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Leaks expose criminal war

End U.S. occupation of Afghanistan

Published Jul 28, 2010 3:14 PM

The media explosion following the publication of reports of some 90,000 classified cables between U.S. officials may accelerate the struggle to end the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan.

Those thousands of people in the U.S. who have paid close attention to Afghanistan may have already known that the occupation was criminal, was based on a fraudulent argument and was collapsing. Now tens of millions of people share this knowledge. No longer can elected or appointed officials claim ignorance of U.S.-NATO war crimes or the war’s disastrous path.

The strategy debate within and outside the Barack Obama administration and the Pentagon had already hit the news. Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s firing and his replacement by Gen. David Petraeus made it public. This latest media blitz now brings it before the entire population of the U.S. and its reluctant NATO allies. It turns the generals’ crisis into a public debate.

Millions now also know that someone within the military machine, acting on a desire to stop U.S. war crimes, leaked these documents to the Wikileaks organization. There are undoubtedly others in the virtual belly of the militarist beast who understand their responsibility to humanity and will expose the truth and stop the crimes. The anti-war forces have a duty to defend these whistle-blowers and inspire others to follow suit.

Timing the publication

Wikileaks had arranged to release the 90,000 documents, covering the period from 2004 to 2009 in Afghanistan, to three powerful corporate media. The New York Times in the U.S., the Guardian in Britain and Der Spiegel in Germany, after analyzing and editing the documents over some months to remove some names, released them July 26. The Times had also informed the Obama administration on July 23 that it would publish them.

There followed secondary reports in thousands of newspaper and broadcast media stories, which are continuing on July 27. These stories have also evoked strong reactions from the U.S., Afghan and Pakistani governments.

The Obama administration attacked Wikileaks’ publication of the material, calling it “a crime” and claiming Wiki- leaks’ anti-war history makes it biased. The administration also claims that the documents put U.S. forces at risk, although no names are used and the cables involve no current operations.

The Times, which has supported the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan from October 2001 to the present day, put its own biased spin on the data. The Times’ coverage has minimized the importance of the information exposed in the cables and focused attention on the alleged role of Pakistan supporting the Taliban. This approach draws attention away from U.S.-NATO war crimes against Afghan civilians and the complete lack of a legitimate justification for the occupation.

The Guardian has a more nearly balanced coverage. This paper has published more articles critical of the occupation of Afghanistan. The Guardian has provided a type of indexing, making it possible to locate specific cables. If one were to read each cable in only three minutes, reading 12 hours a day, it would take over a year to read them all.

Pentagon Papers 2?

When Daniel Ellsberg released “the Pentagon Papers” in 1971 to a public that already opposed or had doubts about the U.S. war on Vietnam, their publication accelerated the anti-war movement. Ellsberg has likened the Wikileaks release to the scale of the earlier Pentagon Papers, although he points out that they don’t reveal top secret policy decisions.

The Pentagon Papers exposed the Lyndon Johnson administration’s lies about an alleged North Vietnamese patrol boat attack on U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf in August 1964. Johnson used this phony story as a pretext to bomb two major North Vietnamese cities, Hanoi and Haiphong, and to escalate the war.

Those active in the anti-war movement knew of this fraud long before the Pentagon Papers were released in 1971. Following the first bombing raids in 1964, Workers World editor-in-chief Deirdre Griswold and contributing editor Fred Goldstein stayed up all night to write a leaflet for Youth Against War and Fascism that nailed the alleged attack as a phony pretext for expanding the war. This writer distributed that leaflet at an all-day protest at the United Nations the next day.

But it took seven years of a failed criminal war and ever growing protests to make the Pentagon Papers happen. In turn, their publication exposed the fraud to the entire population, adding to the protests that helped to finally end the war. A small revolutionary group swimming against the tide then became the flood.

Perhaps the Wikileaks publication will inspire continued exposures of the criminal plans of the U.S. administrations to invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq at horrible costs to the local populations and to thousands of U.S. youths.

Defend the whistle-blowers

It is also important that anti-war forces defend those in the military and government who make the truth available to the public and expose the criminal war conspiracies of the various administrations. A GI who allegedly released these documents and an earlier video to Wikileaks, Spc. Bradley Manning, is currently being held in Kuwait by the Army. A petition supporting him can be signed at the International Action Center website (iacenter.org), among others.