After much speculation and public discussion, President Barack Obama has decided not to release pictures of alleged torture done at Abu Ghraib. On the surface, this is a good move because their release would serve no legitimate or positive results, as Obama himself said.
But is it too late?
Although the Abu Ghraib situation has been debated for years, the possibility that the photos from it would be released is relatively recent. At first, the Obama Administration came out and said that they would release the photos. This, in turn, created a firestorm of criticism from the right, and cheers of excitement from the left. While the two ideologies battled over the issue, the Obama Administration made a huge mistake by not taking control of the situation more forcefully. A simple statement, not unlike the Executive Order issued that would review next year whether to close Gitmo, would have gone a long way towards keeping some semblence of peace and would have given Obama time to think through the situation.
Instead, he declared a side early, only to have to reverse field later upon further review. I don't mind the flip-flop so much as I mind the length of time it took Obama to come to the right decision. That gave people on both sides the opening they needed to take control of the issue and take the decision out of Obama's hands. No matter what he did, it was irrelevant.
And that's the last thing Obama needed with this controversial subject.