They must be horrific. So violent, in fact, so obscene, so counter to even the basic tenets of human decency that President Barack Obama sought today to block the release of hundreds of photos showing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan being abused, violated, tortured. He ordered this reversal of his position -- he had been in favor of the decision to release this further evidence of war crimes committed under orders from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney -- after military commanders warned that the images could inflame anti-American sentiment and endanger U.S. troops.
But, it is far worse than that. The reality is this: Anti-American sentiment could not be more "inflamed" than it already is in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Our policy of indiscriminate bombing after the location of a "target" has been determined has caused the deaths of hundreds of men, women and children in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Our policies of providing weapons of terror -- such as white phosphorous, concussion bombs, advanced jet fighters, massive tanks bristling with the power to annihilate anything in its path, explosives packed in cases made of depleted uranium -- to be used by Israel against an utterly defenseless Palestinian population is known throughout the Middle East, throughout the world, except, of course, here in the U.S.
No, the release of the photos and videos in question would do more than "inflame anti-American sentiment and endanger U.S. troops." If we are to believe reports that began circulating four years ago, reports from investigative journalists such as Seymour Hersh, their release would unleash a wave of anti-American hatred that would endanger the lives of not just U.S. soldiers, but the lives of all Americans, civilians as well as military personnel. Hersh, who helped uncover the scandal, said in a speech before an ACLU convention:
At today's White House press briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that the president was concerned that the photos' release would pose a national security threat. In other words, these unreleased photos and videos show acts of degeneracy so vile there is no way they can be explained or rationalized. They contain images of children -- some of them the children of detainees -- being raped and sodomized as a means of forcing confessions from the adult detainees that would provide the links between Saddam Hussein and al-Quaeda that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush insisted were the basis of their orders to invade and occupy Iraq.
Children of detainees being raped and sodomized as a means of obtaining confessions. In testimony before Congress five years ago no less a war criminal than the murderous former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the unrevealed photos and videos contain acts "that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman."
Two months ago, Hersh, speaking at the University of Minnesota, said the following in trying to reveal yet more of the incredible depravity and lawlessness of Dick Cheney:
[Note: The former head of JSOC -- Lt. General Stanley McChrystal was named this week to replace Gen. David McKiernan as U.S Commander and Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan.]
Torture conducted by the CIA. The rape and sodomizing of children. Sending detainees to countries whose methods of torture are medieval in their scope and techniques. Assassination squads that answered only to Dick Cheney. This was your country. This was your country in the grip of a madman. This is your country trying desperately to deny, to hide, to bury, the evidence of war crimes on a massive scale.