It’s not true there is “nothing new” in the Wikileaks Afghanistan records

November 14, 2010 | By | Reply More

Writing at The Nation, Jonathan Schell tells us that it is not true that there is “nothing new” in the Wikileaks Afghanistan releases. In fact, we know that it’s not true by the behaviour of the U.S. Army; it considers Julian Assange to be a ” “threat to the U.S. Army.” If the release of information is a big yawn, how can Assange be a “threat”? I agree with Schell that Americans should be applauding Assange for giving us some truth about the big dirty lies we’ve been hearing from the U.S. government when it comes to our adventures in Afghanistan:

Among the flood of Afghan war documents there happens to be a report on one more instance of a man who, finding himself threatened with participation in the evil-doing of a malignant system, opted to withdraw. In Balkh province, a little more than a year ago, the report disclosed, Afghan police officers were beating and otherwise abusing civilians for their lack of cooperation. The police commander then sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl. When a civilian protested, the report stated, “The district commander ordered his bodyguard to open fire on the AC [Afghan civilian]. The bodyguard refused, at which time the district commander shot [the bodyguard] in front of the AC.” At the time these documents came out, the official reaction to them, echoed widely in the media, was that they disclosed “nothing new.” But let us pause to absorb this story. A police officer, unwilling, at the risk of his own life, to be a murderer, is himself murdered by his superior. He gives his life to spare the other person, possibly a stranger. It is the highest sacrifice that can be made.

The man’s identity is unrecorded. His story is met with a yawn. But perhaps one day, when there is peace in Afghanistan, a monument will be erected in his honor there and schoolchildren will be taught his name. Perhaps here in the United States, when the country has found its moral bearings again, there will be recognition of the integrity and bravery of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. For now, the war- and torture-system rolls on, and it’s all found to be “nothing new.”

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Category: American Culture, ignorance, Military, snake oil, The Middle East

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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