General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Is it better to keep our sins (whatever your definition) to ourselves or to let them be known?

Asked by tinyfaery (43450points) May 13th, 2009

Should the photos of American abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan be made public? Obama says that doing so will further inflame the hatred of America’s enemies. I think that hiding it, when everyone knows that the abuses occurred, makes America appear dubious and deceitful. Airing our dirty laundry—so to speak—will, in my opinion, allow everyone to know we acknowledge what happened, and then maybe we can all move on and learn to heal.

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30 Answers

Jiminez's avatar

No doubt it further inflames America’s critics, but rightfully so. We shouldn’t hide anything. We can’t keep anything in house anymore in this globally-connected age of media. If it’s released to the American public it’s released to the world. But the solution is not to not release it. The solution is to not do it.

But you’ll have to forgive me. This is the government sponsored topic of conversation right now. The incursions into American citizens’ civil liberties is not. I much rather we were talking about that topic, personally. But the government and the media don’t want to talk about that.

charliecompany34's avatar

confess your sins to God. He will hear your prayer if nobody else. no need to make it public and be a shame to the worldly world who does not understand why. keep your confessions up to date and make it your business to try and never do that thing again.

God is a forgiving God, but He wants you to make necessary changes. it’s up to you and your heart.

SeventhSense's avatar

I see no reason to do so at this point. There has been enough exposure from the pictures that have been aired to know something shameful occurred. I think the strongest statement would be that there has been a changing of the guard and with it a change in policy towards such egregious abuse of power.

filmfann's avatar

I have seen enough pictures of the Nazi death camps to acknowledge they were terrible, vicious, and inhuman. I know they were as awful as they can be.
Sometimes, I will run across a picture I hadn’t seen before, and will be shocked and enraged. It does nothing to further the point, and just makes me angry.
We have probably seen enough, but we will probably see more. Should we see it all? I don’t think we have to in order to agree that it was awful and wrong.

Jiminez's avatar

@SeventhSense – Did you know it’s very likely that a little boy was raped in front of his mother at Abu Graib prison by a U.S. soldier? If so, that needs to be released to the public. Keeping it secret just sanctions that kind of behavior.

SeventhSense's avatar

I disagree. That’s a criminal act and needs to be released to the mother and the courts. Why should a mother’s grief be exacerbated by images of her son being shown to the public like a side show freak?

Kelly27's avatar

@Jiminez Are you saying that photos of a child being raped should be made public? I hope you were meaning to say the story should be made public….
I have no idea if this story is true or not, I am just responding to your comment about it

SuperMouse's avatar

I tend to agree with the president that releasing more pictures at this point is one more way to rile up the extremists and add to the danger our misplaced troops are already facing from the insurgency.

Don’t get me wrong, I was horrified by what happened at Abu Graib and think that every single person involved should be sentenced to the fullest extent of the law. But at this point what are we accomplishing by releasing more photos?

@SeventhSense I agree 100% with your point about the mother’s grief. Not releasing photos of the horrors this child endured doesn’t sanction anything, it is merely respecting the dignity of a young boy and his grieving family.

benjaminlevi's avatar

We need transparency (even our president said that). We need the public to know all the awful things that the government has done over the years and to get mad about it. No one is going to try to reform anything if they don’t know it is happening.

@filmfann Then don’t look at them, you not wanting to see them is no justification to prevent them from being released.

chyna's avatar

@filmfann There are those who still say, despite the numerous pictures and human stories, that the holocaust never happened.

YARNLADY's avatar

The line between keeping something to ourself as a country and parading it all over the world is a very solid line. It’s necessary to admit mistakes were made, and perhaps show the proof to the relevant authorities, but it is inflamatory to make the damning evidence public.

Jiminez's avatar

@SeventhSense & @Kelly27 – What I mean is that evidence needs to be made public. We need to know about it. The details of the situation do. In a trial or whatever. But it needs to not be hidden or covered up.

rooeytoo's avatar

The Pres said it will place the troops in more danger and that seems reasonable and logical. That alone is reason enough to keep them under cover. He has changed the policy and it should not happen again.

I can see no good coming from releasing more photos. The image of the USA has already been damaged greatly by the previous administration and its policies. I think it is more important to try to repair that image than to tarnish it further.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Jiminez Your comment above is one example of how misinformation gets sent around. The item you refer to was a video taken by US soldiers of Iraqi guards attacking a child, not a US soldier. When the media gets involved in a free for all, misinformation gets spread all over the place. How is this a good thing?

