        Perhaps George McClellan is a better comparison than Hamlet. Either, enough of their MO, and something a bit more aggressive.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:05:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I want a diary that thanks POTUS (5+ / 0-)

    for telling us about these damned photos in the first place. two. weeks. ago. I empathize with the frustration of what feels like watching a game of chess-by-mail, but give him some time to make his next move, PLEASE!

    Cheney tortured detainees to elicit false justifications for invading Iraq.

    by ericlewis0 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:03:59 AM PDT

    •  Um, I think he HAS made his next move (0+ / 0-)

      He decided to not release this photos. I didn't here any mention of the words "for now" in his statement. Did you? It's in the courts' hands now, not Obama's.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:12:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  End game (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sam storm, MKSinSA, Sleepwalkr, ericlewis0

        Are we so damn impatient as a society and detached from reality to think everything has to happen in the now? CSI commercial break, on-demand TV, it seems like your entire argument is based on "if not now, it's no good." That is shallow thinking, torture went on for 6+ years and you want justice served, not by the courtroom but by the court of public opinion no less, in 6 months or less.

        Give me a break, how is justice served if no one goes to jail? The pictures would just add to the counterargument that real justice is somehow "political" - not releasing the pictures now is smart if we want people to truly be punished for this.

        Didn't Abraham Lincoln have less experience than Barack Obama?

        by relikx on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:23:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't play with fire if I were you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico, CherryTheTart

          seeing as how fond you are of straw...

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:25:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tunnel vision (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sam storm, MKSinSA, ericlewis0

            All I'm saying it seems to me that you are boiling the entire extent of the "torture" topic into this decision. I highly doubt Obama sees it that way, maybe I'm wrong but maybe you are being impatient.

            Didn't Abraham Lincoln have less experience than Barack Obama?

            by relikx on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:28:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Who's being impatient? (5+ / 0-)

              Where have I been impatient? I'm not objecting to the photos not being released NOW. I'm objecting to their not ever being released, if it's up to Obama, which, at face value, is what he said today. Thankfully, though, it's NOT up to him.

              "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

              by kovie on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:34:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Competely agree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Obama wears many hats and one of them is Commander in Chief. To your point, luckily he hasn't pretended (so far) to have a crown in his bag like King George.

                If it goes to the Supreme Court that's great. Then we get to have a lawful conversation about these photos, a much better alternative than the S&M Gorefest 2009 that the media would exploit at the expense of Obama.

                Meanwhile Obama gets to distance himself from the fray and the Republicans have to concede his hands are clean. The Chicago way.

                Didn't Abraham Lincoln have less experience than Barack Obama?

                by relikx on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:49:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Silverbird, CherryTheTart

                  I don't necessarily buy the triangulation strategy here, if he intends to fight it all the way. I always thought that you lead by, um, leading, and not letting the other side determine the terms of engagement, which is what he's doing here. I'm saying that I'm ok with waiting this out a bit longer and letting the photos trickle out. But not for putting this off indefinitely, so as to not be accused of being "soft on terror". If that's his motivation here, then he's letting them run his presidency, which is not why we supported or elected him. We really need to get away with mentality that even when they're out of power, the GOP runs the country. Only if we concede that and let them.

                  "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president!" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                  by kovie on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:54:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Speaking of shallow thinking, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Silverbird, lotlizard, blueness, farbuska

          your entire argument against release boils down to a nationwide ad hominem: it's all about the moral failings of the culture that wants to see the photos, not about the gravity of the photos themselves.

          Obama ran on a platform of transparency.  So far he has a mixed record of following through with it (some very good, like releasing the torture memos - or was it too early for that, too, because our our media-addled culture's failings?)

          By the way, our "demand it now" culture has been demanding the release of these photos since 2004.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:38:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, indeed: 2004, when a bipartisan list of (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Silverbird, pico

            … individual Senators who had been allowed to see some of the materials expressed extreme revulsion at what had been done and denounced it as thoroughly un-American.

            What a lot of dishonest spin from our own side!

            By the way, our "demand it now" culture has been demanding the release of these photos since 2004.

            The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

            by lotlizard on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:40:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  What are you talking about? (10+ / 0-)

      It was a member of the Senate (and if I'm not mistaken was actually a republican member that first spoke of them?) that disclosed the existence of these photos, and did it years ago, at the time the first Abu Ghraib pictures became public.

      Other members of Congress then confirmed that the worse photos existed, then the ACLU filed an FOIA suit to get the pictures the members of Congress were discussing in the media released (a request that has been tied in the US court system for years now), and that is how the world knows about those photos.

      President Obama has nothing to do with our knowledge that the photos exist, so if you want to write a diary thanking anyone, thank the members of Congress that let the world know of the existence of the photos in the first place (of which President Obama was not yet a member), and thank the ACLU.  

      "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

      by MichiganGirl on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:17:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the only reason why these photos are covered up (19+ / 0-)

    is because they damage the prestige of the military, the state which uses the troops as its plaything, and the whole arrogant claims to american exceptionalism and general moral leadership. with these photos made public, american citizens get a taste of what the rest of the world already knows, and will have to face what we have done as a country.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:05:03 AM PDT

  •  Sigh. I want heads on pikes. (6+ / 0-)

    That wasn't done for kicks, when it was done.  It was done as a warning to would-be criminals, that punishments were severe in this city.

    Here in the US, punishments are only severe for minor crimes.  For really vile crimes, people collect large amounts of money and walk free.  If it takes Dick Cheney's head on a pike outside the Capitol to change that, so be it.  It would certainly discourage the "whatever" attitude too many of our elected officials are showing towards war crimes.

    However, I believe having one's head displayed on a pike is no longer part of the US Criminal Code.  Also, it's now unusual, which makes it unconstitutional.

    So I'd be happy to settle for humane executions, which are still usual.

    Of course they should have trials, but I think after his public declarations of guilt, Cheney's only possible means of escape is pleading insanity.

    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

    by neroden on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:07:24 AM PDT

    •  whose heads though? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ophelia, Sleepwalkr, ericlewis0

      If I thought immediately releasing the pictures was what was needed to bring the people responsible to justice and that this is our only chance to do that I would be doing all I could to make that happen.

      But I'm not convinced. I'm not convinced that this is required to bring them to justice. I'm not convinced this is our only chance to release them.

      My guess is that it is far more likely to put a few more of our service members heads on pikes in Iraq and Afghanastan rather than accomplish anything here in the US that wasn't going to happen anyway.

      In my opinion we should think of these photos as the nuclear option to be used only when we have exhausted our other options.

    •  I think this was done (0+ / 0-)

      to prove they could and would.  It brought out into the open the kinds of things that have been illigally goning on in all our so-called wars.  I am sure that once they were in the open, our government tyhought we would be ok with them torturing people, including and kids and women.  As for Iraq and Afghanistan, it was to make them mad and make sure they hated us so we could have an enemy to excuse sending our military into their country, also illegally.

      Snobama is not triangulating; he is one of them now with blame sticking to him.  How does he tuck his kids in at night and simultaneously send drones that kill kids in Afghanistan? the elites...actually believe that society can be destroyed by anyone except those who lead them? - John Ralston Saul -

      by Silverbird on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:48:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  to protect the troops, publish the photos (5+ / 0-)

    fantastic diary, thank you for putting such effort into this piece. I will be reading it again shortly.

    I wanted to point out that one argument I've not seen pushed enough is that probably the best way right now to protect American troops, and help restore America's standing is to publish those photos.

    Obama should publish those photos, and offer a heartfelt apology to those who suffered, to the countries it affected, to the US soldiers who were let down by their chain of command, and to the world, and pledge justice for the victims.

    Such an action will do more to protect the troops than this absolute bullshit about not risking 'inflaming the muslim world' - Obama needs to get his head of his butt, because in case he hadn't noticed, 'the muslim world' has been on fire over US atrocities since the invasion of Iraq.

    "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

    by myriad on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:07:34 AM PDT

  •  ABC news just contrasted (4+ / 0-)

    Candidate Obama with President Obama on disclosure of the torture photos.  

    People acting in our names committed torture. "To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world." Full transparency on torture!

    by big spoiled baby on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:11:57 AM PDT

  •  Obama is full of shit. (12+ / 1-)

    The thing that endangers our troops now is the covering up and the lack of accountability for torture. The fact that the U.S. tortured people is already an Al Qaeda recruiting tool. Prosecuting the people who authorized and executed torture is the only way to reduce that and if Obama actually gave a rat's ass about our troops, that's what he'd do. And those photos would sway public opinion more behind prosecution.

