Yesterday, the website Wikileaks exposed 90,000 top secret US military files about the war in Afghanistan, making the incident the biggest leak of U.S. military information in history. The documents exposed a failing war in Afghanistan and a strong enemy. Forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, more Taliban attacks have occurred than the public thought, and military leaders suspect that neighboring countries Pakistan and Iran have been providing support to insurgents. What these documents show is upsetting, but not necessarily surprising. Perhaps the biggest shock and outrage is the fact that these documents got out, and that such a thing could possibly happen again.
The site Wikileaks specializes in whistleblowing (revealing wrongdoing or violations of law, human rights, etc). Wikileaks gave the six-years worth of information to three news sources - The Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel - and have published the records on their website.
The documents discuss the last six years of miliary involvement in Afghanistan, including:
- Over 1,000 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives.
- Special forces have hunted down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.
- The U.S. has covered up the fact that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.
- The military controls unmanned missile heavy planes called Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control.
- Devastating errors have been made. Civilians have been under a huge amount of fire, like the bus full of children who were shot at (8 were wounded).
- Taliban has caused massive deaths through a roadside bombing campaign, killing over 2,000 civilians so far.
- Troops shot unarmed drivers and motocyclists for fear they were suicide bombers.
"It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009," the White House said yesterday. The documents do not bode well for Obama, who is still trying to prove that his new strategy in Afghanistan is more effective than former President Bush's. Unfortunately, documents suggest that the Taliban stronger today than they have been in the past nine years.
"We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact the US government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans," the White house added.
What can you do?
Want to make a statement about human rights being violated? Perhaps you support the troops on this one? Whatever your opinion, set up a rally in your community to let your voice be heard.
Election registration deadlines will approach soon. Get people to vote for a national candidate that wants to fix the war in Afghanistan.