Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
governments, secrecy, transparency, wikileaks


US Air Force Intelligence Veteran Of Afghan War Explains Why He Supports Wikileaks

from the worth-reading dept

Mathew Ingram points us to this absolutely worth reading open letter from a US Air Force Intelligence official who served in Afghanistan, explaining why he supports Wikileaks. The whole thing is worth reading, but the key paragraphs:
After reading many of the Iraq/Afghan/Cablegate logs I am compelled to inform my fellow citizens that I saw nothing in these logs that could endanger our troops or public servants.

Here's what I did see: I saw Iraq war logs that painted a very bleak picture of the situation there which doesn't match up with the "improved security" that's been reported by the "Defense" Department for years. I saw proof of public officials acting dishonestly and abusing their posts. Overall, I saw an out of control government that is in over its head and does more to endanger the lives of its people than any publishing organization ever could.

I volunteered to protect this country under the impression that my government followed the will of the American People and adhered to the US Constitution. As it turns out, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were never constitutionally declared and despite public opinion being against the two wars they continue to grow more destructive. My experiences in these wars differed greatly from the propaganda the American people were sold by America's mainstream media outlets; many times I would return from a mission to see wild inaccuracies being reported on Fox/CNN/MSNBC about the very operation I had just been supporting. Wikileaks has helped shine light on the true nature of these illegal wars and the policymakers that perpetuate them, for this I am thankful.
This does a really nice job summarizing the points that many people have been trying to make. Not all of us are entirely comfortable with the way Wikileaks itself operates, but on the whole it, and others like it, are helping to expose questionable activities by our government -- and I'm somewhat amazed at the number of people who respond to it by insisting that they're happier having their government lie to them and mislead them. At the same time, it's nice to see someone else confirm that there's little in the documents that has "put people in danger" which is a key point often raised by those who want to pin something on Wikileaks. The problem is that there doesn't appear to be much "there" there.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  • identicon
    Tom, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Surely every nation with a hundred dollars in the bank..

    bought these secrets from one the 2.5 million US who had access to these files years ago - or every year. I don't believe that anything in these files is a surprise to any government (or big business or any body that has any sort of government or financial interest). The only people who hadn't read them was us. And we paid for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    As a US Navy Vet

    I fully support Wikileaks with their stated goal. I like that the cables are coming out. I wish the government would get their collective heads out of their asses. I think that Assange is (probably) a douche-bag.

    I don't really have anything to say, but I wanted to say it anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    This might be their real concern...

    It's one thing for it to be discovered that govt. officials are acting like asshats for industry wishes. It's quite another thing when it's discovered that their bullshit actions are knowingly putting are young men and women in harms way, often times for those same industry wishes.

    I was rather hoping that the bank leaks that were coming would show international banks and corporations meddling in major foreign policy stances for profit....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Publius, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    Why the critics of the leaks bother me

    How can those critical of the leaks talk about how lives are being endangered, when some of the leaks themselves discuss actions that have not only put lives in danger already, but have even taken a few lives too?

    Count me as one tired of the monopoly of secrets Government is trying to claim over all of it's activities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 2:30pm

    Three words: Swift Boat Veterans.

    You can always find someone to have an opinion you agree with, no matter how wrong it is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 2:58pm


    I thought everyone already knew that Iraq and Afghanistan were not wars. Congress sidestepped that and let Bush do what he wanted so they wouldn't have to take any blame for declaring war or have to sign any peace treaty.

    I don't know that illegal wars are the correct terms either, but its clear that all of the crap about putting lives at risk is just the kneejerk reaction (excuse) for having dirty laundry aired.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Angry Puppy (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

    Ends and Means

    I'm not certain that Wikileaks methods could be any different from what they currently do. What is needed is a charismatic person to represent them. A person that can create an aura of trust to act as the PR head the organization. Walter Cronkite comes to mind. Walter Cronkite made a commentary in 1968 that Vietnam was probably unwinnable and announced the count of American dead in Vietnam at the end of every broadcast as an act of dissent that is regarded as helping end the war sooner and saved thousands on both sides. Assange is no Cronkite. Wikileaks needs to have a front man/woman that can not be easily attacked and vilified by partisan media and self serving government representatives. Any suggestions?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      vivaelamor (profile), Jan 6th, 2011 @ 6:00am

      Re: Ends and Means

      "What is needed is a charismatic person to represent them."

      Actually, if it wasn't for his personal life getting in the way then I'd be willing to bet on Assange. When he gives an interview he tends to come off better than many politicians do in friendlier waters. Try his interview on Frost Over The World.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    lazarus0000, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Of course WikiLeaks puts people in danger! But it's not our courageous soldiers and spies that are in danger.... It's the duplicitous, lying, thieving, conniving, despicable, low-life scoundrels who mislead us in the first place and the hacks who continue to express their views and lie for them!

    Blame Georgie Boy and Co for the beginning lies and follow the money trail for the rest. And put Moron 2 (Obama) up there as well for continuing the losing policies and procedures that allow for these shenanigans to endure.

    And finally, a word of advice - any time a politician asks for an "exit strategy," you might realize this is PoliSpeak for "We're looking to break some heads but not actually WIN this thing..." Any real war fighter will be happy to tall you winning means complete and total, unconditional surrender. And that means killing, on a wholesale level and without remorse. That's what war is. Anything less is just a drain on resources and counterproductive to meeting your goals.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Shel10 (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:05pm

    Vietnam Re-visited

    The American public never knew the truth about what was happening in Nam. There was a concerted effort to hide the truth. Walter Cronkite was the last of a breed of reporters. He was more concerned with accuracy than rumor, However, he was wrong. The war was winable, but the politicians were more concerned with getting elected to additional terms.

    The greatest generation sent their sons to fight a war without reason or support. At least sons and grandsons of Vietnam Vets are not being called "baby killers", or being spat upon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Angry Puppy (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:53pm

      Re: Vietnam Re-visited - The bitches still be crazy...

      True, same thing then as now. War is not about winning. War is about profit and political manipulation. Haliburton is just a reasonably successful oil industry supply company without Iraq and Afghanistan. By providing $500 a gallon gas and $75 a plate franks and beans meals to the troops they are a money making machine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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