White House shifts criticism of Wikileaks to focus on "naming of individual" Afghans

The initial response to the Wikileaks Afghan document leak from the Pentagon and White House focused largely on the documents' purported irrelevance as "old news," and general condemnation of the leak as a violation of federal law. Now, the response has shifted more specifically to focus on the fact that within the massive cache of documents, names of Afghan informants are included in plain view, with no redaction. Those informants can now be located and punished or murdered by the enemy, the logic goes.

For its part, Wikileaks frontman Julian Assange has stated in interviews this week that the organization is holding off on releasing the next 15,000 or so documents from the Afghan leak material to scrub some personally identifying data, as "harm minimization procedure."

Supporters of Wikileaks counter that, basically, now's a fine time for the military to be fretting about harm to Afghans. Glenn Greenwald of Salon tweets that Wikileaks should have been more careful about redactions, but:

So the WikiLeak-ed documents might put Afghans at risk? You know what else does? 10 yrs of bombings, air raids, checkpoint shootings, drones
Report in today's New York Times (and note a related report indicating some folks at the Times were none too happy with Wikileaks for other reasons).

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  1. So the WikiLeak-ed documents might put Afghans at risk? You know what else does? 10 yrs of bombings, air raids, checkpoint shootings, drones

    Ugh…that’s such an obnoxious response. It’s one thing to argue that the administration’s concerns are unfounded and that these people aren’t at risk for reasons x, y, and z, it’s quite another to say that their lives are irrelevant in the greater scheme of things (“can’t make an omelette…”), which is essentially what Greenwald is suggesting. I’m glad the material was leaked, but I think the concern over the informants is legitimate and shouldn’t be waived away.

    1. I don’t think it’s the classic military response of “can’t break an omelette”, it’s more likely pointing out the hypocrisy of the government showing concern for people they’ve been killing for decades.

    2. I hate making an “I agree” post, but yes that’s exactly what I thought when I read that statement – it’s not an answer and distracts from the argument. Did the leak have to be entirely unedited, or could have the wikileaks folks simply black-penned the names? I personally don’t agree with Assange’s “no gov secrets world-view”, but, even holding this view, he could have done a little more harm-minimization by striking names and personal details from the reports, and still accomplished his goal.

      1. I’m not sure it is fair to characterize Assange’s world view as “no gove secrets.” In an interview with Der Spiegel he had this to say;

        “There is a legitimate role for secrecy, and there is a legitimate role for openness. Unfortunately, those who commit abuses against humanity or against the law find abusing legitimate secrecy to conceal their abuse all too easy. People of good conscience have always revealed abuses by ignoring abusive strictures. It is not WikiLeaks that decides to reveal something. It is a whistleblower or a dissident who decides to reveal it.”

        1. I’m basing my “no government secrets” comment on these quotes:

          We specialize in getting the full material out to the public. Now, mainstream media, through internal concentrations in countries where there’s really only sort of one or two dominant media organizations in a town, has had a sort of perverse effect where sources are treated as something to be kept at bay rather than something to treasure. That has resulted in organizations such as The [New York] Times sitting on significant disclosures for a year, not releasing them, or only picking a few cherries from a whistle-blower’s disclosure, instead of all the material that they submit in their documents. Sources understand that we are the most reliable, from a safety point of view and from a publishing point of view, organization to deal with.” – Radio Free Europe

          “We have clearly stated motives, but they are not antiwar motives. We are not pacifists. We are transparency activists who understand that transparent government tends to produce just government. And that is our sort of modus operandi behind our whole organization, is to get out suppressed information into the public, where the press and the public and our nation’s politics can work on it to produce better outcomes.”
          -Democracy Now

          “Is that really a liberal democracy, where the press has secret gag orders” – New Media Days Conference 2009

          Emphasis added – I’m surprised I haven’t found a quote from him saying “Information wants to be free”…

    3. That’s just proverbial argument – tu quoque. Those supporters basically don’t have justification for such a thoughtless act so they just had to resort to silly method.

      As much as I support wikileaks for leaking these documents which expose government wrongdoings, it’s unforgivable not to redact informants name before releasing the documents to public. They basically putting those people lives in jeopardy. They need to be more diligent for next batch.

