Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Hersh is right again

Posted by Charles II on May 28, 2009

The Torygraph is reporting that General Taguba, who did the definitive study of Abu Ghraib, has stated that the photos of detainees that Obama is not releasing include rapes and other forms of horrific abuse. The existence of such photographs, of course, was reported by Seymour Hersh not long after the scandal broke. And we (including General Taguba) are not positive that the specific photos sought by the ACLU actually are of rape and sexual abuse. There are, you see, a lot of photos. So, in some regard, the Torygraph’s story is wrong.

But this goes to show how far behind the curve the US press is, how excellent Seymour Hersh’s reporting has been, and exactly what is at stake when General Taguba says “I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one…The sequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.”

The “legal purpose” Taguba describes is, of course, giving those who were tortured a venue to seek justice. They deserve the chance, even though it is probably true that the cost of their obtaining justice is a risk that the outrage will strengthen our enemies. On the other hand, there is a chance that if we commit our path to doing justice, as I urged so very long ago, we might yet find our way as a nation again.

2 Responses to “Hersh is right again”

  1. Another thing to consider when preparing to release the photos is what effect it will have on the victims of these atrocities. These are men, women and children who were brutalized in a specifically humiliating way by their captors for the same reason that the women of Kosovo were brutalized in very similar fashions ten years ago by Serbian forces: Because their culture blames and shames the victims of rape.

    This is not an argument for not releasing the photos; the photos will come to light no matter what is done to keep them from coming to light. Instead, the publicly-released versions of these photos need to be altered to hide the identities of the victims so they don’t become victimized a second time.

    • Charles II said

      That goes without saying.

      And the faces of the perpetrators should be left entirely visible.

      The point is that the photographs are really the property of the victims, to be made available to them if they choose to go to court to seek justice. Keeping the photos secret continues the wrongs does to them.

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