Obama Pic Decision Turns Back on Consitution and Judiciary

Three weeks after saying he would release the pictures, President Obama is moving to prevent the press from obtaining the pictures of the confirmed acts of torture. The courts have already ruled that any “secrecy” considerations are insufficient to overrule the first amendment right to free press. Obama, ignoring the court and taking a play, from the Bush Administration’s playbook, said today he would try to block the release of the pictures.

President Obama said, "My belief is the publication of these photos would not add any additional benefits to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals. The most direct consequence would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and put our troops in greater danger."

Our soldiers take an oath to uphold the constitution from all threats foreign and domestic. It is their duty to protect the system that President Obama is now impairing. To protect them from a theoretical threat, to make their service nothing more than a vanity, is a disheartening disgrace.
Having another American leader devalue the crimes of the previous administration does not make our soldiers safer. The only way to make deflate the anti-American sentiment is to de-escalate the situation by taking responsibility for our previous actions.

Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) said, “Keeping the American people in the dark for no other reason than to shield misconduct, avoid embarrassment or other reasons not pertaining to national security."

We must come completely clean, show the pictures, and let the American people feel the shame of their passive agreement, the cost of the apathy, and the damnation of letting fear make policy. Only when we are brought face to face with our failure will we make sure torture will never happen again. Afterwards, we must begin to venomously prosecute the people who perpetrated internationally recognized acts of inhumanity; the people who approved it, who wrote legal briefings about it, who passed the message along, or who knew about it and did nothing to stop it.

“A small number of individuals,” as President Obama said in the same conference, is a term that is not only blatantly false but maliciously irresponsible. We cannot allow comments like “I thought it was legal” to be an acceptable excuse for a torturer or Representative, President, Senator, soldier or contractor. The expression, “I was just following orders” should fall hallow on the ears of prosecutors and juries. Relative morality will not protect our soldiers from anti-American sentiment because it is the breath the terrorists breathe.

Only when we cull the corrupt gangrene from our government and military will we begin to restore our reputation in the world. Anything less is passive agreement and letting fear dictate policy; a new car on the same road.

If President Obama does not reverse course, his actions will disgrace our soldiers. To stand strong and prosecute torturers, come forward and show dignity through honesty is to make their oath meaningful, powerful and substantial. Obama’s choice to willfully cover up the crimes of the Bush Administration, call for the suppression of evidence to the press, does not live up to his oath to protect the constitution by ignoring his duty to comply with the press clause of the first amendment.

Let us not let the Bush Administration’s attack on our rights spill into another presidency. Clamor, cry and call out to Obama to live up to his promise of change.

What can you do?
Write, call, or email the President and let him know how you feel.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461


Obama Turns Back on First and Fifth Amendments and the Judiciary Branch by Refusing to Release Torture Pictures
President Obama violates his oath of office and refuses to obey the nations first law.

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Comment by LaRae Meadows on May 14, 2009 at 1:05pm
And obama knows he is violating the first and fifth amendments and ignoring the authority of the judiciary, just like bush did.
Comment by LaRae Meadows on May 14, 2009 at 1:04pm
Soldiers, in their training, are told that "just following orders" will not consitute a defense against morally indefensable acts. They are allowed to refuse unethical orders. We aren't talking about battlefield fear, we are talking about situations exactly that the refusal to follow orders moral exception was put in place for.

The FBI had already pulled their people from these intorragations because of the CIA's behavior. And let's not forget, this wasn't just the military. The CIA was primarily doing the intarrogations, and they seriously don't have a following orders excuse.

But lets just ignore the muslim world for a minute. We have a constitution and a judicuary, the meaning of both had been erroded during the bush administration. American law, all laws, point to the release of these pictures. There is no legal out for Obama. If he denies the law, he isn't any better than Bush. It is his job to uphold the constitution and the law, period.

Everyone, EVERYONE, even us knows that we tortured people. If he releases these pictures and does not prosecute anyone, we may have a big problem. He should prosecute every single person, even congress people and soldiers, ever single one of them. Then, and only then, will it seem like we give a crap about being good people again.

Many people don't know that the second half of the Geniva Convention on Torture, which we signed, requires any government who finds out about torture to investiage and prosecute. If they do not, the government and their officials who choose not to are war criminals in the same degree as the torturers. Right now Obama is walking a thin war criminal line.
Comment by Asa Watcher on May 14, 2009 at 10:38am
Well, as a left-wing, socialist, atheist, yadda yadda, I find myself really conflicted with this issue. I can certainly understand why some think that putting the revolting images of war into the public forum, for all to see, might lead to an end of war. Then, again, how much more convincing does any “rational” human need to be antiwar?
There is, on the other hand, the idea that exposing our “transgressions”, already well known to the world, would accomplish nothing except to extend the justification for the continued radical religionist war being waged in the middle east.
Then, again, there’s Obama, the people’s president, who must also function as commander-in-chief, facing a dilemma of conflicting obligations.
I think the course he is taking here might be the right one.
As a a constitutionalist, he has committed himself to “process” to “procedure”, to the rule of law that has only limited overlap with military justice.
I think he is wise in allowing the process of justice, ie courts and legislation, to make the determinations in this case, thereby establishing a precedent that can be institutionalized, dictating the future behavior of administrations and the military. Otherwise, it is just Obama’s decision. If he unilaterally decided to release the photos, the court case would be to block their release. If he decides to withhold them, the court case would be to advocate for their release.
I’d prefer the latter, and so, I think, would Obama. It would make prosecuting torturers a lot easier, both now and in the future, by clarifying the issues surrounding the use of torture by both civilian (C.I.A. and private contractors) and military forces.
Either way, the chances that American’s revolting behavior will probably be exposed.
Comment by Kitty on May 14, 2009 at 6:41am
Obama has told us in the beginning he expects us to "hold him to" his transparency and his change in government. We MUST do just that, because he is backpedaling.
When the U S citizenry sees these pictures, there will be a national outcry. ( I hope )
We should be shown the actual horrors of war, the aftermath of bombs and raids. Show it. This is what ended Vietnam, people, seeing the real stuff of war on TV and in the newspapers, demanded the end to this.
Obama must be held to his word, he must not be allowed to stop the truth.



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