    4. While I admit you can infer that from Greenwald’s tweet, I don’t think it is quite fair to him to suggest that he is arguing that their lives are irrelevant. I think he merely ran into the limitations of twitter.

      Here is what he wrote in his blog:
      “While it’s true that WikiLeaks should have been much more careful in redacting the names of Afghan sources, watching Endless War Supporters prance around with righteous concern for Afghan lives being endangered by the leak is really too absurd to bear. You know what endangers innocent Afghan lives? Ten years of bombings…”

      1. But you can turn that argument right back around on itself…

        I think when you drill right down into it, you’ll find that both supporters and detractors of the Afghan war will admit that they want an Afghanistan were people have freedom of speech and religion, and where girls can go to school without fearing for life and limb. Where bombs do not fall from the skies, nor are they hidden in the dark corners of busy city streets.

        The problem is that we have extremely different viewpoints on how to arrive at that end situation. But honestly, neither sides are really concerned for Afghan civilians, the argument is a political, partisan one. That is perhaps most troubling of all.

        1. I agree with that. I used to really like Greenwald, but I get the sense that he’s become addicted to his own rage. I don’t think he cares about actual solutions to problems; he just wants to win an argument.

        2. GeekMan, Afghanistan used to be a place where girls could go to school without fear, back in the 1950s and ’60s. Then, in the ’70s, the Carter administration decided to fund Islamic revolutionaries there, and lured the Soviets into invading, as part of a gambit in the Cold War. We all know how that turned out.

          The argument that war supporters are making — that you can make people free by bombing and killing them — is just a rationalization for bloodthirstiness. Nobody supports bombing who actually cares about the people being bombed.

      2. I don’t think the longer version changes anything. Bulone is right — it’s a tu quoque argument.

        1. Sorry, I still disagree.

          It is quite a stretch, in my opinion, to go from: A) “[I]t’s true that WikiLeaks should have been much more careful in redacting the names of Afghan sources.”
          to:
          B) “[I]t’s quite another to say that their lives are irrelevant in the greater scheme of things (“can’t make an omelette…”), which is essentially what Greenwald is suggesting.”

          Then there is this Twitter exchange:

          (From Joe Marier) @ggreenwald Didn’t you say like two days ago that endangering people was a legitimate basis of criticism of Wikileaks?

          (From Glenn Greenwald) @JoeMarier Yes – and I just said it again.

          A tu quoque argument is used in an attempt to discredit another’s argument. In this case, it seems to me that Greenwald is admitting the validity of the criticism, and just pointing out what he believes is the hypocrisy of the critics (who might not actually care so much about Afghan civilians, as GeekMan notes).

          Here’s an example of tu quoque: If Bob gets arrested for murder and he says “But Chad is a murderer too,” it does not exonerate Bob. If Bob argues that at his trial, he will learn that the argument tu quoque will not avail him. However, it does not mean that it wrong to arrest Chad as well. Pointing out the bad behavior of others does not validate one’s own bad behavior, but it is not irrelevant either.

          I don’t want this to turn into a long argument. If you remain unconvinced, fine. I just thought that more context than just a short twitter post should be put out there, in the interest of believing that the more information, the better.

    5. But concern for afghan\s would have prevented this war from ever starting…this is hypocrisy..”concerned about the safety of their… collaborators”…I think the Armed Forces are really pissed that the names on their super-secret death squad’s hit list are now known.

      US & NATO intelligence in Afghanistan has always sucked: that’s why civilians are routinely destroyed by NATO & US forces, and why this war was already lost, before it began.

      And people who collaborate with foreign troops, from the other side of the planet, who do not speak the language and have a different religion, and who routinely kill one’s fellow-citizens, are not worth the protecting. IMHO…

  2. There’ll be some people in Aghanistan who get a knock at their door as a result of wikileaks. Or an RPG through it. Maybe it’s just a normal guy who gave the coalition info because he didn’t like the Taliban. Maybe he wanted his daughters to be able to go to school without someone throwing acid on them. Maybe he just wanted a peacful life. Now families will pay with their lives for the decisions that Julius Assange took. It’s one thing dying for your principles – its quite another to make other people do it.

