Release the photos… let’s not keep the bad parts of our past hidden.

I am upset that Obama, who, by the way, I supported during the election and continue to support as President, has caved to those who would hide the torture we conducted in Iraq by not releasing the photographs documenting those activities.

The idea that our position in the world and the opinions of us held by other countries would suffer if these pictures were made visible is a crock. We’re in the age of the Internet. Everyone in the world knows what we did and trying to hide the fact actually makes us look worse.

This letter in the NY Times this morning summed it up for me very well:

To the Editor:

When Allied forces liberated the Nazi death camps in World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied commander, ordered German citizens to walk through the concentration camps to see the victims’ bodies. He wanted them to witness what their government had done as proof against denials the Holocaust had occurred.

President Obama should follow Eisenhower’s example and let Americans confront the visual evidence of the horrors committed in our name. Verbal accounts are not enough to silence those who will deny or minimize this abuse.

Claude Cookman
Bloomington, Ind., May 14, 2009

The writer, an associate professor in the Indiana University School of Journalism, is a historian of photography who has published on the My Lai atrocity photographs.

Obama’s original push for transparency in these issues was painful but necessary.

Becoming Bush-like and hiding these things is more than a mistake… it is a foundation for future secrecy.

Under The LobsterScope