Answer: NEITHER OF THEM! Although Obama seems to be more practical, he’s still holding on to an ideology and we can see this through the whole torture debates. Here is their philosophical positions as I can see it:
OBAMA: Since we are a democracy and a nation of law, torture is inherently wrong. We are a nation that does not torture and we will not torture. Along with this, I would think that Obama’s philosophy is that if there comes to a “ticking-time bomb scenario” (which is hardly likely), then torture might be the exception. However, in a situation like this, everyone needs to know about it. Previous presidents have taken away rights of people and declared it publicly (Lincoln and FDR, for example). With everyone knowing about it, there’s no need for secrecy and everyone can understand what the situation is. Thus, if there comes to a situation where rights of man are to be taken away, not only will people know about it, but everyone should know about it. If not, then the world (and our own citizens) will look at the US with distrust, contempt, and the problem.
CHENEY: We are a nation of law, but there are cases where to protect the safety of everyone, you have to sacrifice the liberties of the few. Thus, torture is instrumentally (or perhaps primae facie) wrong. Yes, we don’t torture and we shouldn’t torture, unless. . . These torture techniques (actually, Cheney calls them “interrogation techniques”) has helped saved lives and it keeps America safe. Now with this, no one should know about this. If this gets released to the public, then it will just embolden the enemy. Our enemies will know about these techniques and they’ll train to get used to them or the information will be a great recruitment tool for more al-Qaeda members. Thus, if there comes to a situation where rights of man are to be taken away, no only will we not tell the world, but we shouldn’t tell the world. The less people know about it, the better.
This, I take it, is their philosophical positions. Now, Obama has somewhat gone back on his philosophical consistency by not releasing the photos. His justification is similar to Cheney’s: our enemies will know about it and it will just embolden them.
For me, I lean heavily toward Obama’s position. With this, I wish he did release the photos so that the world would know what we did and then we can move on. As for prosecuting the people who legitimated the torturing, I’m still up in the air about it.