MR. GIBBS: Well, obviously the president has great concern about any impact that pictures of potential detainee abuse, in the past, could have on the present-day service members that are protecting our freedom either in Iraq, Afghanistan or throughout the world. That’s something the president is very cognizant of. And we are working to — we are working currently to figure out what the process is, moving forward.
Q Does that mean the decision could be reversed?
MR. GIBBS: I don’t want to get into that right now.
Kristol thinks that, at a minimum, The One will appeal the Second Circuit’s order that the photos be published: “The release of photos is less justifiable than that of memos in terms of the public’s right to know, soldiers are more popular than lawyers, and this wouldn’t be a (however distasteful) assault on the actions of a previous administration–this would be a gratuitous assault on the well-being and the reputation of our fighting men and women.” A fair point — Obama can afford to be seen as anti-CIA but not “anti-military” — although I wonder if he’s backpedaled so far on issues related to terrorism by now that he simply has to appease his base with this. He’s doubling down in Afghanistan; thanks to Pelosi, the torture debate is blowing up in his face (even by the admission of some lefties); he’s going forward with military tribunals; and on and on. Don’t think Cheney’s forgotten about those CIA memos that supposedly prove the value of enhanced interrogation, either: He promised Fox News this afternoon that he’s not going to “roll over” for Obama, even as liberals on WaPo’s op-ed page are starting to wonder if he’s right about torture after all. The One’s got to give the left something; why not give them this? He can blame the whole thing on the court order and call a presser to emphasize that the pics aren’t representative of the actions of the military as a whole, most members of which behave with impeccable discipline, etc. I’ll be surprised if he reverses himself.
As a gloss on this subject, two videos from this morning of another Cheney who’s quite persuasive but who made a bad mistake in the Fox News interview when she framed the decision to release the photos as further evidence of it having become “fashionable for us to side, really, with the terrorists.” The media’s already seized on it and the left will go duly berserk, adding pressure on Obama to proceed with the release and not cave to the right. It’s a shame because the rest of the interview’s quite good, as is her exchange with Eugene Robinson in the MSNBC clip. At least watch the part at 10:50 when she freezes him by asking if he really wouldn’t waterboard KSM if he thought it could save lives.