Pandora Problem

The Telegraph reports that Major General Antonio Taguba, who authored the infamous report that exposed the abuse in Abu Ghraib and other prisons in 2004, has now revealed that there are photos of U.S. soldiers allegedly raping Iraqi prisoners. These photos were part of the initial set that became widely known a few years ago, but have never been released.

“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it,” [Taguba said.]

In April, Mr Obama’s administration said the photographs would be released and it would be “pointless to appeal” against a court judgment in favour of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

But after lobbying from senior military figures, Mr Obama changed his mind saying they could put the safety of troops at risk.

Earlier this month, he said: “The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.”

I think these photographs will come out eventually, whether with the permission of the Obama administration or without it. (Remember: the Taguba report and the abuse it documented became widely known thanks to the reporting of Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker and the people at Sixty Minutes.) This set of photographs will probably come to light, too. Yes, public sentiment will be inflamed. And it should be. But the truth always comes out in the end. And then people will direct some of their anger at Obama, the man who tried to stop the release of the photographs.

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