War without consequence

By suppressing detainee abuse photos Obama would censor the most poignant information from the voting public.

During his campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly promised an era of openness. More recently, in a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies, President Obama wrote this about the Freedom of Information Act: âÄúDemocracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency. … The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.âÄù But this is the same Obama who ordered federal attorneys in May to block the release of detainee abuse photos from Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming the release of the photographs under the Freedom of Information Act âÄúwould pose an unacceptable risk of danger to U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.âÄù Obama would have you think this pertinent release of public information equates simply to killing troops. Admittedly, that which a photograph depicts may stir a people to violence, but a photograph itself never has. The American people deserve the whole truth about Iraq and Afghanistan âÄî terrible, torturous or otherwise. This war and its consequences do not belong to George W. Bush, the Pentagon or to Obama, but to the American people. Despite the fact our elected leaders often forget, it is we the people who decide, under the most complete information available, to go to war, continue funding that war or end that war âÄî not the few enlightened overlords. As such, we the people have a right, moreover an obligation, to see the whole bloody picture of war: every flag-draped casket, angry mother and abused detainee glaring with just a fraction as much pain back at us, the all-too-innocent voter. May we never forget that democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency.