Wikileaks - irresponsible threat or public service?

28 Oct 2010

The release of Iraqi war files by the Wikileaks website has created a storm in the Pentagon and MOD from, amongst others, its reports of torture and abuse by coalition forces and an official Iraqi death toll of 109,000.

One can debate the motives and means of Wikileaks and it's founder Julian Assange, but the fact remains that these are devastating disclosures that totally undermine the coalition's role in Iraq - and likely Afghanistan.

Here's my summary views:

1. In today's internet age you just can't get away with things like you used to, be you an evil dictator or well-intending coalition force, and we should thus applaud all freedom of speech - even if sometimes it hits us in the face. 

2. Far from condemning the disclosure of these reports - under the unlikely smokescreen of "putting soldier's lives at risk" - one would have thought the Pentagon would have launched an immediate top level inquiry.

3. If we are going to controversially invade a country under the auspices of saving that country from evil, then it's imperative that we at least act to the highest levels of integrity, ethics and honour. Sadly, these disclosures show we haven't.

4. Iraq was a disaster that, as time goes on, truth and dislosures coupled with the mess we've left that country in makes the actions of George W Bush and Tony Blair even more inexcusable unforgiveable.


Flawed leadership is the real lesson here - from the very top to military commanders. One hopes the lessons will be learned for an equally likely unwinnable war, Afghanistan. 

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