Much has been said about Wikileaks, the international organization that has leaked controversial military classified documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and who recently released the largest classified military leak in history called the “Iraq War Logs.”
Many have accused this organization for being “un-American.” Some in the Pentagon and within the State Department have urged them to abstain from publishing certain documents because it could jeopardize the missions in Afghanistan, and even the precarious stability in Iraq-and obviously, give a boost to calls of jihad, which could potentially have a big resonance within America, due to the increasing trend of the so-called homegrown terrorism.
This is obviously a matter of free press versus national security-and both sides are right, and wrong. The people from Wikileaks have all the right to publish documents they deem are necessary for the public to know, and perhaps, force the US and NATO to adhere to the international law and, specifically, the Geneva Conventions.
On the other side, Washington and its allies must be concerned with these publications because indeed, it might give fuel to the terrorist’s propaganda and compromise the advances in Iraq, thus bringing more chaos into Afghanistan, and indeed jeopardize the security and safety of its citizens around the world-because terrorist will not only target the US like in 2001, but rather anywhere where the West has presence-including Muslim nations like Indonesia, where in 2005 Bali was victim of a terrorist attack.
Who is right? Who is wrong? It’s hard to say. What it is clear is that the American government has violated the Geneva Conventions-regardless if it was justified or not, because indeed, these are terrorists vowing to destroy Western nations and kill innocent civilians, clearly not that respectful of the law. It is clear that the public have the right to know what is really going on in the war-especially American taxpayers. It is also clear that these documents puts in jeopardy the stability and even the strategy of the war against, let’s say, terrorists, and it also fuels insurgency-especially where it’s flourishing like in Somalia or Algeria, for example. Moreover, by naming the iraqi civilans that have been co-operating with the americans they are endangering the live of these people who were key in the success of the surge and COIN strategy implemented a while ago.
To best answer this dilemma is, they’re both right and they’re both wrong; and they both are fueling insurgency: one by not adhering to the international law, thus creating anger and resentment (Abu Grhaib), and the other one by giving terrorist organizations the best propaganda they could use to recruit new jihadist that are eager to become the new martyr.