    As for the quip from Salon – sure some of the stuff that the coalition done has been dreadful for civilians in Afghan. How the heck is that a justification for doing more bad stuff to them – specifically to the people who stood up and took a stand in their way against the Taliban.

    You can argue that the publication of this info served a purpose in highlighting NATO underreporting of casualites or in underlining the failures of the military strategy etc. I would disagree with you, but you can make an argument for it. But I can’t believe anyone could argue that this sort of information, personally identifying informants etc is anything other than a disgraceful thing to publish.

    Some poor people in Afghanistan who’ve probably never used a PC will get wiped out because some folks on the internet were keen to make their point in an argument with a foreign government. Pretty disgraceful.

    1. Actually I think this has grander implications than you’re suggesting.

      Ultimate transparency leads to ultimate accountability. When/if that happens you’ll see a hell of a lot less militant action.

      I’m not ‘for’ exposing these people after-the-fact; but ultimately if the US doesn’t have a smoke screen to hide behind it might finally start behaving itself and avoid illegal, exploitative wars based on jacked-up moronic presidents/PMs and their own agendas.

  3. I support Wikileaks. I feel that, the vast majority of the time, more information is better.

    But one also has to accept that sometimes authorities have to keep secrets in order to function. You don’t release the names and locations of persons in the witness protection program just because you can, that would defeat the whole purpose.

    If Wikileaks wants to expose bad behaviour and/or poor performance of the military in Afghanistan, it is in fact within the best interests of democracy and functional journalism to do so. However, information regarding civilians should have been redacted prior to the documents’ release. Protecting those individuals should be a paramount concern.

  4. There is simply no excuse for not removing personally identifiable information in these documents.

  5. The named Afghanis are collaborators like the French who helped the Nazis. What part of occupying force is hard to understand?

  6. S’gonna suck for the person that dodged those 10 years of bombings, predator drones, and checkpoint shootings just to get outed by Wikileaks.

  7. Kind of a dick move by the White House, confirming that the leaked logs hold identifying information. Not that I’d be surprised at them endangering Afghans to discredit wikileaks, but they could also be… you know… lying?

    I don’t think wikileaks is infallible, it’s just that I trust politicians far less.

  8. I think essentially we have the same (if only similar) concerns here.

    I fully intend to go very hard on Wikileaks because I want them to learn from the situation. I want them to be critical of themselves because it will encourage diligence and careful adherence to their own principles.

    I want those things because a credible and functional whistleblowing forum for the whole world (like Wikileaks) makes the whole world a better place.

  9. I’m assuming that Salon is employing pre-teens now. Normally, an adult doesn’t use the “two wrongs make a right argument”. Everyone is quick to hold the government accountable, which is right and fair. But few individuals are willing to apply that same degree of scruitiny to themselves.

    I want to know what qualifications Wikileaks has for determining “harm minimization”, who entrusted them with the right to make determinations like that, and what responsibility they will bear if the mess up. I know about my government and I have a voice in selecting it. If my government makes mistakes, it’s responsible to me as my representative. I don’t know who the hell these Wikileak people are, and I suspect they don’t plan to ask me what I think or accept any responsibility for their actions.

    Treason is treason whether it occurs in a Greek courtyard, on board a 19th century clipper ship or on the Internet. We may not be able to control or limit the damage that is done to us by treachery, but we can certainly deal with the traitors. I hope this situation is dealt with very soon.

    1. I know about my government and I have a voice in selecting it.

      And now you know more than you did a week ago.

      1. What do I know that I didn’t know before? That the wars arent working? We all know that. We dont need a traitor to put our soldiers and allies at risk to tell us that. It’s obvious that the Middle East doesn’t want freedom for all. They want sectarian tribalism. We could (and have) offered them the opportunity for freedom and prosperity on a silver platter, and they’d go right back to the way they’ve always been. The only thing we disagree on is who’s responsible. You might say “the government” or “George Bush”. I apply responsibility a lot wider than that.

        It’s great to say, “end the war today”. But don’t kid yourself. Ending our war in that part of the world won’t result in peace. Depending on how we end it, we may just get stuck with something much worse.

        1. That the wars arent working? We all know that.

          On a very, very superficial level that other people easily disagree with all the time.

          If it’s not interesting to you whether helicopters crashed or were shot down by weapons provided to the Taliban, whether soldiers were killed by enemy or friendly fire, or whether people we’ve killed were combatants or children, these leaks won’t tell you anything. Those sorts of things are interesting to some people, though.

        2. We could (and have) offered them the opportunity for freedom and prosperity on a silver platter, and they’d go right back to the way they’ve always been.

          Life must be hard carrying the white man’s burden. Perhaps someday we’ll all live in an earthly paradise where everyone is just like you.

        3. What do I know that I didn’t know before?

          OK, point taken, I have no idea what you personally knew before or how much of the new information you’ve read. But a lot of it is stuff that American taxpayers have a vested interest in knowing about whether they support the war or not, like just how much of their money is directly funding the Taliban through our Pakistani “allies.”

          We dont need a traitor to put our soldiers and allies at risk to tell us that.

          I’ll concede that it’s a bad thing to leak information that puts those people at direct risk if you concede that it’s good to have a well-informed populace.

          The only thing we disagree on is who’s responsible. You might say “the government” or “George Bush”. I apply responsibility a lot wider than that.

          I don’t hold Bush, or our government, or American voters responsible for all the problems in the middle east. I do hold all three responsible for the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is why we should all know as much as possible about the realities behind them (excepting information that directly threatens the safety of our troops or Afghani civilians, as Greenwald clearly and repeatedly states).

          Ending our war in that part of the world won’t result in peace. Depending on how we end it, we may just get stuck with something much worse.

          Depending on how we continue it, we may just get stuck with something much worse.

    2. You’re likely right about Assange not caring what you think.

      So if the Taliban can hide among the civilian population, avoid capture, etc. you think they need Wikileaks to find snitches??? “Old Ahmed hasn’t been to jihad camp in weeks, he’s got three new donkeys, the Americans haven’t burned his poppies: we’d best run this by the Internet before we kill him.” Moar LOLs, pleez.

  10. Fundamentalist violence in the Middle East goes back hundreds, if not thousands of years. Carter didn’t change Afghanistan from Beaver Cleaver’s home town to what it is today. That is absurd.

    1. Fundamentalist violence goes back thousands of years everywhere in the world. But sometimes, there’s a lot more or a lot less of it, and the difference matters to people who have to live through it.

      1. RE : “fundamentalist violence” and history: You’re thinking of Europe, not the middle east.
        I do not think that you can provide any links backing up your assertion: because he Middle east has been almost exclusively Islamic since about 1276….and the choice offered by Islamic conquerors to the conquered had always been: conversion, tribute, or the sword (although there are instances of promiscuous slaughter, those usually occurred in the context of a City’s obstinate resistance to siege, where they were later by storm).
        Contrast that practice with the “choices” given to losers in the religious wars which ripped Europe apart in the early modern era, or even as recently as the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

        Anglo-Europeans lecturing the middle east about “fundamentalist violence”?
        There had never been even a single suicide bombing in Iraq, prior to the American (led) invasion of that country.
        I cannot find any persecution of Jews in the history of the middle east which even remotely approaches the latter in terms of cruelty or extent.

        1. By the “latter” in my previous post, I meant to refer to the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis, which really is in a class by itself.

          The Americans have not done right by Iraq IMO, but they are nowhere near THAT bad. Not by a long shot.

        2. You’re thinking of Europe, not the middle east.
          I do not think that you can provide any links backing up your assertion: because he Middle east has been almost exclusively Islamic since about 1276….and the choice offered by Islamic conquerors to the conquered had always been: conversion, tribute, or the sword (although there are instances of promiscuous slaughter, those usually occurred in the context of a City’s obstinate resistance to siege, where they were later by storm).

