May 14th, 2009
02:36 PM ET

Abu Ghraib commander: Release abuse photos

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/12/prisoner.photos/art.abu.ghraib.afp.gi.jpg caption="Abu Ghraib reopened this year under control of the Iraqi Ministry of Justice. "]

Janis Karpinski
Special to CNN

About-face! President Obama's reversal of his administration's decision to release more photographs of prisoner abuse is disappointing and infuriating.

It is sad and tragic. The reversal will absolutely stir up more controversy than release of the photographs, causing an outpouring of rampant speculation - What is the government hiding? Who are the people in the photographs? How awful can these new photos be? And worse.

The president is going to Egypt, and discussions surrounding the photographs are inevitable. He is far better off armed with the ability to have open discussions on all topics instead of apologizing for holding back information. Withholding evidence is counterproductive and does not sound like "truth," and it surely does not sound like "change."

The truth is always helpful. If we put all the photographs on the table, clearing the air, then, and only then, we can get on with the discussion of how to make sure this never happens again. The truth will set us free - free to find the roots of the problem, allowing us to do what we did best - making the world a better place to live.

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Filed under: President Barack Obama • Torture
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Sharon

    Forgive me, but I cannot see any possible good the release of these photos would do. Don't we get enough sensationalism? This is life, not a video game. I feel very strongly that the president made the correct choice to not release.

    May 14, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    Obama did promise to have a more open and accountable administration. He also took a vow to defend the US and the constitution and its people. Sometimes the two work against each other – the higher responsibility lies with the oath of office he took on becoming President – to safeguard the US and its citizens. If he let the pictures out and people were killed because of what is in them, there would be a great outcry in the country. When he doesn't let them out to hopefully prevent innocent Americans from being hurt or killed, some fuss about him not keeping his open and transparent administration promise.....you can't have it both ways. I'd rather him err on the side of safety.

    May 14, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  3. David of Alexandria, VA

    I really can't agree with this concept of national moral cleansing, particularly if it endangers our troops in the field.

    We've acknowledged publically that certain incidents happened which were out of some bounds (legal or ethical or simply of conscience) when viewed with the clarity of 20-20 hindsight. An individual photograph of someone in some state of interrogation released in the rhubric of what has become the torture witchhunt can do nothing but be taken out of context.

    I don ;t need to see more pictures of interrogation any more than I need to see crime-scene pictures of Nicole Simpson. I don't have either the paranoia, need for moral cleansing, or voyeurism which would compell me to see any more.

    May 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm |