Thursday, May 14, 2009

Torture and Exposure

It certainly feels like my blog is morphing into a running commentary on the torture issue. The latest controversy is over centers around Obama's decision not to release the additional pictures depicting torture. The decision was a tough call. I think it's a pretty good guess that Obama heard from the military that releasing the photos would endanger the lives of American troops, perhaps even endangering his timeline for withdrawal. This sort of advice would be very difficult for a president of the United States to resist. I'm not completely decided, but I think I would lean toward declassification. The opinionator has a rundown of opinions on the issue. Particularly of interest is Joan Walsh:
For the first time in his presidency, I had the sick feeling that Obama was lying in his remarks on the photos, once when he said the new images "are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib" -- I simply don't believe that -- and again when he insisted "the individuals who were involved have been identified, and appropriate actions have been taken." That is a flat-out lie. Out of eight prosecutions, mostly of so-called bad apples, only reservist Charles Graner sits in prison today, while the architects who "Gitmo-ized" Abu Ghraib and encouraged torture all went free.

Is Obama trying to cover-up the torture issue? I'm not convinced this is the case. Obama came out strongly against torture, the administration just seems to want to get it off of the agenda in order to concentrate on what they want to concentrate on. On the other hand, Nancy Pelosi is a different story. Conservatives are fond of responding, when one brings up prosecution of the torture team, by asking "which Democrat who was informed would you like to see prosecuted?" Actually, almost know one was informed outside the executive branch making it difficult for congress to curb the program. One of the few that was informed, though, was Nancy Palosi. While I don't think that there's a prosecutable case against Pelosi, she clearly was informed early on, making her complicit. She's been turning herself in all kinds of knots to avoid blame.
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