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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Freedom of Information...

Do we really need some of the information that people are fighting the government for?

I recently read an article about a Judge ruling the release of dozens more pictures of prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib. The government had arguments that the images would provoke terrorists and incite violence against the U.S. troops in Iraq.

Hellerstein ordered the release of 74 pictures and three videotapes from the Abu Ghraib prison, potentially opening the military up to more embarrassment from a
scandal that stirred outrage around the world last year, when photos of the 2003
abuse became public.

With this information, I have to ask... Why? Why do we need to see these pictures? Is it to make it more real? We can't change what had happened. It's a terrible act that should have never happened. But do we really need to release more pictures and videos of it?

Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, said Thursday that releasing the photos would hinder his work against terrorism.

"When we continue to pick at the wound and show the pictures over and over again it just creates the image, a false image, like this is the sort of stuff that is happening anew, and it's not," Abizaid said.

I completely understand the need for the Freedom of Information Act. There are some things that the people of the United States need to know in order to make informed decision when we have the opportunity to voice our opinions and vote on the issues important to us.

What is the real point of releasing these photos and videos? Is it because of curiosity?

According to the article, the judge states:

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said that terrorists "do not need pretexts for their barbarism" and that suppressing the pictures would amount to submitting to blackmail.

"Our nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear of blackmail is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from performing a statutory command. Indeed, the freedoms that we champion are as important to our success in Iraq and Afghanistan as the guns and missiles with which our troops are armed," he said.

So these are being released because of blackmail... I don't recall anyone ever calling it black mail... I don't recall hearing any terrorist organizations saying there would be retaliations for putting out photos and videos relating to the things that happened within this prison.

So does this make it right to send out these photos? Isn't this somewhat similar to the issue with the Danish Cartoons that were published which caused rioting and several deaths?

Sure we have the freedom of speech and the freedom to information, but does that make it right to make the readily available for people to see and get upset about?

I personally feel it would be irresponsible on anyone's part to have these photos and videos released. I can not imagine one good thing that could come from doing this. There are likely to be MANY bad things that can, and likely will, happen if they are released.

Why add fuel to an already raging fire?


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