SeventhSense's avatar

I don’t think that there is anything that needs to be covered up or glossed over and the Freedom of Information Act like so much that has been compromised under the Bush administration needs to be addressed agressively. All citizens should have access to the vast majority of what the government and military is up to. Of course there are some things that should remain classified as per state secrets.

The question of form and intent surrounding this issue is what really is at issue. The media smells blood in the water. But airing these things does not change minds but simply inflames entrenched positions. People who are moved by compassion and reform are going to act according to their beliefs. But this is more as a result of the blatant disregard for human rights and civil liberties that was exercised by the previous administration more so than any images.

It is a must for us to be transparent and we have to have accountability. Many questioned the pardon of Nixon by Gerald Ford in the 1970’s saying there was injustice. But most historians in retrospect think that it was the best action because it allowed us to move on.

The military or civil courts should be fully involved and soldiers and officers should be fully accountable to the citizens of this country for abuses at Abu Ghraib. And there are previously released images available at Wikipedia as we speak.
Yes, shameful acts were committed, but shameless displays don’t ameliorate those hurts or ease the hurt of those abused.

@benjaminlevi YARNLADY brings up a good point of how quickly these things become misconstrued like urban myths. There are already state sanctioned propoganda in many Arab countries which teach horrific lies about the West. The image of the hooded prisonwer with his arms outstretched could easily be a ritual of the “Great Satan-USA” in the wrong hands. We don’t need to add to the fire. The threat of Fundamentalist violence is still very active in the world

kevbo's avatar

Those fuckers (Obamaco and Bushco) have both been manipulating public perception of the war by any means necessary. In principle, this is little different than banning photographs of caskets or lying to congress about Saddam having suitcase nukes. As long as the public (and world) don’t reach the point of mass outrage, then the military-corporate agenda can continue unfettered.

Before reading the details, your Q made me think of Ted Haggard’s trials and tribulations. He came 100% clean and as a result lost everything and has basically been exiled from society. Ironically, if he just became a queer, he’d probably do very well.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@SeventhSense That is completely backwards. I think the country is seen as the “great satan-USA” not because we show pictures of our torture, but because we are torturing and murdering civilians. Actions speak louder than words from what I am told.

…and there is already state sanctioned propaganda here from our unbiased media which spread wonderful, happy lies about the west and how we are benevolently giving the middle east the gift of democracy

FGS's avatar

Why is it that people flock to any abuses of human rights or instances of indignities, yet when good things happen its glossed over as “business as usual”? The contemporary media is the culprit for this one. Shocking stories and photos sell air time/newspapers.

Jiminez's avatar

Violence is news, FGS. You didn’t hear? Yeah, it’s totally sick.

SeventhSense's avatar

I think the country is seen as the “great satan-USA” not because we show pictures of our torture, but because we are torturing and murdering civilians.
Wrong. They are used to this in the Muslim world and have been murdering their own civilians since before we were even a country.
This is why politics and Political Correctness are so damaging when they stop us from thinking outside party lines. So P.C. not withstanding, there are actual teachings to children in schools that are blatant lies about “Jews that drink blood” and the USA as the “Head of the Great Serpent”. These have nothing to do with us or or ideals or actions but a twisted radical Fundamentalism.

The Arab propoganda machine loves stories like 911 was an inside job or the holocaust was a hoax. There is nothing about a Sharia State which approaches a just and open society. Go to Saudi Arabia and try to find a drink or be out after curfew. See how strong they advocate civil rights and freedoms.

A Westerner has an imagination of a free and open society and what is done with information in a free and open society. We have enjoyed these freedoms such as the press and conscience for centuries. The Arab World is just starting to experience this as even a concept. In Tel Aviv, Israel they have a gay pride parade, in Saudi Arabia they’re stoning gays. This is not a rational and evolved society or world view. It’s actually a parallel bizarro world. You think Fundamentalist Christians are rough on gays? Try losing your hands for touching a cock.
The Saudi legal system prescribes capital punishment or corporal punishment, including amputations of hands and feet for certain crimes such as murder, robbery, rape, drug smuggling, homosexual activity, and adultery.