    Of course, getting public opinion behind prosecutions is obviously what Obama does not want.

    The United States tortured to death at least 100 people. The idea that we should just let bygones be bygones and not look back is breathtaking in its cynicism.

    Obama is not a good guy. He talks a good game. He has a silver tongue. But his instincts, whether it's Wall Street bail-outs or torture, are to side with the powerful against the powerless. And no one is more powerless than someone being tortured.

    Obama is no more the person he pretended to be in the campaign than Bush was "a uniter, not a divider." Both are complete and utter frauds.

    Secrecy? Covering up torture? Military Commissions? Trillions to Wall Street? Change we can believe in, my ASS!

    by expatjourno on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:28:39 AM PDT

    •  Hope you like donuts, expat. (0+ / 0-)

      Trust me, they're coming.

      Cheney tortured detainees to elicit false justifications for invading Iraq.

      by ericlewis0 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:07:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I don't know. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's a legitimate point of view. Nothing to HR. People are usually pretty good about that.

        Secrecy? Covering up torture? Military Commissions? Trillions to Wall Street? Change we can believe in, my ASS!

        by expatjourno on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:29:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't count me among those 'people' (0+ / 0-)

          "Obama is full of s%#t"
          "Obama is not a good guy"
          "Both (Obama and Bush) are utter frauds."
          Eat up, friend.

          Cheney tortured detainees to elicit false justifications for invading Iraq.

          by ericlewis0 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:59:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's ratings abuse. Read the fucking rules. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            farbuska, CherryTheTart

            Conversely, there is one particular reason troll ratings should never be used: to express disagreement with a poster's opinion. If you disagree, you can say so, but so long as the commentor is stating their opinion civilly, merely disagreeing with your own opinion does not constitute being a "troll". ... Merely having a different opinion and stating it differently from how you would like does not constitute "trolling". Having honest and frequently passionate discussions of the issues is an imperative, if we are to obtain a progressive movement marked with actual successes


            The site standards can be found here. Just because I might think you have your head up your ass doesn't mean I get to HR you.

            Secrecy? Covering up torture? Military Commissions? Trillions to Wall Street? Change we can believe in, my ASS!

            by expatjourno on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:25:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  We are Democrats! (6+ / 0-)

        We don't march lock-step with our leaders like the brain-dead opposition. They demand loyalty, or else. In the end, America has turned on the Republicans, partly because they are homogeneously wrong. We Democrats portray a more complex image and therefore demand more of Americans. I think that they are up to the task, the bigger question is whether the press is up to the task of reporting dissent as thoughtful.

        The reality for Obama is that we will give him strong support from the point that he is the nominee to the day of the inauguration. At that point we reserve the right to disagree. Look at LBJ and the protests of his administration. The folks here at DKOS would be leading the charge. The same may turn out to be true about the Obama administration. I am concerned about Obama and war, torture, health care, the Global Climate Crisis, his managing of the economy including welfare for the unimaginably wealthy investment bankers and his choices for the Supreme Court. So what does that leave? Not much. I certainly would not call him a "complete and utter fraud" but I would allow the possibility that I might be there in a few more months.

      •  Uprated to counter improper hide-rate (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        expatjourno, Sychotic1, The Wizard

        Having just hide-rated someone further up, I feel compelled to uprate the grandparent comment, because the hide-rate is not legitimate according to site standards.

        Conversely, there is one particular reason troll ratings should never be used: to express disagreement with a poster's opinion. If you disagree, you can say so, but so long as the commentor is stating their opinion civilly, merely disagreeing with your own opinion does not constitute being a "troll". ... Merely having a different opinion and stating it differently from how you would like does not constitute "trolling". Having honest and frequently passionate discussions of the issues is an imperative, if we are to obtain a progressive movement marked with actual successes.

        Dislike and disagree with the commenter's statements as much as you like, and say so, but the site does have the standards for the use of the hide-rate, and this case doesn't fit.

        Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

        by Buckeye Hamburger on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:12:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just a point! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sam storm

    While I don't argue with the intent of this article, its the style of the article itself that I find ridiculous. It has an annoying ''kumbaya'', ''we are the world'', ''lets hold hands'' tone to it that seems to rub me the wrong way. And how many variations can you come up with of "Obama is suppressing the release of these photos"? I think you did over a dozen.

  •  It isn't all about us (5+ / 0-)

    I have no doubt that releasing the photos would help drive debate in the US. That would be a good thing.

    I also have no doubt that it would increase animosity from the civilian populations in Iraq, Afghanastan and Pakistan, would help Al'Qaida recruiting and indirectly cost the lives of American soldiers.

    Should the photos be released? Yes. Do they need to be released right now? I'm not convinced they do. I'm pretty sure the people who screaming for the immediate release of these photos aren't likely to have extra people shooting at them as a result.

    Those are people's children, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and parents serving our country in Afghanstan and Iraq. Further risking their lives for the sole purpose of making torture more "real" to Americans sitting safely at home isn't a bargain I'm willing to support.

    •  Not sure I agree, Sam, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ophelia, farbuska, CherryTheTart

      But I recommended your comment because your point is well-taken.  I honestly don't know what the best course of action is regarding the photos.  But I don't want our military put into a more difficult position because of our debate over torture.  It's pathetic that we are even debating whether torture can be acceptable.

      I wonder how much of our military's problems with PTSD result from the burden of knowing on some level that this war was unjust, that it was started using manufactured "evidence" and that we are using techniques that are worthy of Hitler, not America.

      Respect the law: Prosecute torturers.

      by marybluesky on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:46:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the face we show the rest of the world... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueness, farbuska, CherryTheTart

        and it's not a good one. There's a double-edged sword here, that's for sure.

        If these photo's are SO bad, that they CAN'T release them for fear of reprisal, then the debate among our lawmakers is not only moot, but should make you wonder why we're debating in the first place, and not acting on them.

        The politicians have most likely all seen them. Seeing something like that, depending on the severity, should completely remove debate from the equation. If they're so bad they can't be released, it should be in the action stage by now.

        The very fact that they exist, but not releasable, is a recruitment tool for extremists. Somebody trying to convince somebody to strap a bomb to themselves, and blow people up will use the imagination of the target to paint their own pictures.

        This is a serious misstep by the government.

        •  It seems unreasonable (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to believe that these pictures would inflame people's opinion at home in the US but not do exactly the same in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are perhaps more powerful outside the US because many of the techniques are designed to be offensive and shocking to Muslims.

    •  Eh. I think they pretty much know (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billlaurelMD, Randtntx

      the truth and are already into rumors that even magnify what happened.  They aren't THAT big of countries, and it's their residents that have been moving in and out of our detentions.  I just don't think that Rummy and Bush gave a rat's ass what the people there thought, I think they where hiding it from US.

  •  Excellant diary. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah, pico, blueness, farbuska, CherryTheTart

    You put so much of what I feel into it that I can't even comment more than just saying, thank you.

    •  One more thing. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I slept all day because I'm working the overnight at my radio station this morning. I think I am very fortunate to have done so because I would be far more depressed by what went on today in our nations capitol.

  •  I think the longer the government tries to hide (5+ / 0-)

    what happened, the worse it's going to look when the world finally knows what was done.

    Why not just get it over with, so that everyone can finally move on?

    Why not say look, this is what happened, we're not proud of it, but we're taking steps to make sure it never happens again?

    And I know people are going to say that's what the current administration is doing... but it's not.

    An apology is worthless if the apologist won't admit what they did wrong, or even THAT they did anything wrong in the first place. All an apology for an unknown transgression does is make the imagination kick into overtime trying to figure out what the hell was so bad that an entire country felt the need to apologize for it...

    Just clear the air, fess up, put EVERYTHING out on the table, and maybe then the world will start to believe what we say again.

    This beating around the bush, it's just dragging out the inevitable, and making us look even worse than we already do in the process.

    "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

    by MichiganGirl on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:28:50 AM PDT

    •  There will be a time and place (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim J

      but that's not now.

      You don't go for a walk in the woods when there's a forest fire in progress.

      In principal you are correct but just give it some time - if you had a loved one stationed over there - you may be more appreciative of Obama's decision.

      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

      by ctexrep on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:56:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary. (4+ / 0-)

    I have seldom seen a piece that cut to the heart of the matter quite so well.
    This is presuming, but if you sent a version of this to the White House, it might sway their opinion. Maybe not, but one could hope.

