The new document drop, copies of which were given to several select news organizations in advance, has got the Pentagon ranting again about all the terrible things that could come from a release of about 400,000 classified government documents concerning the U.S. involvement in Iraq between 2003 and mid-2010 — although the Pentagon also tells us these documents contain no surprises and no news that hasn’t been gone over in books and articles for years.
The documents reportedly include details about U.S. complicity in torture, and civilian killings that go beyond what was previously known or published, as well as heavy Iranian involvement in the insurgency continuing into the Obama administration (the latter I just heard on the CBS Nightly News).
Mark Thompson at Time has some chilling details:
— The documents detail repeated killings and torture by America’s Iraqi allies of fellow Iraqis. The U.S. failed to investigate hundreds of cases of abuse, rape, torture and murder by Iraqis working alongside U.S. troops. Prisoners were hung by their wrists or ankles and whipped, punched, kicked and subject to electric shocks. Six reports detail abused Iraqi prisoners apparently dying in Iraqi custody.
— A pair of Iraqi militants making motions as if to surrender were shot and killed in 2007 because, according to a U.S. military lawyer, “they cannot surrender to aircraft, and are still valid targets.” They were among the 109,000 deaths enumerated in the logs, including 66,081 non-combatant deaths and 15,000 who perished in previously unknown incidents.
— “Iran is gaining control of Iraq at many levels of the Iraqi government,” a 2005 U.S. military report warned. The data detail numerous cases where Iranian-backed militants took anti-U.S. actions during the war and how Tehran allegedly supplied them with rockets, car bombs, IEDs, and portable anti-aircraft missiles, one of which downed a U.S. helicopter in 2007.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal thinks it’s “sad” — not the killings, torture, rape, and disregard for civilian lives that U.S. forces committed or ignored or failed to investigate, but at the fact that one or more persons in the Pentagon apparently felt that it was important and morally necessary to reveal these crimes, even though it’s illegal to do so.
… “The decision to leak classified information is something that is illegal, and individuals are making judgments about threats and information they are not qualified to make. There is a level of responsibility toward our people that needs to be balanced with a right or need to know. It’s likely that a leak of that information could cause the death of our own people or some of our allies.”
How astonishing it is that Gen. McChrystal is so offended by the perceived danger to “our own people or some of our allies” when the war he continues to support has ended the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and of over 4,000 Americans, and as well has injured tens of thousands more Americans — injuries both physical and psychological that in many instances are quite grievous.