Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Thoughts on WikiLeaks

No post yesterday because I was looking at the WikiLeaks thing and studying reactions, and (mostly) overreactions, to it. My overall impression was to be mostly unimpressed.

A “modern Pentagon Papers” this is not, nor even close. That document revealed the political deception being perpetrated on the nation at the highest level, while this is merely low level, day-to-day operations, many of which went bad. A modern version of the Pentagon Papers would be a document with George W. Bush admitting that he knew in advance that Iraq had none of the infamous weaponry.

The participation of Pakistan with the Taliban appears to have occurred before Pakistan’s government changed, and a change of government in that country is a lot more meaningful than such a change here, so I don’t know to what degree those episodes reflect the current situation. I don’t think we should be changing course based on what happened in the past, but rather on current conditions, so I don’t see how these documents help us make any decisions with respect to Pakistan’s involvement.

As to the rest of it, if you don’t want your nation killing people in foreign lands, then you need to persuade your leadership not to be fighting wars in foreign lands, because that’s what wars do. I have been opposed to all of the wars that we have fought since Korea, but have been out voted. Since I spoke out openly against those wars before we engaged in them then I have a right to complain about the havoc we are inflicting on the peoples of those nations. If you spoke in favor of those wars, then shut up.

I’m not particularly surprised or dismayed by what I read in these reports, as I’m not prepared to tell my military, “Go fight a war but don’t kill anybody.” If we are going to ask them to do a job, then we are going to have to let them do their job. Those soldiers are doing precisely what we pay them to do. If you don’t like it, they persuade your leadership to end the wars and bring the soldiers home.

I am disheartened by some of the revelations of leadership incompetence, such as the Camp Keating affair where an outpost was set in a militarily indefensible position. It was within the field of fire of buildings not controlled by friendly forces, was sited on low ground, surrounded by high ground controlled by the enemy, and was almost a hour’s flight away from air support. The situation of that base was an invitation for disaster, and the Taliban accepted the invitation.

The other thing that disturbs me is the degree to which the military itself engages in political cover-up and propaganda to make the war palatable at home. That seems to me a failure in a certain sense of honor that has always been a part of the military culture.

1 comment:

Mad Mikie said...

Bill,
A disturbing trend was happening while I was still serving. The military leadership was turning into politcians. They seem to be forgetting that their job was to be military leaders. So to see that they're participating in the political cover-up doesn't surprise me although it does disgust me.

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