    If nothing is very different from you, what is a little different from you is very different from you. Ursula K. Le Guin

    by northsylvania on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:43:10 AM PDT

  •  I think--and this is just a hunch because I have (7+ / 0-)

    no real evidence--that the real problem is that these photographs are "official" documents and their release will set a precedent to open the door to demands for many more images that document just about everything the Pentagon does, including the atomizing of people on the ground with hellfire missiles sent after them by drones.

    So far, the story about the CIA interrogation tapes has helped perpetuate the idea that those were somehow unique and their disposal an exception.  The last part of that sentence is true; the first half isn't.  The military has been documenting everything it's been doing with video images.

    Remember back during Gulf War I when we were treated to images of missiles doing "precise" hits on buildings without causing collateral damage?  Well, that monitoring technology has only improved and provides the basis for after-action reports.
    Once the public becomes aware of the source of the images, they'll demand more.

    Haven't you been struck by how absent images of the Iraq occupation have been?  That's because the satellite imaging is blocked and the location of bases is hidden behind "national security" classification.  Embedding journalists has worked well in keeping the lid on information.

    How do we know about the pictures of the victims of torture?  The released victims told about being photographed and lawsuits demanding compensation for them are also demanding the evidence.

    BTW, there's a provision in the revision to the classification regimen
    EXECUTIVE ORDER 13292 which specifies that classified information does not get declassified by becoming public knowledge.  Don't know if that will hold up in court, but it's obviously designed to deal with the Pentagon Papers scenario.

    Also, what they've really been afraid of is the response of the American people to the images.  The people in the middle east already know what torture and dismemberment and atomization looks like.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:00:53 AM PDT

  •  Who Cares? (0+ / 0-)

    Do you think a majority of Americans care that prisoners in US custody have been tortured? How many Americans spoke up when innocents were being tortured in, say, Vietnam? My perception is that most Americans probably don't care. If torture is portrayed as being for the good of the country.

  •  Thanks very much (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueness, farbuska, CherryTheTart

    The post means a lot to me.

  •  Tthough allPresidentcies are 80% lies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adigal, CherryTheTart

    hypocrisy, ths has become a boiler plate issue for me.

    I plan vote against any incumbent at Federal level. I think Ted Kennedy's seat is up next. Obama will not get my vote either.  I hate pissing in the wind, but if our government can't stand up against tourture, what the hell do they stand for?

  •  the photos would also make clear the torture and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inland, blueness, CherryTheTart

    Abu Gharib were not the exception but the norm "trickle down torture" if you will. Since so many conservatives have come out against what happened at Abu Gharib they would be hard pressed to defend these new images. I think that is the main reason they oppossed the release of the photos.

    "Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime" Aristotle

    by polticoscott on Thu May 14, 2009 at 03:52:18 AM PDT

  •  A Republican idiot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, blueness

    in high elective office (I believe he was Rep S Carolina, but I don't memorize politicians' names and he certainly had that twangy voice from Deliverance) said something to the effect of "if they've been around 500 years they must work".

    As in torture.

    Yeah, doodoohead, not only was the Inquisition a bright and shining moment in European history, but it worked perfectly.

    We're all Catholics, aren't we? America's a Catholic country, right?

  •  can't we just deny it all a bit longer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolita, blueness

    it's really inconvenient to bring this up now.  We've got healthcare reform to pass, NBA playoff are on and sweeps week is coming up.

    You've got the song "See How We Are" stuck in my head now.

    It's time to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask if we are who we want to be.   ...oh great, now Pogo's ringing in my ears...

    "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

    by Mosquito Pilot on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:10:48 AM PDT

  •  I think they should be released, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim J

    The release of these photographs would help greatly in centering this nation's reckoning of its involvement with torture on those most afflicted by it: the victims.


    "Someone who does not see a pane of glass does not know that he does not see it." --Simone Weil

    by AgnesBee on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:51:36 AM PDT

  •  Obama and his staff (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim J, dov12348


    They believe it will put our troops in additional harms way.

    I applaud his decision.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:52:51 AM PDT

  •  It's because Cheneyites deny it happened or deny (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the extent of it.  Still.  Deniability was the reason Rummy didn't want the abu gharaib pics released.  They are making us prove it to them, and

    Relying on criminal investigations to address torture would immediately disappear the issue into the maw of the legal system, the very source and inexhaustible supplyhouse of squid ink. The accused will attempt to turn any proceeding into an endless, monotonous drone, sucking any and all life out of it, until evil, as the saying goes, has been rendered utterly banal.


  •  Americans don't care (0+ / 0-)

    hurt people all you want and however you want as long as it is not them and even better if they are brown.

    American people don't worry that the doc treating their parents may have just finished shoving an illegal oversized feeding tube down someones throat for extra pain and suffering.

    That their children will have to bear the guilt of their actions and inactions.

    Americans see no danger in patriotism.

    Americans have no sense of history or fair play.

    Americans don't do critical analysis.

    Present company excepted of course.

    •  What? (0+ / 0-)

      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

      by ctexrep on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:57:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you have no sense of what generality means NT (0+ / 0-)

      with all due respect, this is a progressive liberal critical thinking community.Absolutist stereotyping can fuck right on off.

      Sorry Republicans, ** We Surround You **

      by BrandonM on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:57:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A photo of a naked girl helped end a war. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AllisonInSeattle, blueness

      Her name is Phan Thị Kim Phúc. A photograph of a murdered boy shook the conscience of the whole country and inspired the civil rights movement. His name was Emmet Till and there's a good diary on him today.

      So if Americans are all the things you say they are, that's all the more reason to show them the photographs.

      Secrecy? Covering up torture? Military Commissions? Trillions to Wall Street? Change we can believe in, my ASS!

      by expatjourno on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:27:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looking at the broader picture (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eagle5, snazzzybird, blueness, farbuska

    I've made a couple of comments in other threads about how it is morally wrong to suppress these pictures, but here's another important point. Looking at the newspapers this morning, I read in the New York Times about the Senate inserting into  the credit card protection bill a completely irrelevant, hugely damaging amendment to remove all gun restrictions in national parks. Something the people who actually work in the parks, yes sometimes putting their lives on the line, universally oppose. I read in the Washington Post about Democratic wavering on card check . Our Democratic leaders on up to the President are starting to get very wobbly on a whole host of issues. They need to trust that when the American people voted for change, they knew exactly what they were voting for. All they need to do is look at the recent slide in the support for the Republican stand on all issues, as well as the approval of the GOP in general, to confirm this. If they renege on that change, including this very important step towards holding the previous Administration accountable for its actions, their support will start to crumble, I guarantee. There's an old joke about Democrats lacking spine. It's no joke anymore - they'd better find it in this critical time.

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:57:03 AM PDT

  •  Obama is Bush Lite (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eagle5, farbuska

    We expected transparency. All we are getting is "No We Can't"  He is caving in on all the important items for the greedy and evil powers that be and neglecting the majority of Americans.

    It is really sad for America.

  •  I'm listening to Morning Joe (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, adigal, BigVegan

    at the moment.

    While the pedigree of that particular show can be questioned, the left leaning slant of the network can not.

    The show this morning has been all about selling Obama's decison not to show the photo's, and sugar coating torture as a necessary evil. Joe Scarborough, who I actually like as talk show host, is claimng that 50% of the public supports torture.

    "It's just those loonies on the left that are against it."

    Well I'm not that that left leaning, and I'm against it.

    How much difference is their between this democratic President and Demcocratically controlled congress the the previous republican controlled one?

    They have given away trillion to the crooked finacal community, have the same stance on social issues as the last government, and where the rubber meet the road, are complicit in America use of torture.

    I don't follow the Darfur situation that closely but I know many Obama supporters villified Bill and by proxy Hillary Clinton on the genocide that occurred in Rwanda. On his lack of action.  I recall reading quotes from Obama that 5,000 troops would hae stopped the (Rwanda) situation. So where are those U.S. troops in Darfur now that he is holding the reigns?  Where is the outcry?

    The healtcare bill will be written by lobbyests and the inducstries that will will profit from it.  We will all pay more, get less, while corporate process go up.

  •  seven separate facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    seven separate facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan!!!

  •  Great Diary, suffering is the core principal at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    work here, just plain human suffering - for it or agin" it?

  •  Obama WH = FAIL ... AGAIN (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueness, HGM MA, gleniris, 888, farbuska

    Seriously O?  You're a Constitutional Scholar.  Who are you pandering to here?  Hawks in your own Administration?  The Cheneys?

