Despite demands by human rights advocates that photos documenting abuse of military detainees be made public, the Senate last month passed legislation to block their release. The legislation is now before the House. President Obama supports these efforts. This is all goodnews. Classifying the photos would help protect those detainees’ basic rights to dignity and privacy.
After the release of photographs in 2004 showing abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, I shared with many Americans simultaneous disgust and pride. I was appalled at what the soldiers in the pictures had done in America’s name, but proud that those who leaked the photographs had taken the crucial steps necessary to right a terrible wrong in our treatment of detainees in Iraq.
I realize now, though, that I paid little attention to the primary subjects of the photographs: the Iraqi detainees. I pitied them, of course, but did not think about whether their dignity was being tarnished by the constant display of their naked bodies in the news media.
Read more of the op-ed in The New York Times.