A reader writes:
I do not understand why it is so important for the photos to be released. We know that this behavior occurred. What good would the release of these photos to the public do? Shock factor? I think anyone who has followed the situation in the least is well aware that the torture took place. I didn't have to see a photograph of Lacy Peterson's dead body to understand that she was murdered by her husband. The memos were released that document the torture. What more is needed? I don't understand how this is covering anything up when he already allowed information to be released that documents the torture.
The reason is pretty simple. Without photos, we would never have heard of the mass abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib. Bush and Cheney would be denying today that any of it happened at all. When the photos were uncovered, revealing clearly what the anodyne words "stress position", "mock execution", "forced nudity" etc actually meant, we finally were able to hold the government accountable for the abuse it authorized.
Of course, they lied to us and to the Congress about this, declaring that these techniques, meticulously crafted in Washington, had been improvised by a few "bad apples" on the night shift whom the Weekly Standard believed should be jailed or executed (that was before they discovered that their friends were deeply implicated).