    That office deserves better.  We deserve better.  The world deserves better.

    Don't make me file an ethics complaint with the Illinois state bar.

    "It's a gay witches for abortion party Flanders, you wouldn't be interested." - Homer Simpson

    by angry liberaltarian on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:24:36 AM PDT

  •  Really powerful dairy. I was a little confused (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueness, pale cold

    about the issue last night with the 2 rec list diaries for and against it. This diary really helped me understand how I feel about the issue. And I agree with you 100%. Let's just get it out there...truth and reconciliation.

    "indifference is the one thing that makes the very angels weep."-Cornell West

    by misreal on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:32:51 AM PDT

  •  Obama's arguing that releasing the photos will (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, blueness, farbuska

    endanger American soldiers. No. The acts themselves that are depicted in the pictures did so. Bush, Cheney, and their cronies needlessly endangered American soldiers when they took us into Iraq to fulfill the deluded visions of the neocons. We're still there. They endangered American soldiers when they ignored the warnings that 9/11 was about to happen, and then mishandled the Afghanistan war. It is Bush and Cheney's actions, including encouraging the depravities depicted in these photos, that continue to endanger the lives of American soldiers for no good reason. The best way to eliminate the danger is to reaffirm that America does not torture, that what is depicted in these photos is a criminal deviation from our laws, and to prosecute those at the highest levels who thoughtlessly empowered hundreds of suicide bombers with their unlawful actions.

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:34:37 AM PDT

  •  Sorry, But (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, blueness, dark daze, 888, farbuska

    We can't "Move On" until this Disgusting Mess is
    dragged out of the Dungeon and exposed to sunlight
    and fresh air. That includes ALL the Pictures. The
    sooner we start the Better.
    Let people see for themselves what was done in their name.
    Let the people judge for themselves how well they have been
    served by those who approved this policy. The truth,
    however painful, must be known by all of us. Then,
    and only then, will we be able to "Move On".

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:36:23 AM PDT

  •  I'm sure someone above linked this, so (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueness, dmhlt 66, farbuska

    apologies in advance if that is the case.

    Susan Sontag's essay below was titled "The Photographs are Us"  on the cover of the NY Times magazine immediately after the Abu Ghraib pictures were made public:

    The issue is not whether the torture was done by individuals (i.e., ''not by everybody'') -- but whether it was systematic. Authorized. Condoned. All acts are done by individuals. The issue is not whether a majority or a minority of Americans performs such acts but whether the nature of the policies prosecuted by this administration and the hierarchies deployed to carry them out makes such acts likely.


    Considered in this light, the photographs are us. That is, they are representative of the fundamental corruptions of any foreign occupation together with the Bush adminstration's distinctive policies. The Belgians in the Congo, the French in Algeria, practiced torture and sexual humiliation on despised recalcitrant natives. Add to this generic corruption the mystifying, near-total unpreparedness of the American rulers of Iraq to deal with the complex realities of the country after its ''liberation.'' And add to that the overarching, distinctive doctrines of the Bush administration, namely that the United States has embarked on an endless war and that those detained in this war are, if the president so decides, ''unlawful combatants'' -- a policy enunciated by Donald Rumsfeld for Taliban and Qaeda prisoners as early as January 2002 -- and thus, as Rumsfeld said, ''technically'' they ''do not have any rights under the Geneva Convention,'' and you have a perfect recipe for the cruelties and crimes committed against the thousands incarcerated without charges or access to lawyers in American-run prisons that have been set up since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

    by Dartagnan on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:48:18 AM PDT

  •  i dunno (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it seems like a bad idea to release them unless they are presented as evidence in a trial where the administration who authorized them is being tried.

    If the world sees them, they should see the responsible party in connection to them receiving justice for the crime of torture. doe anyone else feel that way? I wonder if this is why Cheney is all over the news media trying make a case for himself.

    The pictures are shameful, but not as much as letting the war criminals off scot free.

    Those who survive are those who adapt.

    by donailin on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:50:11 AM PDT

  •  I know what you're saying here... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, blueness, dark daze

    The prisoners in the photographs that Obama would conceal were--and are--"the poorest," "the lowest," "the least-likable" among us: that is why they were treated as they were.

    ...but I can't help wondering how Americans might view this differently if they only knew how many completely innocent people our government under Bush tortured. In the eyes of many American Exceptionalists, any Arab--or anyone "brown," for that matter--is "the least-likable." But for those Americans who are still made afraid by Dick Cheney's lies and think our government under Bush tortured only terrorists, I wonder if they could feel differently about this if they knew the truth about the innocents. I understand that it shouldn't make a difference, but it might open some eyes long enough to take an honest look at the whole heinous episode.

    (¯`*._(¯`*._(-IMPEACH APPOINT A SPECIAL PROSECUTOR-)_.*´¯)_.*´¯)

    by nehark on Thu May 14, 2009 at 05:58:59 AM PDT

  •  Superb. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueness, dark daze

    Just superb.  Thanks.  And thanks again.

    And again.

    If torture is OK in retrospect, it is OK in prospect as well. That is who we now are.

    by Yellow Canary on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:05:56 AM PDT

  •  Zelikow memo has been found (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, blueness

    and it is being declassified. (I hope the WH will allow it to be released to the public). Senator Whitehouse has seen the memo.

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:09:49 AM PDT

  •  Thank you. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  The soldiers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, BrandonM

    that are in harms way right now are us also.
    But not really. Is your son in harms way right now?
    Maybe he is on the front lines, I do not know. But unless he is, you have no real skin in this game.
    We let the slim numbers of young people who volunteered carry our water vs the 9/11 perpetrators..most americans were with them in 2002 when they went after the Taliban in Afghanistan.
    Now, they say, more danger for them? Screw'em. I want my instant gratification of another opportunity to hammer on Cheney and Bush.
    Never mind that this could impact our soldiers.
    Attacks increased by 200% in the weeks after Abu Garib photos came out. Americans died at an increased rate. Big deal. Screw'wm...I want my Cheney
    The President is headed to Egypt for a landmark speech to the Muslim world in less than 3 weeks.
    Lets make sure there are riots in the streets,de-railing much of the positive momentum in Muslim-Western relations...screw it..not as important as having these photos now. Not next year. Now.
    This is not about us. This is about Cheney and Bush.
    If it was about us, we would worry about your neighbors son who is at a high mountain camp in Afghanistan that is at risk of being overrun when these photos hit the Muslim media. Ever seen those high mountain camps? Not much protection on those high plains..american sons in tents...with a flimsy perimeter. They have been overrun by militants now freed up by the melting snows. They are on the move now.
    I agree with the President and his decision to have the govt present their case again in front of the judge. It will likely fail but it buys us some time to stablize Afghanistan and Pakistan...and for the President's intiative of re-setting Muslim-American relations to get off the ground.
    I recognize most people disagree..fine. The author has put together a good diary explaining their side of the issue.

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We already have evidence of the inhumane acts committed by the Bush administration. Sad to say, both Democrats and Rebublicans are implicated in the briefings and there should be some accountability.
      However, we are presently engaged in 2 wars and we have to think of the soldiers that are out there NOW.
      The memos have been released, photos have been out there, hearings are being held.
      Our soldiers are turning on one another due to the stress of repeated re-deployment.
      Releasing more photos is short sited and we have to support our troops out there and not burden them with the ugly politics of the past.

    •  My son is signing up for ROTC at college (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and I want the photos released. It is our handiwork. I am sorry, we need to see what we have allowed.

      My new bumper sticker: Palin-Satan '12

      by adigal on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:37:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  recc'd (0+ / 0-)

      Now, they say, more danger for them? Screw'em. I want my instant gratification of another opportunity to hammer on Cheney and Bush.

      Im afraid so many here are just so anxious to be self-righteous.

      sort of pisses me off.

      Sorry Republicans, ** We Surround You **

      by BrandonM on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:02:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boy is this good! One of the (3+ / 0-)

    best diaries I have ever come upon at DKos. Much appreciated!

    Why are we on this side so much like the other side when it comes to tribe loyalty? Nada Lemming

    by Matthew Detroit on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:25:04 AM PDT

  •  I don't want to see them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I know a lot happens all over - murders, kids killed by hit and run almost daily. I don't want to see it but I know it exist.
    How many military bases do we have around the world? the people on the bases didn't make them. The people who ordered the things in the pictures need to be punished as others have in our past. Not the ones who tried to make a better life for themselves and joined for one reason or the other. They are the little people.
    There are all kinds of people in this world. It's not a positive thing to let the wacko's grow in their hate of America. It will piss them off and it will cause more people to die.
    I know what the Bush crime family did...I don't have to see it. I only want our moral laws followed with less death as possible. Let the ones who can bring justice see the pictures, don't show them to my children. We've seen enough already...we know what they did.
    We have to close these military bases around the world too.

