U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein is the guy who ordered the government to turn over more Abu Ghraib photos to the ACLU. His reason?
Our nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear of blackmail is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from performing a statutory command. Indeed, the freedoms that we champion are as important to our success in Iraq and Afghanistan as the guns and missiles with which our troops are armed
I didn’t know those freedoms included the freedom to arm our enemy with propaganda. It’s not defending torture to say that the release of these photos, which depict acts that have already been investigated and people who have already been punished, will almost certainly be used, just as the Koran-flushing incident was, to justify more riots, more terrorism and more dead Americans. Blackmail? Who is blackmailing whom? The terrorists aren’t blackmailing us. They aren’t saying, “Don’t release those photos or we’ll cut someone’s head off.” It’s just a fact that if do release the photos, they will cut someone’s head off. I guess I’m submitting to blackmail every time I refuse to insult an angry drunk at a bar.
My only hope is that the press acts more responsibly than Judge Hellerstein if the government doesn’t win on appeal.