Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, disagrees with the President Obama’s decision to reverse his course and not release photos allegedly showing U.S. personnel abusing prisoners.
Obama had originally said he would release the photos, then changed his stance saying the photos would influence anti-American opinion and endanger troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Harkin says the photos should be released as the public has a right to know what was done by government officials and says "it’s especially true when it concerns official government policy that was in direct conflict with our most basic values and where laws were broken."
Military leaders lobbied Obama to change his stance on the photos. Harkin says the advice Obama got was wrong.Harkin says the pictures won’t be under wraps forever and will eventually come out one way or other. Obama has directed government lawyers to try and block the release of the photos.
On another issue, Senator Harkin says work is underway to draft the language of the healthcare reform bill, and it should be done by the end of this month. Harkin says they want to get the bill into committee in June, pass it by the August recess, and have it on the president’s desk by sometime this fall. The last big efforts at healthcare reform stalled — but Harkin believes things are different this time.
Harkin says in 1993 they didn’t have the health insurance industry, didn’t have the medical community, businesses and labor all together on the issue — but they do now. "Everyone’s saying this system cannot continue on, the status quo is unacceptable," Harkin says. Harkin says more and more people are making pleas to lawmakers and telling horror stories about the American medical system. Harkin says healthcare is also impacting and already tough economy for companies.
Harkin says businesses are being sapped by the cost of medical care, and he says "when our auto companies are putting more money into healthcare per car than steel, then something is wrong." Harkin says the reform also has leadership from the White House. He says the president has made healthcare one of his top priorities.