  •  Hiding facts is bad enough (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, blueness

    It's what the likes of Nixon and Cheney do.

    Why would Democrats choose to hide their facts?


    The Victorian novel is right. Possessiveness, controlling others and not listening to your own heart always goes badly. - MKKendrick

    by cskendrick on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:35:06 AM PDT

    •  their = Republicans' (0+ / 0-)

      The Victorian novel is right. Possessiveness, controlling others and not listening to your own heart always goes badly. - MKKendrick

      by cskendrick on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:35:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the way I hear it is the commanders (0+ / 0-)

      on the ground in iraq and afghanistan don't want the pictures released, because they believe the taliban will be able to use them as a recruitment tool.  

      •  You heard that because the admin is saying it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and it's being widely repeated.

        And it might even be what the commanders are saying.

        Is covering up war crimes a good or a bad thing to do, even if American officers are for doing so?

        If so, I'd like them to think not paying my mortgage ever again is a good idea, as well.

        Seeing as how the military has legitimacy to give American values a situational pass, why not give the regular working stiff a break?

        Because no one dared show torture pictures before, Emmett Till was in harms way.

        by cskendrick on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:15:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They are probably worrying about their troops (0+ / 0-)

          and retaliation by by non combatants.
          Prosecutions start at home, Cheney has already said enough to get himself,Bush and a lot of others convected. There is no cover up going on, there is investigations going on, that takes a whole.

        •  These pictures dont matter now (0+ / 0-)

          What matters is what caused them is prosecuted,convicted,and punished.

          Less suffering, Less death, more peace, more reconciliation, more US goodwill abroad (not less).

          Make an example out of Cheney, a BIG example....we've already SEEN ENOUGH pictures to do that. you are just advocating throwing gasoline on a fire that will already burn its intended victim (except you'd rather just burn the entire house down than just scorch the floor)

          Sorry Republicans, ** We Surround You **

          by BrandonM on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:07:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tell that to Emmett Till (0+ / 0-)

            I'm sure he wished someone published photos of an earlier lynching.

            He might still be alive.

            Because no one dared show torture pictures before, Emmett Till was in harms way.

            by cskendrick on Thu May 14, 2009 at 12:21:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Stop republicaning me (0+ / 0-)

              You and all these harpies LIKE YOU are so absolutist you dont even understand the man you elected president.


              Obama represents THAT part of the party. It doesnt mean capitulation or the pathofleastresistence or all the other red herrings you are trying to charge him with right now.

              I means sometimes you step back from your overwelming emotions and you say "is this RIGHT GIVEN THE CONDITIONS"

              Emmett Till was a domestic crime issue. Government authorized torture of foreign citizens in an occupied country is an INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS incident.

              They are not EVEN CLOSE to being on the same scale, nor should they be treated with your moral absolution bullshit.

              When it comes to international affairs, the question we have to ask ourselves is this:What causes the least harm?

              DO we endanger the lives of thousands of US troops, which in turn would endanger the lives of the people they are supposed to be protecting by creatingt havoc? Or do we treat this information with kid gloves and release it when the time and place is most appropriate?

              Torture is wrong, but its wrong because it doesnt WORK. when you torture you devolve your society into something that eats itsself, which causes far more harm than good. Not because violating the rights of one person not to feel pain are the same as genocide. but BECAUSE IT CAUSES genocide (metaphorically speaking)

              This is complex stuff here, this isnt some halfassed church service we're attending here, there are lives at stake, and not the bullshit ticking timebomb scenarios either, this is REAL.

              Emmett Till's situation did not involve the spectre of causing lives to be lost that are in fact innocent. This does. refusing to acknowledge the difference puts you squarely in the camp of people we dont need to listen to.

              Sorry Republicans, ** We Surround You **

              by BrandonM on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:30:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you mean harpies like the Framers (0+ / 0-)

                of the Constitution, no, I imagine you squarely place them in the camp of people that a detestable "we" doesn't need to listen to.

                Oh..and about stepping away from those "overwhelming emotions"?

                (points up to your post)

                Need I say more? :)

                Because no one dared show torture pictures before, Emmett Till was in harms way.

                by cskendrick on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:37:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  oh, and about government sponsored torture (0+ / 0-)

                It is indeed an international incident. It's a direct violation of treaty law.

                It's not the same as lynching a young African American.

                It's even worse.

                And as you say - What causes the least harm?

                Last I checked, not torturing people does.

                Stopping torturing people is a distant second, but the best we got.

                And part of stopping torture is investigation, prosecution and punishment of offenders.

                And that sort of thing starts with facts of evidence.

                And you stipulate all of this. We have no argument.

                And no one mistakes international politics for church. You do not, and I do not.

                And saying that the people of, say, Iraq, who have lost at least a million of their kindred while being protected from harm by our forces, will be worse off if they have access to pictures of what they have gotten to see, up close and personal for six years, is laughable. They have a clue what's happened to their country, they know who did it to them, and that is why once the American leave they are going to finish become best friends with their traditional enemies, the Iranians.

                But, being rational, pragmatic and realistic, you know this.

                And being someone who does not let their emotions run away with them when talking about matters of grave importance to American national security interests, knows this as well.

                Because no one dared show torture pictures before, Emmett Till was in harms way.

                by cskendrick on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:46:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ok, actually you're right. (0+ / 0-)

                  No not really.

                  and as you say - What causes the least harm?

                  Last I checked, not torturing people does.

                  Stopping torturing people is a distant second, but the best we got.

                  And part of stopping torture is investigation, prosecution and punishment of offenders.

                  And that sort of thing starts with facts of evidence.

                  1.We're not threatening to torture anymore people, if you think its still going on, then go ahead and indict the current administration, dispense with your pleasantries. The halfassed "obama is capitulating" talk is really disgusting.

                  2.Stopping torture but its the best we've got? Distant second. No, its not. You are ridiculous. How about not fueling the fire of our enemies with recruitment material until after we've prosecuted and punished the guilty. Unless you think this is the only way that could possibly happen, I assure you prosecution will likely occur whether or not these pictures get released at your preferred point in time. the ACLU is not god, the ACLU does not run this country, the ACLU is not infallable.

                  3.Facts and evidence already exist, running it around in the press and then REACTING TO IT by prosecuting those responsible, puts people's lives in danger. Im sorry you think thats a joke and unrealistic, but I trust the assumptions of military commanders on the ground in this particular summation than anyone sitting over on this side of the pond banging away on a computer.

                  You are not in Iraq, you are not in Afghanistan, you do not fully comprehend the intensity of our situation in the world, Moral absolutism will not save us in this construct. Only careful diplomacy will. Do we deserve to be saved?

                  if you dont think you do, then go steal the pictures and hand them out on the streets of Baghdad yourself, instead of letting other people take the repercussions of your ideas for you.

                  A lot of our service men and women just wanted to help over there, a lot of them voted for Obama, a lot of them just wanna come home to their families, and if called upon again, know that they will be at least fighting with the cursory good will of other nations. You dont care about that, all you can think is how to clean your guilty little conscience by releasing a few pictures.

                  Here's some reality for you: This is the price you pay for letting our country elect Bush, the is the price all get to pay, we dont get to have a clear conscience, we have to suffer the cowards' death for a while in this case, because those men and women over there (still STUCK over there in my opinion) didnt do anything wrong, offering up innocent lives for the sake of feeling patriotic absolution for our crimes is NOT OK.

                  we dont just get to let other people take all the shots for us as we scribble out morally righteous platitudes on the internet. We all know what is right, we all want to punish those responsible for ordering this to occur, we don't have the right to endanger innocents needlessly for the sake of it, when there are other options available.

                  we will prosecute
                  we do not need anymore "evidence" to make it happen, we're already holding hearings we're already loading up the legal guns, simply throwing more fuel on a fire is not going to get us any results.

                  it won't make us right, it won't make the world respect us more, it'll just put people in danger.

