What Would the Torture Photos Tell Us?

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Last Wednesday, President Obama reversed his position and decided to block the release of photographs documenting abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan by United States military personnel. His change of mind on the issue came after commanders warned that the images could set off a deadly backlash against American troops. The change in position was sharply criticized by the A.C.L.U.. Obama says he doesn't want the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan imperiled by an old fight. He may not prevail, but he has, importantly, shown solidarity with his military's view on this controversial issue.

To help us understand the international impact that these photos could have is Philip Gourevitch, co-author of The Ballad of Abu Ghraib , a book that describes in great detail the imagery in the Abu Ghraib photos. He’s also the editor of The Paris Review.

"The photographs themselves don't endanger anybody. It's the practices that are depicted in the photographs that endanger the troops presumably."
—Philip Gourevitch on the release of alleged torture photographs.

Here's the trailer for the film Standard Operating Procedure by Errol Morris: