Far Left Furious Over Obama's About-Turn on Abuse Photos
Pictures might be worth a thousand words, but they often lack one caveat of importance: context. Propagandizing against oneself in this fashion does not achieve the moral high ground. Rather, it treats a matter of life and death -- someone else's life and death, let me remind you -- in the most careless manner conceivably possible.
There is a reason why current and former presidents and cabinet secretaries decline to speak about certain aspects of geopolitics, and that is because there is such a thing as a sensitive topic in the annals of national security. Whatever one's opinion of the treatment of detainees, sober minds should be able to agree that the necessity of an action in no way dampens the inflammatory nature of the action. Whether an interrogation is reasonable or reprehensible, sensationalizing it through photographs is the height of negligent governance.
We have a moral responsibility to ourselves and no one else. It is preferable to lead the world by example and when possible it should be done. But when citizens overseas might be killed because of domestic political one-upmanship, we must remember that the Constitution, as they say, is not a suicide pact.
Do those who advocate the release of the photos appreciate the fuel to the fire that would result? Cenk Uygur, paradoxically, seems to want such inflammation: "If something isn't on television, it didn't happen," he states. "Television has a multiplier effect. ... On television stories spread and multiply and get spread to other channels and other mediums." In essence, should the photos be shown on television, the visual effects would shock our moral scruples, thus dissuading more Americans from supporting these interrogative practices. Chalk up a petty political victory for the "team."
Needless to say, this is not a mature reason to hold a position. It is, in fact, as reckless as it gets.
Recall the Muslim reaction to the Newsweek story that claimed U.S. guards at Guantanamo Bay flushed the Islamic Koran down a toilet: riots ensued, violence erupted, and people were killed throughout the Middle East. That Newsweek later admitted the story was a fabrication did not matter. It was already too late. Recall the Muhammad cartoons in Denmark, which depicted the Islamic prophet in an unflattering light: scores of innocent people were murdered, fatwas and religious death warrants were issued, embassies all throughout Europe and the Middle East were ransacked by angry mobs, and the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan got considerably worse.
At the time, there were those in the West insisting that we stand up for freedom of speech (even if offensive) by reprinting the Muhammad cartoons in solidarity with Denmark. Those opposing this sentiment -- overwhelmingly on the political left -- contended otherwise, prioritizing the prevention of Muslim rage over free expression.
How odd is it that most of these same people now speak glowingly of "transparency" and "openness," insisting our demons can only be exercised by committing an act so egregious as to release photographs and rile up the proverbial hornet's nest, consequences be damned? Where is the concern for violent reprisal and retribution that we saw during the cartoon fury? Is their position based solely on whether or not other people are threatened -- like our countrymen in the armed services? Is that the necessary precondition for the haughty self-loving to commence, patting themselves on the back all the while endangering the lives of others? Is it only then that they support an international media excoriation process to broadcast our national sins?
In the coming weeks, the photographs might still be leaked to a salivating press from some dark, oily source. This was a liability President Obama wisely did not want to take on, with potential blood he did not want on his hands. It was the correct decision, a no-brainer. The bottom line is the release of these photos would have resulted, and still may result, in more dead American soldiers. How someone could grant that premise and then make the political case that their release should still be allowed is an ethical duality beyond my comprehension.
Thankfully, it is beyond President Obama's comprehension, as well. The men and women in the military are real, living people with real, concerned families. They are working against the grain with grace under pressure and are guilty of nothing other than complete unbending commitment to defending the very individuals who so cavalierly envision making their lives harder and their days deadlier.