          Those are types of violence, and continued after 1726; for instance, despite being almost exclusively Islamic, there were still minorities like Zoroastrians who were seriously persecuted. And Islam is not a monolith: Sunnis and Shiites are not the same thing, and the differences have risen to the front in a number of conflicts.

          But as for such problems being at a relatively low level, I agree, and actually that was my point. Saying the violence in the Middle East goes back centuries ignores vast differences in quantity and kind, to the point where it’s meaningless to single them out that way.

  11. If it’s not interesting to you whether helicopters crashed or were shot down by weapons provided to the Taliban, whether soldiers were killed by enemy or friendly fire, or whether people we’ve killed were combatants or children, these leaks won’t tell you anything.

    I knew what war was before Wikileaks.

    Brainspore, finding the best way to end the war is first on everyone’s list of priorities. My point was, just ending it abruptly isn’t the best way. As for a well informed populace, I don’t think that is going to happen if people insist on getting their information from bite sized stories on tv or web pages. I also think the filtering of our issues through extreme political partisan politics doesn’t help at all, and I see liberal media as just as bad in this regard as conservative. Polarization rarely leads to solutions. For a perfect example, just look at the Middle East.

    1. I knew what war was before Wikileaks.

      Not everyone in America does, not in detail. Wars aren’t identical. Many important people misjudged how well things would go. As this shows, most people still don’t know what mistakes are being made, and who is culpable (details that matter to those affected). If you know all that, congratulations! Your amazing foresight has rendered all news irrelevent to you. In that case, though, surely you can see that not everyone is in that same boat.

  12. Is this one of those cases where the cry “won’t someone think of the children?” would be entirely appropriate?

    This release strikes me as a rather extreme example of the massive personal data leaks that have regularly been in the news over the last decade or so. You know – if Google/Amazon/AOL/the US military didn’t maintain a detailed store of personal information, then there wouldn’t be a problem. One thing that everyone /should/ know by now is that digitial data /will/ leak. When it does you’d best hope that your email inbox, your CPU, or your life aren’t about to get raped because some asshole was too greedy or too lazy to anonymise the data.

    There is some good news though: some of the folks who are getting ‘outed’ care of the US military had already been identified as sources, and dealt with accordingly and permanently.

  13. There had never been even a single suicide bombing in Iraq, prior to the American (led) invasion of that country.

    Hussein was smart enough to finance the export of that particular commodity to Israel.

    Feel free to blame my country for the mistakes it makes that we are actually responsible for. I’m happy to agree that the term “collateral damage” is no way to describe unintentional slaughter of innocent civilians. But blaming the US for suicide bombings is disengeuous and absurd in the extreme. I can’t imagine how anyone could be that deep into dogma to even say something so self evidentially illogical. Fox news doesn’t have the exclusive on this sort of rhetorical manipulation.

    1. Iraq was a nation at peace prior to the unilateral illegal invasion by the USA.
      There was no war there….at all.

      1. Iraq was a nation at peace prior to the unilateral illegal invasion by the USA. There was no war there….at all.

        If by “at peace” you mean not at war with the U.S. and not suffering from open internal armed conflict between Shiite and Suni, then yeah, prior to the first Gulf War you could say they were at peace.

        However, there was that on-going dust-up with Iran (one of the many reasons I think it was crazy to invade was removing Iraq as a opposing counter-balance to Iran). I’m also not sure you could call a country “at peace” when its citizens are being thrown off the roofs of mid-rise office buildings and having their anuses prolapsed by having rubber hoses stuffed up then yanked out. Then having their feet beaten with strips of cut-up tires. Then being hung by their shackled wrists to choose between the unendurable agony of standing on their beaten feat or hanging by their wrists. That’s the kind of thing you want to do something about. How shocking to find out that instead we would descend to that level.

        I agree that the second Gulf War was stupid and wrong as conceived and implemented. Unilateral, poorly planned, on false pretenses, distracting from Afghanistan, probably illegal, yada yada yada. You can’t impose democracy on people who don’t know what it is and don’t know enough to want it. It has to rise up from them. The necessary preconditions weren’t there.

        1. A nation at peace can be a nation suffering under despotic rule.
          Haiti under Papa doc was at pace.
          Congo under Mobutu was at peace.
          China under Mao ( even during the cultural revolution) was at peace.

