Oct 242010
Authors: Samuel Lustgarten

Wikileaks released the 391,832-file Iraq War Log Friday. The organization is responsible for a number of recent governmental leaks, but this latest round sets a record. The Department of Defense and Pentagon have virulently campaigned in opposition to Wikileaks.

With this latest leak, the DoD said, “We deplore WikiLeaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies.”

Our government has reacted in an utterly deplorable manner to these releases. Upon initial capture of the culprit, Pfc. Bradley Manning, he was exposed to the same rendition tactics that terrorists suffer. Only afterwards was Manning sent to the United States for his right to habeas corpus.

They’ve actively tried to track, intercept and destroy Wikileaks in the process. But in this newly anarchic land, the rules of engagement don’t translate to the Internet. Politicians and think-tanks are simultaneously spewing a message of cyber wars. This newly minted world may wrench the entire governing system; as I see it, for the better.

Reading over the intelligence leak, I’m mesmerized that this is classified. Most everything mentions KIA, location, situation and those involved. The reports are mostly banal and repetitive –– the same thing over and over again. But there’s an interesting treasure trove. Certain reports give credence to Iraqi military police and interrogators engaging in torture.

One U.S. military doctor found evidence of “bruises and burns as well as visible injuries to the head, arm, torso, legs and neck.” The report initially filed suggested the man had “killed himself.” Another victim had acid poured over his hands and then had some fingers cut off. No one was held accountable.

Hundreds of torture and abuse cases are spotlighted. “Prisoners were subjected to electric shock, sodomized, burned, whipped or beaten by Iraqi authorities.” The picture is grim. Now I see why the U.S. considers this act to be treason; it’s unpalatable.

Iraqi National Police, which came to power after the toppling of Saddam, has been “accused of killing and torturing Sunnis in Baghdad.” The clouded picture of the Middle East’s religious differences become readily apparent. As the secular Ba’ath despot fell, the Shiite regime rose with Iran funneling funds all the way. The logs indict Iran with engaging in a proxy campaign against the U.S. military on Iraqi soil.

How do English-speaking forces handle the confusion? They fire. “681 (killed) civilians at checkpoints.” Those civilians were shot because of mass hysteria.

On top of everything, 15,000 more deaths are brought to light. In fact, over six years, the reports suggest 100,000 Iraqi deaths have occurred. Even the most gruesome portraits of Saddam’s rule haven’t reached this cataclysmic number.

These documents will forever seal the Iraq War’s image. The leak unquestionably stirs up the cauldron of concerns. Any mention of Hussein’s annexation of Kuwait, the Iran-Iraq war or gassing the Kurds doesn’t compare. I used to think these were most horrendous acts of war. Now, America’s handy work dwarfs the former leader’s time.

The world’s dissent is being voiced everywhere, even across borders and servers. The fear-mongering and opportunistic Wikileaks organization is actually a bright light in the murky visage of our government. As the countenance of our leaders descends into contempt and worry, the free press of the Internet is increasingly powerful.

Power is shifting. If the momentum is maintained, the world will be better for it. The Iraq War Log was classified because it would reflect poorly of the job we’ve spent years doing. The spotlight needs to focused on this fascist campaign of prevention and smear that the U.S. is engaged in. Never have I ever advocated for anarchy in America, and I don’t want to either. But now is a time for knowledge and understanding.

Without the facts and truly free press, we become the naifs that bolster war support. Imagine where we’d be with the truth.

Samuel Lustgarten is a senior psychology major. His column appears on Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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