Arab Press: Iraq Wikileaks will Damage US Reputation

Wikileaks’ publication of 400,000 pages of previously secret documents on the Iraq War is roiling Western capitals and Baghdad. Julian Assange maintains that some 15,000 civilian deaths beyond the official US estimates are detailed in these documents. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the massive leak on grounds that it will endanger US troops. Assange maintains that the documents have been scrubbed so that no individual would come to harm from their publication.

The Iraqi government has been embarrassed by the allegations of prisoner abuse, and has vowed to investigate all such charges. The low-level US military reports repeatedly described instances of mistreatment of detainees that were seldom investigated by high US officers or officials. Many of the charges, however, pertain to the period before the summer, 2005, revelation of secret torture prisons for Sunni Arabs run by Ministry of Interior special police commandos, many of them from the Badr Corps or Mahdi Army Shiite militias.

The (Sunni) Arab nationalist London daily, al-Quds al-Arabi (Arab Jerusalem) slammed the US and its Iraqi allies. It says that the documents indicate that caretaker Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki may be implicated in the running of Shiite death squads. Likewise, they show that the US military covered up torture in Iraqi prisons and the involvement of Iraqi troops in widespread killings and torture. It says that the leaks show that the death toll consequent on the US invasion is much larger than had earlier been announced.

The documents, the daily says, accuse Iran of arming Shiite death squads and contain new information about the victims of US security company Blackwater (now Xe). Al-Quds al-Arabi says, “It is expected that the publication of the documents will have direct effects on the security and political condition in Iraq, as well as constituting a new blow to the reputation of the United States around the world, and especially in the Middle East.” It adds that although Iraq has fallen off the radar in American political debastes recently, the revelations could bring it back, as well as reviving painful memories of torture at Abu Ghraib, etc. (The paper is wrong about this; the US public has firmly put Iraq behind it and that debate is unlikely to revive because of these leaks; now new photographs, that might provoke some interest).

The Guardian has frequent updates as this story unfolds.

Aljazeera English reports on the revelations in the documents about further abuses committed by the private security firm, Blackwater.

12 Responses

  1. The biggest reason Wikileaks document release endangers lives is not the reason Hillary Clinton gives, but the potential of the document release to ignite American, Iraqi, and World outrage about how poorly the US military conducted its invasion, and what information it chose to keep secret from the American people to protect its reputation. The manifest wrongs and errors of the US military and war leadership are a self inflicted wound it has been determinedly secretized. It’s all about protecting the US military, and its taxpayer income stream, not about protecting people. Wikileaks is all about loosing the military’s hold on information.

    A critical review of public documents show that a day by day review of the Iraq war initiated by George Bush includes contravention of international law, contravention of military law, contravention of the ideals expressed in the US Constitution, contravention of the Geneva Accords, fraud, bribery, murder, kidnapping, hostage taking (including children), abuse, torture, widespread intentional destruction of essential public utilities (targeting a civilian population), insufficient planning and effort to maintain the basic functions of an occupied society, conspiracy to suppress evidence, open propaganda to support military public relations bias about conduct and progress of the war, profound ignorance of Iraqi religious, social, and religious culture, and ineptitude at every level, that is, at the tactical, operational, strategic, diplomatic, and civilian leadership levels of the military effort.

  2. Since we are unlikely to see coverage on our news channels, there is a one hour special today at 19.00 GMT ( 3:00 PM central standard ) on aljazeera English on line on live station. Perhapse professor Cole would provide us with the link to the video afterwards if he can find it.

  3. It’s increasingly hard not to laugh.

    “damage U.S. Reputation”

    Reputation for what?

    Being the most violent psychopathic bunch of murderers on the planet?

    This will surely only confirm and enhance it.

  4. We needed “leaks” to know that the regime we installed in Iraq would emulate the criminality of its “liberators”?

  5. My first thought was how conservatives in this country will attack the revelations in these documents and how it will be political suicide for anyone who dares to call for an investigation of our abuses.

    While I am extremely disappointed that we haven’t curtailed or ceased activities in Iraq and Afghanistan (less military and more contractors isn’t a reduction), I have no doubt that with Republican gains next week, we will have much less of a chance of getting out of these countries. There is also no chance that military or civilian perpetrators will face justice in this country. At least Great Britain has leaders willing to make the tough call for investigations.

    It’s just another sign of the ongoing decline of the United States.

    • And why would Repubs gain next week? Because we Americans are dumb enough to vote for them, and because there is no real opposition party (Dems are enablers of the Repubs)

    • The proof that you’re right – when it was the British who were on top and occupying 1/3 of the Earth’s land area including Iraq, they never bothered to investigate what their troops were doing and why. They are much more willing to uncover negative truths about post-imperial military missions that promise them no profit, annoying moral obligations from Washington or the UN.

      It’s the compusion to stay on top and hold onto conquests that makes proper oversight and adherence to international law appear like treason. The more we sense our empire is declining the less we admit it and the more we persecute anyone who points it out. We’re as irrational as the shrunken Daffy Duck holding on to one last gemstone in the cartoon “Ali Baba Bunny”: “Mine! Mine! Mine!”

  6. The acts and their attempted cover-up already did the damage to our reputation, the leaks only made the damage known to the general public.

  7. Dear Prof,

    I’m a Shiite Iraqi and I have few questions. I hope either you or other fellow Americans to give me answers?

    How can one person or group of people have access to 400,000 pages of confidential information in country like USA? This won’t happen in tiny little country like Bahrain.

    Why there is so much allegations about Mr. Nouri Al-Maliki and his government? And at the same time, there is nothing about Eyad Allawi or Ibrahim Al-Jafari governments?

    Why there is almost nothing about Al-Qaeda and their sponsors, Saudi Arabia, Jordon, Syria (almost all sunni countries) even we caught Afghans?

    Why these pages don’t tell us “the secret” of the sudden decrease in the bombings in Iraqi cities after the withdrawal of the American troops from inside the cities? and why many criminals left the American jails and had a great capacity in carrying a very dangerous (terrorist) activities against the Iraqi civilians?

    Why don’t we see WikiLeaks about the Saudi, Bahraini, UAE, Qatari, Egyptian, Jordanian (a very long list) of US-BACKED DICTATORS?

    It is simply because your politicians are so CIVILIZED and have a great sense of humanity, they want the old Iraqi formula (the ex-sectarian one). You know, when Saddam (SUNNI) regime was ruling Iraq, there were only two Shiite ambassadors of Iraq. It is better to dream about it.

    Mr. GW Bush had done a very VERY BIG MISTAKE by invading Iraq. Saddam wasn’t a threat to Israel or US or any other country. He was only a threat to the Iraqi people. And the best evidence is that when the American invaded Iraq, they found him underground and this something very big for us Arab (but not really the so called sunnis)

    We know that the American governments (Bush or Obama, Black or White are the same) want to punish the Iraqi people for saying NO, and they already have done what they can do of killing.

    WE PREFER TO DIE ON OUR FEET THAN TO LET FOREIGNERS CONTROL OUR COUNTRY

    Cheers

  8. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the massive leak on grounds that it will endanger US troops.” An oddly revealing comment! She’s evidently talking (as usual) to herself, her colleagues (in that self-protective cocoon called the USA establishment), maybe the American people.

    But Wikileaks is not responsible to the USA government (or people). It was trying to give the people of the world ammunition to defend itself against the USA.

    If she merely meant to criticize whoever made the initial leaks, well, she’d be on sounder ground to criticize that brave soul for breaking USA law. Because the leaker undoubtedly wanted to protect the world from the USA military machine, and not the other way around.

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