          Nations are at peace if there is no civil war, nor a war with an foreign army coming over its borders.

          Iraq was at peace in 200-2003. America ended that peace by invading. Now there is a civil war, with American troops still on the ground.

          And “imposing democracy” is a contradiction in terms. An incoherent concept.

        2. But you are right at least to this extent: the question remains – where do we go from here?

          I have heard it said, that in the countries and nations of central Asia, either the subject must tremble in fear of the Sovereign, or the Sovereign must tremble in fear of their subjects. Their societies are, and apparently have ever been, factious, tribal, and ancient. At least, this is true for the larger states: and those parts of the world have indeed often been a mere part of some even greater expanse of Empire.

          As a Canuck, I hope we continue our policy of leaving the Iraqis alone, except insofar as they wish to trade with us, and we with them.
          But you Americans…well, I personally think that you guys usually do the right things eventually.
          So we’ll see how it works out. If we should be lucky enough to live that long.

          I do know that conquest really is not America’s game, not these days. And I think that the Iraqis – all factions of Iraqis – also know this. Hence, perhaps, the bitterness with which the civil war is being fought. It’s not that they expect that you’ll “abandon” them, it’s just that they know that you guys really don’t want to run the place for any longer than you absolutely positively have to.

          But for the life of me, I cannot understand what your leaders were thinking when they started this.
          There’s still work to do: and I would not know what to advise Americans to do, going forward in Iraq. But go forward you must. I do not envy whoever it is who has that job of making those decisions.

  14. Perhaps I’m being dis-ingenuous.
    Or self-evidently illogical…but an occupying nation is responsible for the security of the citizenry of the nation which they have so occupied.

    The USA started the war in Iraq.
    Is that in any doubt?

  15. So if the Taliban can hide among the civilian population, avoid capture, etc. you think they need Wikileaks to find snitches?

    I haven’t read all gazillion pages of this leaked set of documents, so I can’t speak for the importance of the info it contains. But I can say that any PFC who takes it upon himself to reveal confidential documents to a third party against the command of his superiors is a spy and a traitor. It doesn’t matter if he leaked important information or not. It doesn’t matter if the information supports my personal political opinions or not. It doesnt matter if he even knew what he was leaking. He took an oath to serve voluntarily, and he broke that oath big time. He should pay for it.

    I could cut a certain amount of slack for a journalist. It’s their job to uncover and bring to light wrongdoings. This guy wasn’t doing that. He wouldn’t have had the time to read everything and determine what it all meant. Instead, he trusted “some guy on the Internet” to take over that responsibility for him. This is no hero. He strikes me as the political equivalent of Jessi Slaughter.

    1. PFC?
      You don’t know who leaked this: it could have been a four-star, for all you know.
      Or an Officer’s group, sick of civilian cruelty and incompetence..

      Maybe they are in fact patriots – depending upon what precisely turns up.

      But you SHOULD be reading those docs – all should – and ignore the blogwash, the editorializing, the invective.

      A few words to keep in mind while reading those docs, from cryptome:”When studying the Wikileaks War Logs, bear in mind that intelligence streams — hardcopy, digital, electromagnetic — are salted with spurious entries as markers to authenticate the stream, identify disruptions and unauthorized plants, direct the product to various collectors with varying levels of classification, and more. The spurious entries will not be distinguishable from the other material, it is their positions in the stream, or omissions from the stream, which will be part of authentication. None of this requires or is protected by encryption…”

      More at cryptome:

      http://cryptome.org/0002/wl-diary-mirror.htm

      Knowledge is power…or is that dis-ingenuous too?

  16. Tell that to the Shiites and Kurds, Canuck. I’m sure Hussein gave them extra big pieces of cake at all his birthday parties.

    P.S. I’m typing on an iPad. It has a built in misspelling function.

    1. What do you care?
      How were his depredations against his long-suffering citizens your business, sufficient to start a war half a world away on a wholly novel theory of international law?
      What gave you any right to violently interfere in Iraqi affairs?

