I had been planning to write this anyway, but after seeing Lee Stranahan's video "Segregation" I wanted to wait to see if I could get a comment from the White House on this first.
President Obama's decision to block the release of detainee abuse photographs on the grounds that their release might endanger US troops is a controversial one but one with which I ultimately agree. However, it has also been pointed out that his failure to stop discharges of gay soldiers also carries some risk. I asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about it at today's briefing:
I didn't really expect Gibbs to say, "OK, Tommy, we'll do it if you think it's a good idea." I also didn't ask as a way to make the President the bad guy here.
While I wish the President would put an immediate stop to this, I recognize the political calculus here. A unilateral action now could hamper a more lasting legislative solution later. While the President has demonstrated superb instincts in the past on "keeping the powder dry," I think people are ready for this, and it is worth the political risk.
I mainly asked about it in hopes of re-framing this issue in the public conversation.
Gibbs' point is that the detainee photo issue has no legislative remedy, whereas the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy does. Unsaid, but also true, is the fact that the harm caused by the photos would be much more immediate and direct, hence the urgency.
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