Jiminez's avatar

@YARNLADY – Well, the story I read said it was likely to be a video of a U.S. soldier. This confusion only reinforces my argument. Since no one has seen the evidence, we don’t know what it is. If it was brought out of the shadows into the light then there wouldn’t be those cases of speculation and misinformation.

And, on a similar note, how do you know what the video contains if it hasn’t been released to anybody or made public in any way?

YARNLADY's avatar

@Jiminez But your comment is an argument against the release of the photos. We have no way of knowing when or where they were taken and if they have been tampered with. It just doesn’t make any sense. The video itself is the subject of several news reports, and has been seen by a number of people.

filmfann's avatar

There ARE people who deny the holocaust, but there is no shortage of pictures that prove otherwise. Do we need every one of them published to convince people it happened?
I am glad Bush is finally getting his evaluation here. I have been railing against him for years, but that doesn’t mean every torture picture needs to see light of day. Prove it, and move on. The rest will be so hurtful to us.

Jiminez's avatar

@YARNLADY – How is my comment an argument against the release of the photos? We have no way of knowing when or where any videos or pictures were taken or if they’ve been tampered with. What reason is there to think they have been? Speaking of not making any sense….

As far as I know, no one has seen the video because it hasn’t been released. Hence, this whole topic of conversation.

YARNLADY's avatar

Wikipedia: “According to Donald Rumsfeld, many more pictures and videotapes of the abuse at Abu Ghraib exist. Photos and videos were revealed by the Pentagon to lawmakers in a private viewing on 12 May 2004”

For more details see the news

Jiminez's avatar

Okay, but that’s the Pentagon and lawmakers, nobody else. I tracked down the original article I read, which is here:

Notice, it references sodomizing and doesn’t say who the perpetrator was. it says nothing about an Iraqi guard attacking anyone. Still not sure where that originated…

I’m not lambasting you for not being informed. To the contrary, you seem very informed, or at least seem like you have an appetite for information. It’s just that, in this situation, I think you’re mistaken. Nothing has been released yet. And IMO it should be.

Correction: It seems that some were informed of the tape, though seemingly not shown the tape, and that it does indeed include an Iraqi officer. Still this is all speculative and could be resolved by making all this public knowledge. Also, if U.S. soldiers were filming, then they were accomplices.

iquanyin's avatar

“faults are like plants. bury them deep, they grow. pull them up by the roots and expose them, they wither and die.” —a wise friend i know

and why is “moving on” assumed to be always the best thing? isn’t it sometimes best to stop, stay put, and examine where you’ve been, why you’re where you are, and what road to take next?

after all, what’s the hurry?

augustlan's avatar

I don’t know how I feel about this, quite honestly. I think the facts need to be made public, but I’m not so sure about the images. In a perfect world, I’d say the pictures should be released (unless there are privacy issues regarding the victims)... but we don’t live in a perfect world. Those images are likely to add fuel to the fire for our enemies, and right now is probably not the time to do that. Situations like this make me glad I’m not the president.

oratio's avatar

Well, I think that Obama can be a president that appears to hide things, or a president that appears to root out injustice. Hiding things that everybody knows is there only leads to speculation, fueling conspiracy hypothesis with a lot of maybe’s, but then again there are always people out there that doubts the most substantiated information.

The extremists will always find a way to discredit the US. Fear and hatred has no logic.
I agree with @Kelly27 that the full story should be made public, and not an graphic orgy in abuse. Terrorists already have good recruiting material though these pictures and videos might amplify that. Maybe it’s not the right timing when up scaling the presence in Afghanistan, I don’t know.

But I say come clean. I think the president should show that the american values are not something the US and the president used to stand for, and is not rhetoric like Bush’s speeches where he threw around the words freedom and justice like a five year old with a ketchup bottle.

janbb's avatar

I am in favor of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the incidents of torture, the so-called “legal” justification of it and who originated it (although we know that.) I think a report from that commission should be made public. I would like to see Obama establish such a commission. I think we need to do this as a country before moving on. I’m not sure how I feel about prosecutions of the Bushies…

I do think the release of the photos to the public is a difficult issue. While I agree that we need to deal with this issue, I can see the release of the photos being so inflammatory and being used for recruitment by terrorists. I’m with Augustlan on this, I’m glad I’m not the president.

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