      Oh, right…”might makes right, if you’ve got the mightiest legions”.

  17. The trick is to get people to stop killing other people without having to kill anybody yourself.
    That’s easier said than done, and it really isn’t all that easy to say in the first place.

    But water under the bridge, is water under the bridge. So to an extent, we cannot be looking back: but nor should we forget our mistakes.
    What remains is to find a good ending.

    There is a plus, and it does make things easier. Iraq has a lot of oil (no duh!), and it sells 50 million barrels a month. Source:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-27/iraq-s-daily-crude-oil-exports-drop-3-7-in-june-after-increasing-in-may.html

    At 70$/bbl, that’s 3.50 Billion: for 12 months, that’s 42 Billion $$.
    Two months, and that about covers the amount unaccounted for in the US Iraq re-construction effort.

    Things are tough in Iraq: but there’s a wall o’ money that keeps flowing in. That’s gotta help.
    And believe it or no, I remain optimistic that things are gonna get better in the mid-east.
    Call it the triumph of hope over experience.

  18. How were his depredations against his long-suffering citizens your business

    Oh… Now we don’t care about the well being of innocent Iraqi citizens. I’d like to keep up with your brilliant argument I’m getting whiplash from trying to follow the flip flopping.

    Why Iraq? It’s obvious. Brutal dictatorship on the outs with his neighbors. A country planted right smack dab between two of the most dangerous countries in the Middle East. Bush thought he could surgically remove Hussein and quickly move to establish a democracy in Iraq and improve the lives of people suffering under a tyrant. He didn’t understand that you can’t just hand people democracy. People have to fight for it themselves because they want it. The Middle East seems to be a long way from ever wanting that.

    Why Afghanistan? Home to the 9/11 terrorists. Brutal domination of the Taliban. A country right smack dab next to the other most unstable country in the area. Same theory. Same result.

    The mistake wasn’t invading. The mistake was expecting them to follow through on a golden opportunity for living out from under the shadow of dictatorships and theocracies. Give them a vote and they just vote their shackles back on.

    1. You really can’t imagine that people might want something other than your life.

  19. There is a plus, and it does make things easier. Iraq has a lot of oil (no duh!), and it sells 50 million barrels a month

    If we pull out too quickly, guess who will be invading in our wake to scoop that up? Here’s a hint… the country that was at war with “peaceful” Iraq up until a couple of years before the US entered the picture in 1990.

    1. That’s right… you were protecting iraq with your invasion.
      Way to help!

      Stop blaming the victim. You guys invaded, and went well out of your way to do so.
      And ten years later, the wars rage on.
      As do the debates.

      Keep up on who’s dieing today:

      http://warnewstoday.blogspot.com/

      I agree: those rotten ungrateful Iraqis and Afghans…why not kill them all for their disgraceful lack of gratitude to the US Armed Forces?

  20. Oh and something else: the war in iraq washardly inevitable. Wars start because people want to go to war.
    Wanting to go to war is not wanting peace.
    Amnd how the US went to war with iraq is kinda…embarassing:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/aug/19/cia-and-wmds-damning-evidence/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nybooks+%28The+New+York+Review+of+Books%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

    You get the war you want – you pay the money, and you get the choice.

    1. From the last linked article, the “money question” IMHO:

      “What is the proper response to a president who has conspired to launch an unjustified and therefore illegal war against another country?”

      Not being an American, I would not care to hazard a guess.

  21. All this makes me wonder whether the government is also a little worried about what could happen were Wikileaks or someone like them were to dump, say, 9000 or so documents about the conduct of the War On Drugs, domestic surveillance under PATRIOT, or that Bush/Cheney energy policy meeting.

  22. Mistakes in failing to properly redact documents is a frequent occurrence even though redaction is a critical process. These mistakes usually have serious ramifications which raises questions as to whether organizations have sufficient review procedures in place or aren’t using the right tools to redact sensitive information.

    The organization I currently work for has been redacting sensitive documents for a number of years and in that time have not had one redaction failure.

    We use a tool called RapidRedact and it’s helped us to keep all sensitive information the way we like it; permanently removed and not mistakenly released for public viewing.

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