                  There's something else that needs to be addressed here: You are not in the cabinet of the whitehouse, you do not get briefed daily on the state of the entire world by the greatest most in depth intelligence agency the planet has ever seen, you do not see the bigger picture in all of this, as much as I think bush was wrong about almost every foreign policy decision he made, I came to that opinion with the forethought that I could not possibly know everything he did. I could however know what those who inform him did, and they have come forward (almost from the time decisions were made) to explain the information themselves. We know he was wrong because we know now the same information he knew. Obama's demeanor and all accounts of him as a man paint him as someone categorically different than an idealogue like Bush. It's easy to see that an idealogue would make decisions that oppose the logic of the facts at hand, Obama is by all accounts not that sort of person, he is considered by both those who know him personally and dont, as someone who makes decisions based on the facts and logic, not on blind ideology. My biggest complaint with criticism at top level politicians is that we as citizenry do not have to made compromising decisions as they do, it does not mean they dont make blatantly WRONG decisions, it does not mean we cant call them out on blantantly wrong decisions, but in this particular case.

                  in this case, where we have people saying "hey lives hang in the balance", and by all logical summary we can say thats a good estimation of what may be the case, we dont have any reason to think we're being lied to, then faulting someone for trying to err on the side of saving I think being a pisspoor armchair quarterback.  

                  Sorry Republicans, ** We Surround You **

                  by BrandonM on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:38:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  What an intellectual post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueness, satanicpanic

    This kind of deep thinking and analysis is rare. Thank you and keep it up!

    Well? Shall we go? At least that man is gone.

    by whenwego on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:40:46 AM PDT

  •  Regardless of who it is (0+ / 0-)

    I think we are letting Cheney and the rest of the rethugs direct this torture issue. THe democratic party needs to grow a back bone.

    Now if the Generals, in Iraq and Afghan, say releasing them is not in the best interest, then why would Obama open his mouth 3 weeks ago and say he would. That shows inexperience, which the rethugs, have tried to put on him since he ran for president.

    I think its a back out cowardley move b/c the right is screaming and them and they cant scream back. If he would never had said he would release them I might feel differently. However I am very skeptical!

  •  More long-view from pragmatist-in-chief (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, GN1927, MKSinSA

    Everyone knows the photos will come out sooner or later. Obama has calculated that there's less risk in separating the administration from their release (delaying it before his Egypt speech) -- absorbing hits from his base -- than in fueling more rage against the US right now. Clearly his calculations are complex, and we don't know all the details. Given his track record as a progressive pragmatist, I'm going to trust him with this matter until I have a good reason not to. Since he's so often ahead of the game, and willing to delay defending himself, it sometimes takes awhile to see his long view.

    •  Is there anything that Obama does that you're (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      not going to dress up as "the long game". It's a serious question.

      •  Conversely: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, MKSinSA

        Is there anything Obama can do to satisfy the ultra-left purists on this site?

        •  Yes, and why aren't we hearing... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...critics give him more credit for the decisions that matter most -- e.g. he has definitively put an end to "enhanced interrogation."

          The country is indeed changing, and I'm very glad he's shepherding the changes, smartly, pragmatically, and patiently.

        •  I'm sure there isn't. He's done plenty to satisfy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          me thus far, but this isn't one of them. I'll take your unwillingness to answer my question as a "No, there is nothing he can do that I won't dress up as the long game".

      •  Serious? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's hard for me to take your question seriously when it has no specific substance. All you're doing is hyperbolically suggesting that a defender of Obama is blindly rationalizing -- whereas, in reality, Obama has repeatedly and consistently over the past few years given me MUCH greater cause to trust his long view than to doubt it.  

        •  Over the past few year? Huh? So what has he done (0+ / 0-)

          from the time he was a senator (or before) up until now has he done that has reinforced your view of obama and the long game?

          •  It could fill a book (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Because it's one of his defining features. Just think back on all the times he was initially pilloried for a stance or a statement ("talking to our enemies"), or taken heat from his base (autoworkers or black churches), or delayed a response until he was clear on the best approach (the economic collapse)... time has almost always vindicated him. The occasional exception (Judd Gregg) shows he's human.

            •  But.. time has yet to vindicate him (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              on any of those examples.  Not saying that it won't.

              •  I'm just saying... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                One has to be trying awfully hard not to see how interested, by nature, Obama is in the long chess game. Just look at the differences between his campaign (visionary in both tactics and strategies) and Hillary's (constantly putting out each day's fires).

                But most of the critiques he's receiving on this photo issue make him sound either like an un-curious Bush or a Cheney thug -- which is profoundly contrary to all that we know about Obama if we've been paying attention.

    •  Breaking!!!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Obama steps in dogshit.
      Supporters hail the brilliance of his strategy.

      "The spreading of feces on his shoe sole is classic Obama." One supporter exclaimed "Obviously lowly folks like us don't have all the information, and we are not worthy to question his intentions, but the sheer genius of his strategy should be noted."

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:17:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent piece of writing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I suspect that these materials evidencing torture will see the light of day and your diary beautifully articulates why.  Knocked it out of the park again, blueness.  Enthusiastic rec.

    With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. - President Obama

    by GN1927 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 06:51:18 AM PDT

  •  The precious! The precious! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We must have the precious, that will change everything!

  •  Bullshit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, MKSinSA

    I stopped paying income taxes on 2000.  I live off of a VA compensation from your tax dollars.  I have in no way contributed to this situation and resent the accusation that I am somehow responsible.  I even left the country in 2004 and awaiting new citizenship in europe.

    The assumption of collective guilt is pure and plain bullshit, there are those who have American passports who don't approve, don't pay taxes, and don't contribute to an economy that supports torture.

    Don't try and snare me in your web of collective guilt, I am not going to feel guilty

    "Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people." - Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1821

    by Jeffersonian Democrat on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:09:24 AM PDT

  •  "We do not torture"... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, blueness

    according to a certain past leader.  Releasing those pictures would force us to recognize that all the denials were lies.  Stripping away the defense mechanism of denial is an action that few would voluntarily take, and apparently the current administration is just as loath to do so as the past was.  

    Personally, I'm torn about releasing those photos publicly.  Yes, it is important to acknowledge the extent to which our leaders and their minions violated national and international laws, as well as the rules and boundaries of civilized behavior.

    But, I wonder, would releasing those photos only result in another round of prosecuting and imprisoning a group of scapegoat Privates, and result in more US troops being killed in vengeance, while those who devised and ordered the reprehensible actions continue to live in luxurious freedom, while defending their actions on cable news network blitzes?

  •  Excellent article at Common Dreams- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AllisonInSeattle, allenjo

    Cheney's role in torture Deepens-

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." Blaise Pascal ...

    by lyvwyr101 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:18:15 AM PDT

    •  That other war criminal, Condoleezza Rice (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueness, MKSinSA

      University of Calgary.

      Rice dogged by protesters in Calgary.

      But Rice, dubbed "the Warrior Princess" for her role in the Bush administration, told a Calgary audience Wednesday night that she is not bothered by such short-term views.

      "Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same," she said, without referring directly to the accusations of torture against the Bush-era administration swirling in Washington.

      As George W. Bush's national security adviser from 2001 to 2005, Rice was among top officials to approve so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" adopted by the CIA, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other coercive tactics, which critics have labelled as torture.

      Rice declined to take questions at a photo op to open the University of Calgary's new School of Public Policy before her appearance as the keynote speaker at a $500-a-plate dinner for 1,100 people, which raised $1 million.

      "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." Thomas Jefferson

      by allenjo on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:03:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueness, allenjo, Wisewood

        sent Ed Stelmach an email explaining to him that in the US, many people are working very hard to bring Condoleeza Rice, and others from the Bush White House, to justice for War Crimes.
          I also told him that if he believes accused War Criminals provide a good example for young people in Canada-he was certainly entitled to his opinion.    
          But in the US, many people would not consider a criminal of any type to be an adequate example for anyone-sepecially our childen. Here's his contact info should you feel so inclined-

        Email Address

        Mailing Address
        The Honourable Ed Stelmach
        Premier of Alberta
        307 Legislature Bldg
        10800 - 97 Avenue
        Edmonton, AB
        T5K 2B6

        Phone Number
        (780) 427-2251

        Fax Number
        (780) 427-1349

        "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." Blaise Pascal ...

        by lyvwyr101 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:19:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Uhm... (0+ / 0-)

          To me, it's a little unlikely that many students and\or young people got to listen to Condoleezza Rice speak at the Calgary Hyatt Regency Hotel.  It was a fundraising dinner for the U of C's School of Public Policy - a $500-per-person affair, "business attire required."  That's more expensive than the tickets to George W. Bush's speaking engagement, when he was in town a couple months ago.

