My fellow Americans,
There has been some heated controversy over whether the United States government should release a certain group of photos to the public. These photos were the subject of a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union and show abuse of prisoners held in United States custody.
There are many who feel that sharing these images with the world will serve to inflame passions in those who would do us harm. Others feel that the public deserves to know the truth about what was done in its name, regardless of the consequences.
It is my considered opinion that, while these images may indeed exacerbate feelings of anger toward our country with those already inclined to such feelings, and possibly even ignite new fires of hatred among certain others, it would be even more damaging to tell the world that we have something to hide. If we share these images, we may hear, at the least, "How could you do such a thing?" If we don't, we will definitely hear, at the least, "What are you so ashamed of?"
The release of these images is not to suggest that there is no shame here. There is. We do feel shame for the abuses that occurred. And we solemnly vow that we will do everything in our power to ensure that they will never again take place in a country that is free, democratic and committed to the rule of law. We are confident that an honest accounting of our actions will send the signal to the world that we are capable of reflection and improvement and that, no matter what has happened in the past, the light of truth will lead us toward a brighter day of healing and reconciliation with not only the global community but with our own constitution.
It is with a heavy heart that I share these images with the public. They are difficult to view. Many of them are ugly and disturbing. But a free nation is never afraid to face its demons. And as we confront ours by sharing these images with our own citizens and with the citizens of the world, we ask those who choose to view them to do so not with an eye towards retribution but with a renewed sense that we are a strong nation that will prevail over those who wish to do us harm not by hiding in the shadows but by seeking the light of truth and freedom in all of our endeavors.
Thank you and may the United States of America always be a beacon of hope for the world.
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