(I Don’t Want Your) Photograph

Does President Obama really want to make this argument for why he’s flip-flopping on the release of the torture photographs:

I want to emphasize that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib …

I haven’t seen the photographs, of course, but this can’t possibly be true. If the photos are “not particularly sensational,” then they wouldn’t, as Obama went on to say, “further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.” How can unsensational photographs put troops in danger? Furthermore, at some point, the photos are going to come out — whether in the near future, as the ACLU is going to press its Freedom of Information Act request, or decades from now, when the time limit on their classification expires. When they’re released, will Obama really want to stand by describing their contents as “not particularly sensational”?

That’s not the only ludicrous aspect of Obama’s position. “I fear the publication of these photos may only have a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse,” he said. What does that even mean? How would someone who investigates torture in the future be anything but helped by releasing the photos? The only potential chilling effect that could occur would concern … people who torture.

Crossposted to The Streak. I’m convinced that the lyric "look what you’ve done to this rock n’ roll clown" from "Photograph" is the real inspiration for the Metalocalypse character Dr. Rockso, based as he is on David Lee Roth. Oh, and the Obama quotes here are from a statement the White House emailed out; I don’t have a hyperlink but here’s a Washington Post story that has most of them.

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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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