          More likely, it was corporate big-wigs and Petroleum Club members in attendance, again.... and perhaps, for good measure, a few local conservative politicians and activists with money to burn.

          But sending an email to Ed Stelmach will do very little or nothing - honestly, he has little or no control over whom the University of Calgary invites, much less at a fund raising dinner organized on behalf of a major donor to the university like James S. Palmer.  And, even if he did.... well, to be blunt, he doesn't even pay attention to his critics here at home.  So I wouldn't put much faith in him caring about ones from out-of-country.

          You want to protest, send an email to the Executive Director of the UofC's School of Public Policy;

          DR. JACK MINTZ
          Executive Director and
          Palmer Chair in Public Policy

          Or, maybe, the President of the University;

          Dr. Harvey P. Weingarten

          You might have better luck.

          ... Where is Baldwin?
          ... Où est Lafontaine?

          by Wisewood on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:52:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Will go read it, thanks tip. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Be good to each other. It matters.

      by AllisonInSeattle on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:57:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would like to add one thing and tell (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, blueness

    our beloved President, the damage that you are talking about Sir had happened long time ago even before the release of the Abu Ghraib pictures in 2004, it happened because of the recklessness of the previous administration when it invaded a country with no clear and working plan of how to run it after the invasion or even have possible scenarios to what could happen and what are the proper actions to deal with aftermath. Releasing those pictures will prove our good intention to distant ourselves from the ugly past administration and revoke its cowboy mentality for the last eight years.

  •  Obama's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    choice of McChrystal is interesting-

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." Blaise Pascal ...

    by lyvwyr101 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:27:30 AM PDT

  •  You've have brought it all out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for all of us to see but as you know and have said we are not normal.

    I heard it said that leading in new directions usually involves the intelligent to define those directions. It is only the intelligent who can perform and make sense of the thought-experiments necessary to make change.

    In areas as important as national character and cultural leadership we must first define the character traits of a nation. We can't have people who can barely think beyond their noses making policy because invariably that policy will be become which embraces survival of the fittest.

    You've laid out an insightful vision of where we need to go. I think you've captured it so well with this.

    Viewing the photos that Obama would keep from us would trigger that atavism, and from that would spring empathy. Americans who haven't the time or the inclination to follow endless streams of words about torture would understand, in viewing these photos, exactly what we were about.

    Thank you.

    I'm Ron Shepston and I'm not done yet. There's much left to accomplish.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:30:14 AM PDT

  •  Realistically, we can't get it. But we should try (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think the reality of all this is that the only way most of us can understand any of this in any real way is through some kind of great work of drama or literature.

    We can understand what the people in Orwell's 1984 are going through. But, in general, we can't really understand the photos or the narrative descriptions of the evil that our contractors did in our name.

    Along the same lines: I can remember the narrative account I constructed of what went on when I had my C-section a few years back, but even I can't really understand what I was going through at that point, even though I was the protagonist, I was fully conscious and I wasn't in any pain. I can't even really understand or remember my own wedding all that clearly, let alone get into the head of someone being tortured.

    Probably one of the worst things about torture is that it's another way to isolate people and make it so that it's completely impossible for them to be understood, let alone feel understood.

    But at least we can show that we recognize that what we did and encouraged others to do is awful, and that we're trying to understand what we did and make amends.

  •  This is so bad (4+ / 0-)

    My hatred for the rethugs may never be more acute than right at this moment.

    I'm worried sick about my little brother in Iraq and am deathly afraid of fanning the flames of anti-Americanism in case it causes even one extra US death.

    On the other hand I want this evidence used to punish these evil little men who did this 'in my name'.

    Once again the rethugs have constructed another hideous Gordian knot that we now have to unravel.

    No matter- In this case I just have to come down on the side of safety. If the possibility even remotely exists that releasing the photos could cause more Americans to die then color me selfish. I just want those kids to come home so much more than I want immediate justice.  

    'Can someone die from a broken finger?' Miami Blues

    by Psychotronicman on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:32:10 AM PDT

    •  I will say (3+ / 0-)

      a prayer for the safety of your little brother Psycho.

    •  Juan Cole's hypothesis: (0+ / 0-)

      ...You could imagine a conversation going this way between Odierno and Obama (am rubbing my chin and that hokey wavy dream special effect is coming up on the screen):

      ' Odierno: Sir, with all due respect, the release of these photos will endanger US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. You must oppose the judge's ruling.

      Obama: I've already made my decision on that issue.

      Odierno: I thought you wanted a clean withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq.

      Obama: Yes. And . . ?

      Odierno: If we get a new wave of JAM and al-Qaeda attacks coming off outrage at those photos, Iraq could become unstable enough to delay the withdrawal timetable.

      Obama: You're saying you might not be able to get out of the cities by July 1 of this year, or might not be able to get combat troops out by September 1 of next, if these photos are released?

      Odierno: It is a real possibility.

      Obama: I want our combat troops out of Iraq on the current timetable.

      Odierno: I'm not sure it is realistic, sir. It sure as hell isn't if those pictures rile the Iraqis up. '

      If that is the way the conversation went, and this is pure speculation, it would make some sense of Obama's reversal. That is, he really doesn't want to do anything to send Iraq back into insurgency and tie down US troops there.

      If this consideration did drive the reversal of position, I think it is unfortunate. The US is more likely to get past the mistakes it made 5 years ago if it comes clean and seeks reconciliation than if it goes on trying to cover up the past even though everyone knows what happened.

      "...even though everyone knows what happened", indeed.
      So. Was that an oxymoron, Professor Cole?
      or you, being 'hoky-wavy-tongue-in-cheek', sir?

      "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will in time produce a people as base as itself." -- Joseph Pulitzer

      by Sybil Liberty on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:15:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  well said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, blueness

    We must acknowledge "what is." I believe President Obama has thought deeply about it, but he has taken the most expedient course. His reasoning is sound (not to put our troops in more danger) but we as a people must own up to what was done in our name, and repudiate it. How can we do that if "it" is concealed from us?

  •  No, it's not me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sorry.  I've got enough responsibility, I'm not going to load up on bullshit that others perpetrated.

    If Obama really believes that releasing those photos would jeopardize our troops and our efforts in the region, then he did the right thing, however unpopular it might be around here.

    Hey, Glenn, I'll give you something to cry about.

    by The Creator on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:49:19 AM PDT

  •  OK, this part is just bullshit: (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, Into The Stars
    Hidden by:

    Today's act, however, is a selfish act. It dismisses the interests of all others in this world but armed Americans serving in countries where they are not welcome, as well as the vaporous interests of that sinister shibboleth known as "national security." His decision today is cramped, cabined: oldthink. As such, it is unworthy of him.

    What the FUCK.

    Those armed Americans are serving in Afghanistan because that lawless nation served, and serves (along with its ungoverned border region with Pakistan) as a safe zone for extremists who would gladly saw your fucking head off in spite of your empathetic liberal sensibilities.  Oh, look, the Taliban and Al Qaeda, murderers of Americans and other innocent human beings, don't welcome us.  Oh boy!  We better leave!

    You have got to fucking be kidding me.

    I'd troll rate this diary if I could for that statement.

    Fucking shark jumper.

    Hey, Glenn, I'll give you something to cry about.

    by The Creator on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:55:48 AM PDT

  •  This should be between the courts and the victims (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This issue has become too politicized.

    "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality." - Dante

    by jazzence on Thu May 14, 2009 at 07:58:09 AM PDT

  •  Rod Marinelli was the the coach of the hapless (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AllisonInSeattle, blueness

    Detroit Lions during last year's 0-16 debacle. At the end of the season he told his team, "This is us. We own this. We did this. So man up."

    While I'm not crazy about using sports metaphors because it is overdone. In this particular case, I think the quotation is correct regarding both our personal and collective responsibility. And I might add, the people who represent the party that preaches "accountability" are sure doing a lot of weaseling on this issue. The "but she knew about it too" argument is pathetic. If "she" did, she needs to go also. This ain't about party. (And I read emptywheel/Marcy Wheeler every day, so I am aware of the shakiness of the accusation).

    If anyone has already mentioned Coach Marinelli and the quotation in previous comments, please accept my apologies for the drive-by comment. I did not read all the posts in this thread.

    "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

    by Uwaine on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:03:27 AM PDT

  •  this is the essence of it for me, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueness, misreal, MomFromHlwdFL

    and you write in such a beautiful, descriptive voice.  

