Bloggers React to Detainee Photos Decision

Reactions to President Obama's detainee-photos decision were mixed: Republican lawmakers uniformly praised the decision, and, on the web, conservatives alternately praised Obama for making the right call and accused him of political expediency, promise-breaking, and taking an unrealistic stance in the first place. On the left, bloggers said it's more important to break with Bush policies than to keep the photos hidden from view, while the tone of some critics was bitter and disappointed.

Obama, for his part, defended the decision by saying the photos could put U.S. soldiers at greater risk; he did say, however, that he had made it clear to military officials that detainee abuse would not be tolerated.

On the left...

TPM's David Kurtz calls the decision "very lame": "Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is on TV now defending the move with what I have to say is an extremely lame rationale. He doesn't look like he's convinced even himself."

Firedoglake's Gregg Levine takes issue with the logic behind the decision: "it isn't the photos; it is the acts themselves that put US troops in danger. The abuse is widely known among Iraqis, and those inclined to act don't need photographic evidence as justification."

As does TAPPED's Adam Serwer: "The public interest in seeing what was done in their name, in my view, trumps the government's right to obscure it's own wrongdoing."

Crooks and Liars' David Niewert poses Obama as a defender of Cheney: "they'll now be using up their political capital to defend Dick Cheney and his merry band of torturers. Now, that's a lovely prospect, isn't it?"

Jameel Jaffer, the chief ACLU lawyer who argued for the photos' release, says Obama went back on his administration's commitments: "It is inconsistent not only with commitments the Obama administration has made to us and to the courts but inconsistent with the promise of transparency that President Obama has repeated so many times"

Daily Kos's mcjoan says the decision won't necessary protect American soldiers: "It's just as arguable that Al Qaeda and any other terrorist organization will be able to recruit if President Obama doesn't make a clean break with and repudiation of Bush/Cheney policies as it is that these photos will do further damage."

On the right...

RedState's Moe Lane mocks Obama for breaking a promise: "As Jim Geraghty notes, all of Obama's promises come with an expiration date. All of them."

Gateway Pundit calls it a political move: "Obama already looked weak and doesn't have a very respectable record on national defense so this was the right political move"

contentions' Jennifer Rubin calls it "an overwhelmingly positive sign that the president is subject to persuasion and reason and that those defending the country by placing their own lives on the line carry more sway than ideological extremists in the Justice Department."

Kathryn Jean Lopez calls it "the right decision."

Michelle Malkin says Obama's promises couldn't be sustained: "Reality bites the White House in the ass, again."

The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb says Obama rebuked "elements on the left that would expose the president to political danger, and the troops to mortal danger, only to see the last administration implicated in any kind of abuse." and that "The president should be praised for resisting those elements even as his actions also serve his own self-interest."

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus


A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book


The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"


This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.


What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Politics

Just In