Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s debilitating trickle down of the credit crunch, or just the sudden retraction of Spring here in the UK, but tonight I’m depressed. Or maybe it’s just this…
“I want to emphasize that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the images we remember from Abu Ghraib,” the president said on the South Lawn of the White House. “But they do represent conduct that didn’t conform with the Army manual.”
I’m looking for grains of comfort here, but failing to find any. As many commentators have pointed out, everyone now knows this abuse has happened. Will more photos inflame public opinion in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq any more than it is now?
Or will it just add to the suspicion that Obama is covering up for his predecessor? As Cenk Uygur puts it
Obama has not just protected the torturers, but empowered them. They now get to claim they tried to protect America and that anyone who tries to show their misdeeds endangers America.
I’m so depressed by this news, and the confirmation of the fact that the Obama administration prevented the UK Government from releasing details of the torture of a British citizen, that I am leaving it to you guys to give me some crumbs of comfort in your overnight open thread.
The only glimmer of hope is the hint of some kind of commission to investigate these crimes at a less militarily pressing time.
“In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would further flame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger. … I fear the publication of these photos may only have a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse,”
Or maybe Obama has just caved in, and the generals and Liz Cheney have got their way?
Anybody got some good news?
UPDATE.Thanks to all of your for giving me some perspective, and explaining how it really feels from your position. There’s not a point you’ve made that I disagree with; but as with all really hard decisions, there’s an internal struggle of the soul between competing claims, like Jacob wrestling with his inner angel.
After some reflection and a night’s sleep, I’m slightly less discomfited. Obama has to struggle with competing roles, and here the CinC has triumphed (perhaps momentarily) over the constitutional lawyer.
I would add only one thing. As a foreigner, from a country which is probably America’s greatest ally, I do worry about this phrase (as Chris and Michelle point out) anything to protect our troops. It’s in danger of becoming weirdly circular. So perhaps torture to protect our troops? I’d prefer the phrase ‘Anything to protect our constitution’ because that is what makes the US endure as a symbol of liberty across the world.