Geoffrey Stone on Military Prisoner Abuse Photos

What's Wrong With This Picture
Geoffrey R. Stone
The Huffington Post
May 14, 2009

President Barack Obama yesterday changed his mind about releasing to the public hundreds of photographs that apparently document abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan by American military personnel between 2001 and 2005. Mr. Obama apparently changed his mind after he was reportedly warned by top Pentagon officials that publication of these images might inflame anti-American sentiment in the region and therefore endanger American soldiers.

The President is right that the dissemination of these photographs might inflame anti-American opinion and possibly put our soldiers at greater risk. But he is wrong to focus on that risk rather than on the importance of these images to public debate in the United States - debate that is at the very core of our self-governing society.