WikiLeaks shows government’s failure
WikiLeaks, the controversial media organization, has gained a reputation for leaking classified government documents regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The not-for-profit organization recently published 400,000 military logs, mainly written by ground personnel.
In these documents, there are details of activities ranging from IED disposals to civilian killings.
The primary force in the latest leaks is that of detainee abuse and torture. Shortly after taking office, President Barack Obama promised to return America to a “moral high ground” by vowing to ensure that terror suspects weren’t tortured or abused and ensuring American personnel comply with the Geneva Convention.
Additionally, the implication was that US forces would make sure that the authorities to whom the detainees were handed over to for detention or interrogation were not torturing or abusing them.
One document filed on April 2, 2009, details the claims of a prisoner who says he was hog tied and beaten with a shovel as a part of a day-long torture ordeal. The report makes note of “minor injuries” including rope burns and a busted ear drum.
While there is no proof in any of the files of direct detainee mistreatment at the hands of US forces, there are allegations of abuse even after President Obama signed the order to put an end to torture.
Officials at the Pentagon have stated that the release of classified documents has the potential to put American lives at risk.
“All of that, (given the) thinking and adaptive enemy we’ve been facing in Iraq and Afghanistan, can be used against us,” Pentagon news secretary Geoff Morrell said.
Most of the documents leaked actually contain no real substantial information on the operations of troops. They are largely devoid of context and provide useless information in terms of the possibility of counterintelligence use by our enemies.
A lot of the documents don’t even contain words, but only abbreviations. How is that useful information for our enemies?
When it comes down to it, the leaked information is only useful when examining the job our government is doing.
In cases where potentially innocent people are being abused and tortured or when troops have fired on civilians, it is necessary for the public to have access to the information in order to call for a change in policy.
Americans as free people deserve the right to actively investigate the authorities around us in order to keep them in check. And by being aware of what exactly is going on with military controversies, the public population as a whole has a much larger say in what changes need to occur to keep America on the “moral high ground.”
Travis Gumphrey is a journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]