Thursday, May 14, 2009
Obama fights to keep detainee photos secure
Yesterday, President Barack Obama took a strong stance against the ACLU, which is demanding the release of alleged detainee abuse photos from Iraq and Afghanistan.
After speaking with his generals on the ground, Obama decided that releasing the photos would only embolden our enemies, endangering American troops around the world.
Obama noted that there was nothing particularly compelling in the new images, and that it would only provide fodder to our enemies at a time when we have made tremendous strides in Iraq and during a pivotal transition period in Afghanistan.
Personally, I applaud the President's decision to keep our troops' best interest in mind.
Today, our men and women in uniform are fighting against a brutal enemy that has never demonstrated consideration for international law or compassion for battlefield detainees.
To the contrary, our troops have shown considerable care and compassion for enemy combatants. Troops who have served in the combat zone know first-hand that Iraqis and Afghanis caught up in the fighting would rather spend some time in an American detention facility with three hots and a cot, than be turned over to the local criminal justice system, or worse, Al Qaeda.
Naturally, there have been flaws in our system, as we saw through the Abu Ghraib debacle. Fortunately, troops and leaders who have violated our standards of conduct have been held accountable. Releasing these photos would not serve the public interest. Rather, it would be dangerous for our troops on the ground. The President has made a responsible decision to fight their release.
Al Qaeda and its global network of extremists are surely chomping at the bit for the U.S. government to release more photos of someone defacing the Koran or verbally dressing down a detainee. We should not seek to satisfy their need for increased propaganda against our troops.
I am proud of the stand President Obama has decided to take and his reasoning behind it. Our military has made tremendous progress over the last couple of years in our global contingency operations. Why would we jeopardize that progress and the safety of our volunteer forces to placate the ACLU?
(Media: Video: President Barack Obama addresses U.S. troops on a recent visit to Iraq. Official White House video. Photos, Middle: Detainees at a detention facility i Iraq participate in voluntary religious discussions with an Iraqi Imam. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael V. May, released. Bottom: A detainee receives medical care at a hospital in Guantanamo Bay. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Sarah Cleveland, released.)