President Barack Obama may have gotten himself into some trouble with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party today when he decided to block the release of photos depicting prisoner abuse conducted by the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan on Iraq. The president said these photos, which were as he described them, "not particularly sensational" but not in conformance with the "Army manual" could still endanger troops that are still fighting in the Middle East.
The ACLU and the Pentagon had previously agreed to release the photos but there is a fear among some that these photos could inflame tension in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Based upon the information that we have as of now I believe the president made the right call for now. While our troops are on the ground we should not expose them to further harm. We know the torture occurred but pictures are, "worth a thousand words." The visual image could enrage the Afghanis and Iraqis in a way that words cannot.
However, the president should limit his appeal to a ban to the public circulation of these photos. This information, however, should not be withheld from the lawyers, judges, and jurors who might ultimately hear challenges to coerced interrogations, and torture trials.