As Michael Goldfarb reported at the Weekly Standard last Friday (see Mark Hemingway’s post here on the Corner), top Democrats are trying to kill the Graham/Lieberman amendment that would bar the disclosure of the prisoner abuse photos that the President says he doesn’t want disclosed (even though his Justice Department tried to get them disclosed) because their revelation would endanger American troops and serve as a terrorist recruitment tool.
Senators Graham and Lieberman have issued this statement:
We strongly believe that the first responsibilities of government are the nation’s security and the protection of those brave Americans who go into harm’s way to defend it.
The President has said that the release of the photos of detainees in US custody would ‘put our troops and civilians serving our nation abroad in greater danger.’ We agree with the Commander in Chief.
We will employ all the legislative means available to us including opposing the supplemental war spending bill and attaching this amendment, which was unanimously adopted by the Senate, to every piece of legislation the Senate considers, to be sure the President has the authority he needs not to release these photos and any others that would jeopardize the safety and security of our troops.
The release of the photos will serve as propaganda and recruiting tool for terrorists who seek to attack American citizens at home and abroad. We should strive to have as open a government as possible, but the behavior depicted in the photos has been prohibited and is being investigated. The photos do not depict anything that is not already known. Transparency, and in this case needless transparency, should not be paid for with the lives of American citizens, let alone the lives of our men and women in uniform fighting on our behalf in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Let it clearly be understood that without this legislation the photos in question are likely to be released. Such a release would be tantamount to a death sentence to some who are serving our nation in the most dangerous and difficult spots like Iraq and Afghanistan. It is this certain knowledge of these consequences of having the photos released that will cause us to vote against the supplemental and continue our push to turn our important amendment into law.