Monday, November 30, 2009

Three Cheers For The High Court

I find myself in the unusual position of cheering the Supreme Court for suppressing release of more photographs of American abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The high court today instructed the lower court to re-examine the issue.

My common sense is that we have seen enough of the photos and to show more would only aggravate the ill feeling and revulsion of a sad chapter scripted under the auspices of the Bush administration.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan in 2008 ruled the additional pictures should be released to the public. President Obama at first approved the release but changed his mind when the proposal was objected to by the Pentagon.

Since that time, Congress authorized the Defense Department to keep the additional photos secret, a policy enacted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The photos would inflame anti-American sentiment in Muslim and other countries, the administration determined.

Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the ACLU , said in a statement that “No democracy has ever been made stronger by suppressing evidence of its own misconduct.”

Justice Sonya Sotomayor, a member of the Circuit Court which made the earlier decision, recused herself from voting on the decision announced today.

It seems to me the release of additional photos would add nothing but another nail in the coffin of a horrendous misdeed conducted by poorly supervised soldiers and condoned by authorities all the way up the chain of command to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The real issue in this nightmare is not the release of more photos but the disgrace of civilian leaders who denied culpability allowing such actions to occur.

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