The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

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.)


  1. If we do not disclose the photos now and sweep it under a rug we WILL BE DOING THE SAME THING in the future, maybe with innocent Venezuelans, Iranians, Chinese or any other country we decide to invade

  2. Gee… kinda makes you think… doesn’t it?

    Why are they NOW realizing that the release of these may not be in our best interest? Now that Obama is President, they re-think the release of such things. What a bunch of BS. How much you want to bet that the ACLU is now putting their third and fourth string, junior grade lawyers on this. Now that Bush is out of the White House, no sense wasting the first stringers.

  3. 1)The fact that Obama won't release them can be used as propoganda to show that this administration is no different than the last.
    2) Oh, so there was no insurgency before the original photos were released? Come on now.
    3)I don't believe that many detainees are happier as detainees than free men. That's ridiculous.
    4) Leaders have not been held accountable for Abu Ghraib. What about the Bush Administration officials who attempted to use legal jargon to condone the use of torture? They put the system in place, yet no one who was part of it has been investigated.

  4. "Anonymous," I hope you will take a look through the post again, and reconsider what I'm saying. I'm discussing Iraqis and Afghanis who have been caught in the fighting; those who would be considered enemy combatants. When given the option, they much prefer to be in the custody of U.S. forces, who treat them humanely, rather than the native criminal justice system, or the kill houses of Al Qaeda, with body parts, pools of blood, and brain matter strewn across the walls amid a handyman's chest of "Hostel"-esque torture devices. I've seen this first-hand, and I know the choice is clear. What's a little sleep deprivation and interrogation, compared to certain dismemberment and death for you and, most likely, your family? The last time we released photos, our enemies seized on the opportunity to recruit new fighters. Obama inherited these conflicts, and our military has made such significant progress over the last couple of years. You want us to be able to leave Iraq, right? Why jeopardize our progress to placate the ACLU with dated photos on which the Pentagon has already taken corrective action? What will they honestly do with the photos, aside from plaster them across the internet, speculate on context, and endanger American lives? It's such a short-sighted and dangerous proposition, which is why I'm happy to see the President is listening to his generals on this.