President should classify detainee photos (Sen. James Inhofe)

After a House-Senate conference last week, the U.S. House is preparing to pass additional funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is just one problem, the bill that came out of the conference did not reflect the will of the Senate.

As part of the funding bill, the U.S. Senate had voted with unanimous consent to include a ban on the release of additional detainee abuse photos. Despite the fact that all 100 U.S. Senators had spoken with one voice on this matter, the language was stripped from the conference report—reportedly to help the measure pass the House.

During the conference debate, President Obama sent a communiqué to the conferees promising his commitment to keep the photos sealed. If the President is so committed to the issue, why is he not willing to stand up to the radically liberal section of his party, and protect the photos by classifying them with one stroke of his pen?

Instead, the U.S. Senate is being asked “trust” the President and reverse its strong position. On the one hand we are asked to vote for funding that supports our troops, but on the other hand we are asked to vote for something that could potentially further endanger our troops and undermine our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations around the world.

Those responsible for perpetrating the prisoner abuses documented by the photos have been punished. Unfortunately, the wrong actions by a few soil the good reputation of all our military members that serve our country with honor. Instead of providing additional information, the photos would only serve to open old wounds. In addition, the photos would damage our efforts in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and would reignite animosity against our men and women in uniform.

On this issue, the President needs to put the lives of our troops above politics. To that end, the President should classify the photos as a tangible manifestation of his commitment to protect our troops.