Today, WikiLeaks, the whistle blower website, released 400 000 'not so secret anymore' US files detailing every aspect of the war in Iraq. Speaking to reporters in Washington earlier today, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she condemned "in the most clear terms the disclosure of any information by individuals and or organisation which puts the lives of United States and its partners' service members and civilians at risk". Admittedly she has a very valid point because something like this has the potential to disturb the relatively peaceful life normally associated with an invading army in a foreign land.
The files released today cover a period of six years – from January 1, 2004 to December 31 2009 – and shows that of the 109 000 people who died during this time, only 66 081 were civilians which emphasizes to what great lengths the coalition forces have gone to, to ensure that civilian casualties were minimised. The number of civilian deaths compares favourably to the 2,997 civilian deaths that occurred during the terrorist attacks perpetrated on September 11 because those were American lives, which in recent trade is valued much higher than everyone else's, and the second amendment of the United States Constitution gives American's the right to bear arms. The Iraqi policy makers have only themselves to blame for leaving this out of their constitution so the American forces in Iraq have every right to search and seize any weapons found in Iraq.
Sarcasm aside, who is genuinely shocked by these revelations of pregnant women being shot dead at checkpoints, priests being kidnapped and murdered and of Iraqi prison guards using electric drills to force their prisoners to confess (I am purposely being vague with the details here)? Reports of this nature have been surfacing throughout the conflict although this has considerable more credibility as the the US did not deny the reports but asked that they be kept secret so that their soldiers and civilians are safe and I agree with them ( I am being serious now). Each of those civilians killed belonged to a family. They were peoples mother's, brothers, sons or daughters and that family is understandably upset with the situation and the perpetrators of this situation. Confirmation that these atrocities are indeed true is going to now make the situation much worse because even the moderates can no longer defend the invasion.
The argument that this “war on terror” would get people to accept “The American way of life” and create worldwide peace in the process is as convincing an argument as the only nation with the courage to drop a nuclear bomb on civilians, asking other nations to disarm their nuclear stockpiles. There are basically three types of responses to this situation. Those against the war finally have the proof they needed to win staffroom/ online forum arguments, those for the war will claim that the reports are falsified (would you believe a person who looks like Julian Assange) or that this is normal during wartime, and those that still cannot believe that WikiPedia did not copyright the “Wiki” prefix!
P.S. For a great article on the history of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange read this article that appeared in the New Yorker Magazine in June this year after the release of video footage from an American Apache helicopter showing the killing of at least 18 people including two Reuters journalists.