The Corner

Inflammatory Photos and Keeping America Safe

The Obama administration will soon release photos purportedly depicting instances of prisoner abuse beyond those that occurred at Abu Ghraib.

No doubt these photos will get widespread play — both in Western media and in the Middle East. Indeed, there’s a fair probability that the photos will get more repeated play than depictions of the 9/11 attacks, photos and videos of which seemed to disappear from TV screens within a few days of 9/11. The concern was that constant replays of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers and Americans jumping from the 100th floor to avoid incineration would inflame the instincts of bloodthirsty Americans for vengeance.

Yet, when the president released the enhanced interrogation memos, administration representatives and acolytes appeared on various cable news shows claiming that the disclosure of such memos made the country safer and stronger. It’s likely we’ll hear the same rationalizations when the prisoner-abuse photos are released; by displaying alleged instances of U.S. wrongdoing, we’re enhancing our security. No need to worry about inflaming our enemies.

This is, after all, a perfectly logical conclusion for those who embrace the administration’s worldview: After all, we Americans are an especially combustible lot (especially that treacherous subset of extremists identified by Secretary Napolitano: veterans and pro-lifers), susceptible to wanton acts of retribution when exposed to images of our countrymen being slaughtered.

But when we release memos and photos of alleged prisoner abuse to our enemies, it disarms and pacifies them. Astounded by our acts of transparency and contrition, they forswear violence and vengeance. Thus, we’re safer and stronger.

Yup. Works every time.


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