A few weeks ago, when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in town, it was reported that he asked President Obama for his autograph…for his daughter Amrit Singh who works for the ACLU (see our previous posts):
How big an international star is President Obama? Even other world leaders want his autograph.
When Obama met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this afternoon, the soft-spoken leader noted that his daughter wanted his American counterpart to autograph something for her. [Politico]
p>Amrit is the ACLU lawyer that has been leading the suit to obtain yet-to-be-released pictures that reportedly show the abuse of terror suspects in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Obama administration reversed its stance that previously agreed to allow the release of these damning pictures. Now Obama says “I changed my mind.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, which argued for the photos’ release, expressed outrage and said the decision “makes a mockery” of Obama’s campaign promise of transparency.
“It’s absolutely essential that these photos be released so the public can examine for itself the torture and abuse that was conducted in its name, and so that high-level officials who authorized or permitted that abuse can be held accountable,” ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said.
The human rights group Amnesty International said it was disappointed. [Link]
p>For what its worth I can see why this is a dilemma for Obama. On the one hand the ACLU is right: all deep dark secrets held by our government should be subjected to the light of day. It is the morally correct thing to do and it will help to guarantee liberty and justice in the future. On the other hand, Obama has supposedly put a stop to the abuses that occurred under the Bush administration. Releasing these pictures now will simply enflame opinion against the U.S. and lead to a violent backlash against the military (or at least make their jobs more difficult). It will undermine the progress Obama has made.
I wonder just what it was that Amrit asked to get Obama’s autograph on anyways. Maybe a blank piece of paper that she later edited to say says “Judge, I agree with Amrit on this.”