President Obama announced today that he will move to block the release of photos documenting American military personnel torturing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the images could "further inflame anti-American opinion."
What BS. You know what will help dampen those flames? An end to war crimes impunity, and the dawn of that true transparency he promised America during his presidential campaign. Instead, we're dealt yet another civil liberties disappointment.
Snip from NYT story:
As he left the White House to fly to Arizona for an evening commencement address, Mr. Obama briefly explained his abrupt reversal on releasing the photographs. He said the pictures, which he has reviewed, "are not particularly sensational, but the conduct did not conform with the Army manual." He did not take questions from reporters, but said disclosing the photos would have "a chilling effect" on future attempts to investigate detainee abuse.
The president's decision marks a sharp reversal from a decision made last month by the Pentagon, which agreed in a case with the American Civil Liberties Union to release photographs showing incidents at Abu Ghraib and a half-dozen other prisons. At the time, the president signed off on the decision, saying he agreed with releasing the photos.
The Obama administration's adoption of the stonewalling tactics and opaque policies of the Bush administration flies in the face of the president's stated desire to restore the rule of law, to revive our moral standing in the world and to lead a transparent government. This decision is particularly disturbing given the Justice Department's failure to initiate a criminal investigation of torture crimes under the Bush administration.
Obama isn't just "Bush Lite" with regard to these issues, he's continuing the exact same policies of the Bush administration and in some matters, expanding those powers further. Nothing "lite" about that.
Read more about the torture documents the ACLU obtained under FOIA here.