Thursday, May 21, 2009
President Barack Obama is defending his decision to oppose the release of photos showing abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan by U.S. personnel.
In his speech Thursday at the National Archives, the president said he has an obligation to protect Americans who are serving in harm's way, and that the release of the photos would endanger them by inflaming anti-American opinion.
He also said those who are guilty of wrongdoing depicted in the photos have been held accountable, and that there is no dispute the conduct was wrong.
He concluded that there was no reason to release them — but there was a "clear and compelling reason" not to.
President Obama said that wasn't the case with Bush administration memos that authorized controversial interrogation techniques. He says they allowed Americans to better understand how the methods came to be used — so the president authorized the memos' release.