A quote from Barack Obama’s continuation of George W. Bush’s War On Terror:
“He likes to kill things. He is pretty much evil incarnate. I mean, I have never met a man who can go from one minute joking around, then mindless killings. I mean, he likes to kill things.”
A description of Osama Bin Laden? No. A description of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs.
Gibbs was the ringleader of a group of Army soldiers who hunted unarmed civilians in Afghanistan and collected body parts as trophies after posing for photographs with the victims as if they were on safari.
When the father of one of the soldiers in the platoon led by Gibbs reported first such murder to the U.S. Army, he was told to forget about it, because nothing could be done. Now, President Barack Obama is engaged in a shadow of that original coverup.
The government has photographs showing the American soldiers posing next to their victims. It has photographs of the body parts collected by the soldiers. Yet, President Obama has decided to keep these photographs secret.
Why? We’re told it’s because, if the photographs were released, Afghans would be outraged and the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan would be endangered.
That argument makes no sense, however, given that Afghans already know about the murders, and are already outraged. As for American soldiers in Afghanistan, it’s the fact that their comrades have murdered civilians that endangers their lives, not the fact that there are photographs of the atrocities.
The decision, reminiscent of Obama’s previous decision to conceal photographs of torture by Americans, seems to be more about domestic politics than about protecting the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Despite opposition from the political base of his own party, President Obama decided to expand the war in Afghanistan rather than drawing it down. The photographs, if released, would illustrate the consequences of that decision, and remind Americans that the best way to protect the lives of American soldiers is not to keep them in a war zone for an entire decade.