December 8, 2010
WikiLeaks Crocodile TearsBy Vasko Kohlmayer
In recent days, we have heard much complaining from the administration and assorted politicians about how the WikiLeaks disclosures pose a threat to our troops on the ground. By this, they primarily mean our soldiers in Afghanistan, which is presently this country's main theater of military operations.
This apparent concern from of the political class is for the most part only a ploy designed to save their own skins. Here is why.
On July 25, 2010, WikiLeaks posted on its website a vast tranche of documents concerning our military activity in Afghanistan. Containing more than 75,000 military logs, it was the largest military leak up to that time. WikiLeaks published these documents under the name of Afghan War Diaries.
Please notice the release date. The documents which now supposedly present such a dire threat to our soldiers were released this past summer. To put it another way, they were made public four and a half months ago.
Now ask yourself: Did we hear anything from the administration -- or, indeed, from our political establishment -- immediately after the release of these documents? Did we hear anything from them on this subject in August or September? Did we hear any complaining in the run-up to the elections in October? Did we hear anything about it after the elections?
The answer is no. The pols began crying foul only about ten days ago. Why only ten days ago? Here is a clue: On October 28, WikiLeaks began releasing the infamous State Department cables.
As it happens, those cables contained no information that would have direct bearing on the conduct of day-to-day military operations in Afghanistan or in Iraq. But they did contain something else: They revealed information that deeply humiliated and compromised this administration. And it was precisely at that time when said administration started to be concerned about the safety our troops. Don't you find this coincidence a little suspicious?
It is, indeed, very suspicious for several reasons. To begin with, the pols' sudden concern for our troops is out of character for the types who run the present administration. After all, many of them have long records of criticism and dislike of the military. This is not surprising, since the military is not particularly partial to their politically correct agendas, which include having openly gay men serving in its ranks.
Why -- let us ask again -- are these people showing their concern so late in the game, months after the documents were made public?
The answer is obvious. Their concern for the troops is simply a gambit to divert attention from the information that threatens their own careers. Knowing how much most people in this country care for our armed forces, they want us to get us angry at WikiLeaks under false pretenses. They want us to support their efforts to silence the source that imperils their positions.
If they were sincere in their concern for the troops, the pols would have protested the moment the Afghan tranche was made public. But they were silent then. They were silent until their own skins were exposed. Only then they began lamenting about the troops. They are using the troops -- the very people about whom they couldn't care less under normal circumstances -- as a cover to save themselves.
The last four and a half months present a classic study in political hypocrisy. The release of the Afghan diaries by WikiLeaks should have been a major blow to this administration. Had it happened under Bush, he would have likely had to leave office. The left and the media would have gone into a frenzy, asking how we can conduct a war if internal information about it appears on the internet. The left wanted Bush to resign over Abu Ghraib. It turns out that under Obama, some rogue servicemen were using Afghans for target practice. Can you imagine the pandemonium that would have ensued had such information come to light under Bush?
Because it posed such a potential threat to the administration, up until recently we heard very little about the Afghan War Diaries. The politicians' concern for the troops was nowhere to be seen or heard. In fact, they tried to keep the whole affair under the radar.
A few words also need to be said about the Republicans. Even though they are now seething and indignant about the supposed dangers to our military, they were for the most part silent during all that time after the release of the Afghan cache. They began calling for Assange's execution only when Mrs. Clinton's backside came on the line. Is this not completely absurd?
But let us now ask whether the Afghan dump did indeed pose a direct danger to our troops. The documents it contained covered the period from January 2004 to December 2009. Please keep in mind that their release occurred in July of 2010. At that time, even the most recent of the documents would have been more than six months old. The vast majority of the papers were several years old. Because of their being so dated, their value as a source of actionable battlefield intelligence was for all practical purposes zero. For an enemy to be able to take tactical advantage of the other side's information, that information has to be fresh. Anything more than few weeks old is usually not very helpful.
Despite the craze stirred up by the politicians, it would appear that the leaks have caused no direct damage to our troops or those who work with us. In August, for example, a Pentagon spokesman stated that "we have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents." In October, the Pentagon concluded that the release "did not disclose any sensitive intelligence sources or methods" and that "there has not been a single case of Afghans needing protection or to be moved because of the leak."
This is not to say that no damage has been inflicted or that no damage will be inflicted in the future. But it should be obvious that the claims of damage have been greatly exaggerated by the very politicians who are now frantically trying to save their jobs.
What about the damage to this country's reputation? In the grip of the hysteria, most people have failed to notice that the Afghan dump also contained information that is favorable and vindicating. For one thing, it shows the cruelty and ruthlessness of the enemy. It also documents America's efforts to improve the lot of the Afghanis.
The damage from WikiLeaks' Afghan logs is far less than that caused by the Abu Ghraib scandal, whose flames the left kept fanning for months in their effort to bring down the Bush administration. Do you believe for a minute that the same people who were so willing and eager to drag our military through the mud then are now suddenly concerned about its well-being? Their concern for the troops is suspiciously new and glaringly out of line with their past actions and statements. It dates only from the day their own activities came under fire.
It has been remarked by many that the liberal elitists currently in charge -- the Obamas, the Clintons, and their friends -- seem to harbor scorn for common people like us. It is hard to say whether this is true or not, but there is one thing that can be said with certainty: they know how to pluck our patriotic string when things get too hot for them. Many have fallen for the trick. What should have been the day of reckoning for an arrogant and dysfunctional political class has been turned into the lynching of an Australian programmer who helped to expose its incompetence.