Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 296-Wikileaks (again)

Dear Mr. President,

As the revelations from the latest documents released by Wikileaks continue to come to light, I am having a difficult time feeling surprised. I have to say that the outrage and shock being feigned in the mainstream media upsets me, deeply. It is indisputable that the Iraq war has been waged with unprecedented levels of secrecy. The Bush administration went out of its way to hide the truth behind record levels of private contractors, sweeping new executive powers, and an outright refusal to discuss the Iraqi death toll. What, exactly, did every one think they were hiding? Unicorns, perhaps? A modern President (and I am by no means excluding you from this indictment) doesn't keep secrets unless they are damaging. All of this secrecy was achieved with the tacit approval of the media. There is no way that I, an amateur observer, could have surmised these human rights violations and outright war crimes could have been perpetrated while the mainstream media had no idea. The evidence has been out there all along, and the fact that it took this long to come to wider attention is a shameful reflection of the sorry state of the American news media.

I don't believe that war can be waged without these kinds of abuses and atrocities. This doesn't excuse them; it only, to my mind, demands that we not wage war unnecessarily. The Iraq war was absolutely unnecessary. So while Americans recoil in horror at 104,000 dead, millions displaced and hundreds if not thousands of tortured, mistreated prisoners, I can only sit back and wonder what else they possibly could have expected? In 2003 while our President skipped off toward Baghdad the media and the majority of America stayed silent. The blood and the death and the suffering that ensued came as a direct result of that silence. This country has lost the right to feel surprised when it comes to the crimes of the Bush administration.

Meanwhile, you, Mr. President, have lost the right to lay the blame solely at President Bush's feet. Had our government conducted itself the way we have every right to expect that it should, or had the media investigated and reported with anything resembling a commitment to the truth, Wikileaks would likely not exist. If you want to be angry about this latest release of documents, I suppose that is your prerogative, but the real tragedies in this are the crimes committed and largely ignored, not the fact that some one finally had the courage to bring them to light.

Respectfully yours,


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