Progressive Revival

Barack Obama is right and the ACLU is wrong.  The ACLU’s legal battle to release torture photos of interrogation performed by order of the last administration is correct in its underlying convictions but wrong in its conclusions. 


The underlying conviction of the ACLU is that we need to bring the atrocities of the past administration to light.  In that they are correct.  Under the Cheney administration our country lost its moral standing, abandoned the Geneva conventions, and tortured people.  Calling something “extra special interrogation techniques” (as the press is still doing) does not change the fact that it is torture.  As Senator John McCain said, we prosecuted the Japanese for water-boarding after WW2, the exact same practice supported by Cheney in 2009.


Fortunately, the ACLU and many other groups, including religious groups and many in the military and the CIA have forced us to acknowledge the terrible mistakes that were made.  Even more fortunately, we have elected a President who has made it clear that the days of American torture have ended.  


There is now no good reason for the ACLU to continue their battle to release these torture photos.  The photos are assuredly shocking and horrifying, but we do not need new images to tell us that torture is wrong – and that is the only conceivable reason to release them.   The bad effects will greatly outweigh the good.  For one, the world largely is beginning to see America regaining our moral compass and we have a chance for a new beginning.  The photos will only reverse this trend and incite anti-American feelings and give a boast to extremist recruitment.    Our troops are still at great risk in Iraq and Afghanistan and they do not need more hurdles to building positive relations with the people of those countries.   Plus President Obama will be going to Cairo soon and he does not need American torture to be spotlighted as the main focus of that trip. 


The reasons for not releasing the torture photos definitely outweigh the reasons for releasing them and as a card carrying ACLU member, I urge the ACLU to stop this campaign.


Of course, Cheney and friends aren’t helping progressives like me in making our case to not release the photos.  Cheney continues to promote torture and shows no signs of remorse or regret that he has degraded our country in such a fundamental way.   Still, we shouldn’t let a failed vice president force the current administration to do what needs do be done to move forward and to make up for the sins of the past. 

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