Thursday, October 28, 2010

Replacing One Set of Thugs With Another

by Abby Zimet, CommonDreams.org, Oct 25, 2010



A stunningly cogent editorial from the Guardian on Wikileaks’ Iraq War Logs, the brutality they exposed and the legal and moral obligation to investigate U.S. forces’ complicity in it. How appalling that no U.S. official – or mainstream paper – has yet to make such a demand.

Every time WikiLeaks puts facts into the public domain, first about the war in Afghanistan and now about Iraq, it is accused of partisanship and irresponsibility. The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said on 29 July that the release of 90,000 classified documents about the war in Afghanistan endangered Afghan lives. Little more than two weeks later, Gates admitted in a letter to Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate armed services committee, that the disclosures did not reveal any significant national intelligence secrets. The Pentagon’s review had not to date “revealed any sensitive intelligence sources and methods compromised by this disclosure”. This does not stop the same charge being made now about the release of almost 400,000 US documents on Iraq.

Many attempts were made to justify the invasion of Iraq, but one of the most frequently and cynically used was that, irrespective of the absence of weapons of mass destruction, putting an end to the barbarities of Saddam Hussein’s regime was a moral imperative. Well, now there is chapter and verse, from ringside seats, on the systematic use of torture by the Iraqi government that the US installed in Saddam’s place. The worst practices of Saddam’s regime did not apparently die with him, and whereas numerous logs show members of the coalition making genuine attempts to stop torture in Iraqi custody, it is clear their efforts were both patchy and half-hearted. In the worst incidents, one can only reasonably conclude that one set of torturers and thugs has been replaced by another.

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