We were wondering this morning whether Robert Gibbs' noncommittal responses yesterday signaled that President Obama was getting cold feet about allowing the release of the latest round of detainee-abuse photos.
WASHINGTON - Defense and military officials tell NBC News that President Obama will seek to delay the release of hundreds of photos which reportedly depict the abuse of prisoners by U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is expected to announce Obama's decision.
The Pentagon has said it will release the pictures this month.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq met with Obama at the White House Tuesday to ask the administration not to release the photos. Defense officials say Odierno is "vehemently opposed" to the release because he fears it could create a widespread "backlash" against military forces in both war zones.
According to one official, "It would put a bullseye on the backs of our forces."
According to military officials many of the photos are similar to the infamous prisoner abuse photos out of Abu Ghraib prison, but some of these photos reportedly include mug shots of prisoners who appear to have been badly beaten during their capture or interrogation.
The photos were gathered in the course of dozens of military investigations of prisoner abuse between 2001 and 2006.
At this point, it looks like Obama plans to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, and if they lose there (as they have at all previous levels), they won't have any choice about releasing them.
In the meantime, they'll now be using up their political capital to defend Dick Cheney and his merry band of torturers. Now, that's a lovely prospect, isn't it? I'm sure Cheney will repay him generously for the effort.
It would be nice, though, if someone took the time to point out once again that the very fears about Arab reaction to these photos, and the consequences for our soldiers in the field -- not to mention the radicalizing effect it has, effectively creating future terrorists -- are exactly the main reason why torture doesn't, can't, and never will keep us safe. And why Cheney and Co. utterly failed to actually keep Americans safe, not just during their tenure, but for the foreseeable future.