The now-infamous whistleblower website Wikileaks
has finally released the greatly anticipated leaked evidence of how wrong
things really are in Afghanistan.
The British newspaper The Guardian summarizes: �A huge cache of secret U.S. military files
. . . provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan,
revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported
incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring
Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.
come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about
the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers� website Wikileaks in one of the
biggest leaks in U.S. military history. The files, which were made available to
the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a
blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far
cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.�
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is in hiding. The U.S.
authorities apparently want to shoot the messenger (hopefully only in a
U.S. National Security Advisor General James Jones released
a statement alleging that the leaks �could
put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national
Excuse me, but the leaks are just shining a light on the
reality of that war. And we already knew -- or suspected -- many of these �secrets.�
In fact, Michael Isikoff has reported for NBC
News that �[an] ongoing Pentagon review of the massive flood of secret
documents made public by the WikiLeaks website has so far found no evidence
that the disclosure harmed U.S. national security or endangered American troops
in the field.�
Does any of this sound familiar? It should. Apparently the
White House didn�t learn from the recent Shirley Sherrod fiasco that they need
to do their homework and not just react to every little bit of �news� in a
knee-jerk kind of way.
Those little details aside, hiding the truth will not undo
the damage we�ve done in Afghanistan. And the American people have a right to
know how our tax dollars are being misused.
When he was campaigning for the presidency in 2008, Barack
Obama promised us a more transparent government. To keep that promise, he needs
to show us the bad as well as the good. And then let the voters be the judges.
Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and
activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a
former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights
group Amnesty International, and her views appear regularly in a variety of
newspapers, magazines, and websites. Note that the ideas expressed here are the
author�s own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty
International or any other organization with which she may be associated.