DC Trawler

Undocumented Brutality

John Hayward Contributor
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While Jim Treacher searches for rare specimens to add to his butterfly collection, other people will be trawling. Like John Hayward, AKA Doctor Zero. Follow the good Doc on twitter, and read him at his home and in the Hot Air Greenroom.

Reporting on the Wikileaks release of classified military documents for the Associated Press, Kimberly Dozier writes:

As the Obama administration scrambles to repair any political damage to the war effort in Congress and among the American public by the WikiLeaks revelations, there are also growing concerns that some U.S. allies abroad may ask whether they can trust America to keep secrets, officials said.

The concerns of those U.S. allies are understandable.  Democracies always have trouble maintaining secrecy, especially once they stop taking concepts like “treason” seriously.  By contrast, prying information from dictatorships is considerably less enjoyable for international activists.  Claudia Rosett wonders why WikiLeaks doesn’t get busy prying comparable information from the Taliban, Iran, or similar creatures lurking in the shadows of the Mos Eisley Cantina.  Of course, she knows the answer.  The kind of bravery involved in facing down the murderous custodians of a torture state is far less comfortable than the “bravery” that wins Nobel prizes.

This creates the paradox of an enlightened Western community that spends a lot of time denouncing itself, instead of bearing witness to the savagery of its medieval opponents.  You won’t see activist hackers feeding evidence of Iranian complicity in war crimes against U.S. soldiers to the New York Times. Mountains of skeletons remained securely locked behind Palestinian, Syrian, and Iraqi doors, while the Western media faints at the sight of bloodstains on the uniforms of its soldiers.  The irony of weeping over covert missions against an illegal terrorist enemy that exists in defiance of the Geneva Conventions is lost on them.

The simple truth is that war against a brutal enemy is always brutal.  The conduct of American soldiers in the War on Terror has been nothing short of magnificent.  That doesn’t mean it’s been flawless… but history has never seen anything like the precision, and attention to humanitarian concerns, characteristic of our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  It’s a high standard that has cost American lives.  An unlawful attempt to second-guess our military policy, through the release of classified documents, stands to cost more.

An account of the professionalism and compassion our forces have displayed in the War on Terror would astound even the most enlightened statesmen of any previous era.  The material contained in the WikiLeaks documents would have reassured them we are not children.  War is a messy business, but it’s nothing compared to the stench of submission, or the vile methods our enemies will use to obtain it.

I wish I were more confident our Commander-in-Chief would concentrate on the danger to our troops and allies in the combat zone, who may soon be on the receiving end of behavior the New York Times has little interest in documenting… instead of fretting about political fallout they’ll be happy to dispose of for him.

John Hayward