Monday, July 26, 2010

The War Logs

Well, the more questioning among us always knew that war crimes were being committed by coalition forces in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, when Wikileaks publishes over 90,000, mostly classified, US military documents which, time and again, give firm evidence of an array of atrocities, it becomes difficult not only for the Pentagon to deny those crimes but also for all but the most myopic to to see the true nature of this criminal war. Therefore, although the White House national security adviser General Jim Jones says that the release of the documents endangers the lives of coalition troops, which  Julian Assange rejects saying that the material has no operational consequences, it is not a question of who is right or wrong on this particular point.

After all, the fact is, war crimes have been committed and are still being committed and while logic dictates that more and more people in Afghanistan will become united in their hatred of foreign troops, thereby leaving those troops even more exposed, there is, of course, a simple solution for the coalition forces. They have to start withdrawing their troops and stop killing civilians immediately. That, of course, will address the Pentagon's concern that the revealed information could endanger the lives of the killers on the ground.

Still, we can at least be grateful for one thing and that is, we have been confronted by a body of evidence which Washington just cannot ignore and and a response from the Pentagon and the White House which would at least suggest that we have not quite slipped into that Orwellian world where a Ministry of Truth is actually capable of surpressing information like this. Yes, the good thing is that there are no denials from Washington, whereas in  Pakistan the response to the news that leaked US military records shows that its intelligence agency (ISI) helped, and is still helping, the Taliban is quite simply denied. At which point we might want to revisit Steve Coll's excellent book, "Ghost Wars".

War crimes have been committed and committed not only by regular troops but also by secret CIA paramilitaries, foreign troops are not welcome in Afghanistan and America's main ally in the region has been aiding its enemy. An enemy we are told that is much stronger than we were lead to believe and the hope is that the next time some young British soldier is lying and dying on Afghanistan's fields perhaps even the most myopic will ask why. It is that hope that makes me think that Wikileaks, with some 15,000 documents still to come, has done and is doing a good job, a very good job.

No comments: