New York/Bullets

Tenth Avenue/Chelsea — © Brian Rose

The existence of numerous photographs showing American torture of detainees held in Afghanistan and Iraq is an established fact. The release of those photographs is being held up by the president and by others in government who believe that it might incite violence against American troops stationed in those places. Today in the Times Lindsey Graham, conservative Republican senator from South Carolina is quoted saying: “Every photo is a bullet for our enemy.”

In other words, the fact of torture is not what incites our enemy, but the image of torture. We can talk about the acts portrayed in those images–similar to those already released of Abu Ghraib–but we cannot see or show the facts.

They are bullets–bullets aimed at us.

Aimed, ultimately, at those who conceived the policy of torture, those who rationalized the legal/moral grounds for using torture, those who gave the orders to use torture, those who transferred the orders to use torture through the chain of command, those who then tortured detainees in the field, those who covered up and continue to cover up knowledge of torture, those who excused and continue to excuse the use of torture, and those who seek to prevent the truth in all its sordid aspects to see the light of day.

Photographs are bullets. No photography allowed.