News & Politics

Borrowing From the Bushies: Obama's Refusal to Release New Abu Ghraib Photos

Obama's maneuvering goes against his promises. It will do more harm than good.

President Obama's political pussyfooting over the release of the new Abu Ghraib rape photos should not be taken lightly. After all, withholding important images on the grounds that their release would jeopardize troop safety is a tried and true Bush administration tactic. Remember the censorship debacle involving those flag draped coffins in 2004? This statement from USAF Col. Laurel Warish might jog the ol' memory box:

Due to recent events and increased risk to personnel, military and civilian, the Department of Defense has revised its policy and will no longer release names of personnel or other personally identifying information...

Release would jeopardize the safety of personnel assigned as well as constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Now compare that to what Obama said earlier this month about the new Abu Ghraib photos:

The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.

Look familiar? Both statements carry the assumption that Americans should not have to witness the consequences of the war we are waging. It's precisely this distance - this carefully etched emotional fissure -- that facilitates the war's continuance. Didn't Obama run on the platform of bringing U.S. troops home? Maybe I misheard him. All those times.

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