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Obama Reverses Position on Release of Detainee Abuse Photos

By Michael D. Shear and Scott Wilson
President Obama will oppose the release of several dozen photos depicting abuse of detainees held in U.S. military custody abroad, reversing his previous position on the grounds that the pictures could inflame anti-American sentiment and endanger U.S. troops.

In announcing the shift today, the White House said in a statement that Obama "strongly believes that the release of these photos, particularly at this time, would only serve the purpose of inflaming the theaters of war, jeopardizing US forces, and making our job more difficult in places like Iraq and Afghanistan."

Justice Department officials told a federal judge late last month that the U.S. government did not intend to fight a court order to turn over a total of 44 photos, which were sought by the American Civil Liberties Union under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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By Web Politics Editor  |  May 13, 2009; 1:23 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , National Security  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What Do Americans Want? Legal Pot, White House Online Survey Reports
Next: A Supreme Court Nomination Next Week?


Ha! Obama Rules! I love Obama the Republican. Democrats are starting to hate Obama. We're starting to like him, at least a bit today anyway.

Libtards heads are exploding on a whole host of issues and Obama the Republican is looking more like Bush and Clinton combined every day.

We'll be happy to be back to busing his balls tomorrow unless he shapes up quick.

Go figure. Maybe it proves Republicans are right after all and Obama is tired of listening to all you crybabies on the Left.

Posted by: Democrat_Culture_of_Corruption | May 15, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

ATTENTION: Ask Thumb Sucking Cry Baby Terrorist Coddling Democrats The Following Question In Front of Their Children:

“If your child were kidnapped by terrorists and being skinned alive and slow roasted over a fire and you had a terrorist in your possession who had the information that could save your baby’s life and that information could be obtained by being a bit rough on the terrorist – would you do whatever you had to do to the terrorist – to include REAL torture – and not that playground “enhanced interrogation” stuff - to extract the information to save your child’s life?

Make sure you ask it with all seriousness, deliberately and clearly and concern for the child and a note of extreme doubt about the parent. The parent has to answer the question. A non-answer or an attempt to evade will forever imprint on the child’s mind that “my parent would hesitate to do whatever it takes save me”.

It is time to play hardball with these scumbag Democrats.

Then say “look, if you won’t give a simple yes or no answer let me tell your child that if you were mine I would move heaven and earth. I would do ANYTHING that it took to extract the information. That is not even a question and not even debatable. Let me know when you want me to adopt you”.

Your Democrat parents would rather you die a horrible death than cause ANY discomfort to the terrorist. Your Democrat Coddling Parents care more about coddling a terrorist than they would you.

However if you were to be adopted by a Republican - they would do anything it took to save you.

And THAT is the difference.

Think about it.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Start putting them on the spot and put an end to this cowardly BS the Democrats are attempting to engage in to the detriment of the nation.

Posted by: Democrat_Culture_of_Corruption | May 14, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the truth is the opposite of what everyone assumes. Maybe the "abuse" photos are so mild that they won't implicate that evil evil evil Bush so much better to decide not to release them and let everyone assume the worst.

Posted by: sam38 | May 14, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse


The progressive left fails to realize what President Obama surely must know by now:

He must first neutralize the possibility of an incipient coup d'etat attempt -- aided and abetted by extremist media outlets such as Fox News and the Rush Limbaugh radio program.

And by now, President Obama must be aware that the "torture matrix" extends from Guantanamo and Abu Gharib to here at home...

...where thousands, perhaps millions, of American citizens have been unjustly "targeted" by an "extrajudicial punishment network" of vigilante community stalkers, fronted by federally-funded community policing and citizen volunteer corps programs.

President Obama surely is learning that the "no-fly list" is just the tip of what could be described as the domestic branch of the "torture matrix."

When viewed through that disturbing prism, the photo flip-flop had to happen -- and the original decision not to fight the release of the photos was ill-advised and politically dangerous.

As another poster has noted below, the photos already are leaking out. This controversy is not about photos that could be used as a recruiting tool of terrorists. It is all about political symbolism, and the need to tread carefully among the many land mines in the path of this President.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt demonstrated his awareness of this realpolitik when he was approached by a petitioner advocating a certain policy course.

"You have convinced me," FDR was reported to have said in response to an impassioned plea.

"I want to do it.

"Now MAKE me do it."

So ye of little faith, be aware that realpolitik requires its practitioners -- even those who are committed in the long term to their principles -- to perform some short-term kabuki theater.

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 14, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

How nice, how convenient for Obama. Get the Left all riled up over the supposed hideous photos, then do an about face and leave it to their imagination while saving the honored military from disastrous consequences of said hideous photos. those with more than a teaspoon of brains will see through this-those without will still blindly adulate the man. brilliant.

Posted by: thebink | May 13, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I think the President was mislead by his military commanders to think he was facing a sophie's choice in allowing the photos released: That is release the photos and endanger the troops on the ground through escalated violence because the photos will be used as propaganda tools or not release the photos and renege on a campaign promise of a new "transparent" administration that follows the rule of law.
However, I think what the military commanders were really doing was just "cya" couched in those terms.
The mere act of wanting to keep these photos under wraps, indicates that the images are such that they are too damning to be defensible. The idea that a release of these new photos will spark more violence is inane, as if terrorists needed photos to spur them on to commit the acts of 9/11. Or that the acts at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo were not sufficient to get the Jihadist inflamed. How about invading another country under false pretenses, the Iraq war itself is the best propaganda tool. Al Qaida didn't exist in Iraq until U.S. forces arrived and occupied the country.
It is the military commanders fear that they will be brought to task for allowing these atrocities to happen under their watch is what motivates this so called "keeping the troops safe" agruement.
Any person who has ever served in the U.S. military can tell you(myself included)the only order you never have to follow is one that is deemed reprehensible; and torturing someone falls in that category. Therefore, the defense of just following orders never worked during the Nuremberg trials and should not work now.
The military commanders are afraid to admit that the units that commited these acts and their commanders, had a breakdown in disipline and respect for the rule of law and this would lead back up to the chain of command.
If the photos are released now, they can be used as a juxtaposition of what happened then under the old administration and what is not happening now. It can be used to say that we as Americans are no longer afraid to air our dirty laundry and are not living in some hypocritcal fantasy world where we always have had the moral high ground but through this process we are returning to it.

Posted by: Ironcomments | May 13, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"First the polar bear reversal and now this.
Posted by: mediahack |"
The administration stated that they didn't think that using the endangered species act would be an effective, or proper way of achieving a reversal of global warming.

Obama has done more for green energy in his first few months than ANY previous President. We will have to face the fact that we can't have everything we want instantly.

Posted by: JRM2 | May 13, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Everybody has seen the earlier photos and the issue is being debated in the press, on the hill, and by the American people. Generals in Afghanistan and Iraq and Gates all said they thought it would endanger American lives.

If these types of photos had never been released then I would have a problem with it.

At least Obama is smart enough to take the advice of the people on the ground.

Posted by: JRM2 | May 13, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Finally, a President that listens to his Generals.

Posted by: JRM2 | May 13, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the new attraction, but the arena is the same.

Posted by: ElMugroso | May 13, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Did Obama just cave to the demands of one Dick Cheney?

Posted by: parkerfl1 | May 13, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

First the polar bear reversal and now this.
You ever notice that you never see Obama and Cheney in the same room together?

Posted by: mediahack | May 13, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this exactly what Cheney was saying?!

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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