    I want to think that Obama himself is playing some amazing game of chess and I am 3 moves behind.  That there is more to this decision than I can possibly know.  

    I have felt for so long the overwhelming guilt of all this.  Of my non-action or non-involvment for years.  Indeed, this is us.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by Texanomaly on Thu May 14, 2009 at 08:20:02 AM PDT

  •  Timing is everything (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, blueness, MKSinSA, Petey2

    The timing of the president's decision suggests that a key factor behind his switch of position could have been a desire to prevent the release of the photos before a speech that he's to give June 4 in Egypt aimed at convincing the world's Muslims that the United States isn't at war with them. The pictures' release shortly before the speech could have negated its goal and proved highly embarrassing. Even if courts ultimately reject Obama's new position, the time needed for their consideration could delay the photos' release until long after the speech.

    McClatchy News

    Why doesn't Obama want us to see the photos?

    It is not 'endanger the troops' it's 'endanger Obama's middle east policy,' according to the above.

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:16:11 AM PDT

  •  The American People LOVE to see photos of Torture (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's why they reelected Bush in 2004.  They were so pleased with what they saw coming out of Abu Ghraib.  The American People LOVE to see naked shit-caked Muslims being bitten by German Shepherds.  And in 2004 they said to Bush:  MORE TORTURE PLEASE, WE ARE SCARED OF ISLAM.

    "If the thorn of the rose is the thorn in your side Then you're better off dead if you haven't yet died."

    by whitewash on Thu May 14, 2009 at 09:22:05 AM PDT

  •  One Step Back (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, CherryTheTart

    If these photos and videos depict what another diary indicates they may (via Seymour Hersh's statements), then withholding the release is not selfish, nor is it wrong - it, in fact, may be a legal necessity.

    We need to know more. If they really are that bad, however, the "moving forward" option has to be off the table. Prosecution is the only path.

    We just need to take a step back and make sure we really know what's going on. Right now, I'm not sure we do. I'm not sure Hersh is correct, and if he is correct, we all need to see what the administration will do about it.

    Blaming the UAW for the the auto industry's woes is like Fox blaming minorities for the housing crisis. Not only wrong, but sickeningly so.

    by surfbird007 on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:07:23 AM PDT

  •  The scariest thing to me is, (3+ / 0-)

    since the abuses of power by the Bush administration's executive branch(the right to independently classify someone as an "enemy combatant", to torture them etc.) have not been criminalized, those same executive powers can be used by a future administration, if it so chooses, to control and oppress the US population.
    The Chinese government uses torture to control and oppress it's population. They simply classify human right activists(people who stand up for freedom of expression, due process, reproductive freedom, and labor rights etc.) as _criminals against the state_ , put them in "black jails"(against international law) and torture them(sound familiar?).
    It was never about "terrorism", or the US government would have been more serious about enforcing VISA laws(which may have prevented 911), better securing our ports/borders/points of entry etc., instead of violating the right of US citizens (surveillance without oversight etc.).
    What it looks like is the US is trying to become more "Globally competitive", using oppressive regimes (i.e. China) as the model.

  •  Once again (0+ / 0-)

    Today's act, however, is a selfish act. It dismisses the interests of all others in this world but armed Americans serving in countries where they are not welcome, as well as the vaporous interests of that sinister shibboleth known as "national security." His decision today is cramped, cabined: oldthink. As such, it is unworthy of him.

    Um one outcome saves lives at the cost of "transparency" one outcome costs lives with the benefit of "transparency"

    There is a HUGE GAP between transparency and torture in terms of wrongs in this world.

    if you cant grasp praticality, you proove that you dont belong anywhere near making important decisions.

    The world we live in is RARELY a place of absolutes. Certain things we DO compromise on, certain things we dont (or at least shouldnt)

    We all agree torture causes more harm than it does good, but you will not and cannot make the same argument for simply "withholding information".

    Sorry Republicans, ** We Surround You **

    by BrandonM on Thu May 14, 2009 at 10:53:31 AM PDT

  •  The photos are coming out (5+ / 0-)

    The second circuit will issue an order to that effect by the end of June and even if it goes to the SCOTUS, expect an order by the end of summer (5-4, of course, with Souter's replacement casting the deciding vote).  Then Obama can go back to the generals, the CIA, and the wingers and say, "Hey, I tried, but my hands are tied."

    Think of Obama in a card game like Euchre.  He's got to play his trump cards in order.  The "Holy Grail" memo was a low trump.  The memos King Dick wants released are higher trump because they directly contradict the Dick.

    These pictures are the right bower, the highest valued card in the deck.  He's not playing that one until he's ready to put a special prosecutor to work, which won't be until after health care reform passes.  Because, like it or not, prosecuting the previous administration for war crimes will suck the air out of everything.  And will make a great backdrop for the 2010 midterms.

    The pix are what will send the whole torture thing over the top, bring it onto the evening news, force Cheney's lawyers to remind him that everything he says can and will be held against him in a court of law (and btw, this is a potential death penalty offense).  Release the pix now and we don't get Cheney incriminating himself on the TV every night.

    Trust the Obama political jujitsu.  Timing is everything.  Remember that war crimes have no statute of limitations and these things can take time. Jonathan Turley said last night, it's the bait and switch administration.

    Oh...great diary.  Really enjoyed it.  Very eloquent.

  •  I would recommend this diary 100 times if I could (4+ / 0-)

    Beautifully written.

    Maybe this is overly Catholic of me, but I feel that we all - every one of us - in the USA, bear guilt from these acts.  They were done by MY government in MY name.  I may have been kicking and screaming against it, but I am dirtied by the evilness of this torture, nonetheless.  Those prisons carried our flags and were run by people we pay with our money.  I was not a willing participant, but I am involved, whether I like it or not.

    I need this stinking act to be aired out, so we can all look at ourselves and what we let ourselves become as a nation.  So we can all ask ourselves how to heal from this and how to ensure it will never happen again.

    I take a page from the Germans' approach to the holocaust.  Many may claim individually that they had no idea what was going on, but my experience there is that the country as a whole claims responsibility.  That is the only way to heal from the shame - to own it.

    "Never separate the life you live from the words you speak." - Paul Wellstone

    by isabel on Thu May 14, 2009 at 11:09:15 AM PDT

  •  while we were sleeping (3+ / 0-)

    They were committing murder in our name.
    May God have mercy on our souls.

  •  I really thought (0+ / 0-)

    that I could not ever be more embarrassed by a president that I was by Ronald Reagan, but now I am.  Embarassed and completely disgusted.  My gut aches at the repusion I feel for the leadership of this country and the unconcsious people in both parties who go along.  Democrats will never get my vote again.  Third party from here on out. the elites...actually believe that society can be destroyed by anyone except those who lead them? - John Ralston Saul -

    by Silverbird on Thu May 14, 2009 at 01:39:00 PM PDT

  •  No, they're not (0+ / 0-)

    Plenty of us opposed this madness from the beginning.
    For you to be alleging that anything is our responsibility just proves your own unfitness to comment.

    The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

    by ge0rge on Thu May 14, 2009 at 02:06:37 PM PDT

  •  I want these to come out but (0+ / 0-)

    not right now.  We have a chance to make some changes, and the public attention to push through some changes is a commodity that cannot be denied.  If we focus on these photos right now, we will not be writing abouts changes to health care, energy initiatives, and banking regulations.  

    But, the energy companies, the insurance companies, and the banks won't be paying attention to these photos, they are going to be lobbying the Congress to crush any attempt at reform, and the only counterweight to that is us.

    The torture is ugly, and horrible, and I want to see Cheney behind bars.  But, we can do this two years from now after we've made the changes.  We have the energy and momentum now to do it, we may not in two years.  The horror of the torture will still be there in two years.

    Let's move forward with fixing our country first, please, please, please.

  •  The truth is already known, they must release (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the photos, so that we can regain our honor,

    by hiding it, this is what hurts us,

    this is what endangers our troops,

    because they are already in danger,

    but, if we release the photos,

    and then prosecute the war criminals,

    well, then we will have protected our troops,
    because we will redeem our honor,

    as they say ...


    ~we study the old to understand the new~from one thing know ten thousand~to see things truly one must see what is in the light and what lies hidden in shadow~

    by ArthurPoet on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:08:55 PM PDT

  •  Jesus, what an essay (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And I'm not even done yet. On the rec list with 22 comments, I can totally see why. Who wouldn't rec it?

    Thank you.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Thu May 14, 2009 at 04:49:33 PM PDT

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