When President Obama reversed the Bush-era ban on showing photographs of the coffins of U.S. soldiers, his supporters cheered, claiming that this was a tiny but incremental step in fixing the errors of the previous administration. It was the right move, but I wasn’t impressed; after all, allowing the press to take pictures of flag-draped coffins means little when Obama’s Afghanistan/Pakistan “surge” is making sure there will be plenty more coming home that way. Obama’s latest act of dictatorial thuggery is just more proof that his slick anti-war campaign rhetoric was all a big lie. Obama is attempting to block the release of new torture photos from Abu Ghraib:
Just weeks after announcing he would make the images public, administration officials said the president had told his legal advisers that releasing the photos would endanger troops.
The change of heart is thought to have come after senior military officials gave warning the release could cause a backlash against troops.
And what exactly do the photos show? Thanks to William N. Grigg’s indispensable blog, he provides an eyewitness account from Abu Ghraib inmate Kasim Mehaddi Hilas on what went really went on in the Baghdad Gulag:
Numerous episodes of sexual abuse by U.S. interrogators, including rape, homosexual rape, sexual assaults with objects including a truncheon and a phosphorescent tube, and other forms of sexual abuse and humiliation of detainees.
The debate over torture just got a little more interesting. The Pentagram Pentagon has sanctioned waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, routine beatings, and pulling off of fingernails, so it’s not too tough to imagine the addition of rape to the imperial repertoire.
Obama claims that releasing these photos will cause “backlash against the troops,” and this myth needs to be properly debunked (didn’t Donald “blitzkrieg shock-and-awe” Rumsfeld warn us that releasing the 2003 Abu Ghraib photos would have the same effect?). Here’s Grigg again exposing this lie:
Though it seem callous of me to point out as much, we should recognize that people who enlist in the military are paid, trained, and equipped to confront danger. We should also recognize that we do the cause of liberty no favors if we make it easier to invade and occupy foreign countries; indeed, we ought to do everything we can to accentuate the difficulty of carrying out criminal enterprises of that sort.
Exactly. There is, of course, some chance that releasing the photos could lead to dangerous and potentially deadly complications for our soldiers. But if protecting our soldiers were the real motivation, wouldn’t it make more sense to not send them halfway across the world in grandiose delusions of imperial glory?
I have a feeling Obama and his minions don’t want these photos released because it might make people question what it is we’re actually doing over there. Well, it’s just a good ol-fashioned occupation, and with Obama at the war levers, the bombing of Afghanistan has increased each month he’s been in office. Plus, his top generals are telling him that we’re going to have to stay in Iraq for ten more years, with 50,000 troops. It’s only been four months, and Obama’s war plans are already continuing and expanding Bush’s.
It’s going to be a long four years.