Photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse which U.S. President Barack Obama does not want released include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Thursday.
The images are among photographs included in a 2004 report into prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison conducted by U.S. Major General Antonio Taguba.
Taguba included allegations of rape and sexual abuse in his report, and on Wednesday he confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that images supporting those allegations were also in the file.
The issue isn’t really whether horrific images are made available to the public, the issue is whether the leadership of the Democratic Party has the moral fortitude to do something to make sure this can’t happen again.
And that will require something like a Church Committee. There is certainly enough evidence to suggest that a large formal inquiry is warranted.
If the position of the Democratic Party is “we don’t like torture but we’re just going to forget it ever happened,” then we’re no better than the Republicans. This is bigger than partisan politics anyhow, it goes directly to what kind of civilization we supposedly are.
If top Democrats wind up being embarrassed or worse, then they have whatever is coming to them as well. We already know the Republicans will screech about “criminalizing politics,” as if all this is just some unfortunate accident rather than the result of deliberate policy. This wasn’t soldiers losing control in combat, this was systematic torture of defenseless people, executed with gleeful savagery.
The Obama administration has a choice to make, and for the sake of future generations, it better find a way to deal with this ugly episode in American history and give the people a full accounting of what was done in their name. A government that abides barbarism undermines its claim to being of, by and for the people it represents, a flaw similar to those of European tyrants that prompted the creation and growth of this noble experiment in the first place.