The WikiLeaks spotlight is once again trained on American war crimes in Iraq
WikiLeaks finds itself in the spotlight all over again. The decision of the whistleblower website to put its full “unredacted” archive of more than 250,000 US government cables online has led to an uproar in the media, with many including its two leading media partners The Guardian and New York Times protesting that the move puts sources at risk. Newspapers that have collaborated with WikiLeaks to publish loads of extremely interesting — and explosive — material have until now used blue pencil to conceal the identity of sources. However, Julian Assange’s baby seems to believe that after “shining a light on 45 years of US ‘diplomacy’ it is time to open the archives forever,” as the website claimed in a tweet.
Be that as it may, these dispatches of US diplomats around the world are extraordinarily enlightening in nature. They once again prove the adage that facts are more interesting than fiction. These dry diplomatic cables are more engrossing than a Dan Brown riddle or a legal thriller by John Grisham. Some of the newly released cables deal with the US role in South Asia and the endless diplomatic games played between India and Pakistan and Pakistan’s internal power struggle between its powerful army and the discredited, insecure politicians.
So on the one hand, if you have Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani magnanimously telling the US Ambassador Anne Patterson that he had had the opportunity to take out the civilian dispensation led by Asif Zardari but chose not to and on the other hand you have the ever inimitable Rehman Malik pleading with Washington to “protect” his boss and why Zardari is crucial to fighting America’s war. The US comes across as walking an impossible tightrope between Pakistan and India. While it needs Pakistan to fight its war, it wants India to protect its interests in the region, especially in efforts to check China’s phenomenal rise. So even as US envoy Timothy Roemer welcomes the departure of India’s National Security Adviser Narayanan because of his “obstructionist” role on Kashmir and Pakistan, he cautions Washington against possible “activism” citing Delhi’s hypersensitivity to “third party” role when it comes to the K-conundrum. In the end, US interests as always take precedence over its much-trumpeted ideals. While WikiLeaks’ disclosures on South Asia are mostly harmless, it is the US role in the countries it has invaded and occupied over the past decade that truly reveals what many suspect to be America’s real face.
As the cold-blooded 2007 killing of Iraqi civilians, including a Reuters cameraman, by US soldiers in an Apache helicopter, shocked everyone last year, the latest disclosures detailing numerous instances of the casual brutality of occupation forces are sure to outrage the world. In just one instance, during a raid in 2006, an entire Iraqi family, including one man, four women and five children, was executed and their house blown by a US airstrike in order to destroy the evidence.
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