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
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
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
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
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.
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
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