On July 25th, 2010, the website Wikileaks released the ‘Afghan War Diary,’ over 200,000 pages detailing the US’s terroristic role in Afghanistan. (1) The documents, allegedly collected and leaked by Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old military intelligence analyst now being held on allegations of an earlier leak, consist of battlefield reports and classified intelligence estimates detailing what we already know: the US is increasing its reliance on private mercenary forces, covert operations and unmanned airstrikes; propping up a corrupt, unpopular government; killing civilians and lying about it; and quickly causing the Afghan masses to turn towards resistance. (2) (3)
The release of the ‘Afghan War Diary’ has caused some controversy in the US, with reactionaries waging a counter-offensive in the realm of ideas. Military and intelligence officials have described those involved with the leak as potentially emboldening the Afghan resistance forces and endangering Amerikan lives. “They might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family,” one high ranking official was quoted as saying. (4) This is an example of ruling-class double-speak. Not surprisingly, reactionaries malign anyone who resists or undermines the inherently violent and poverty-ridden imperialist system.
Similar oppressor-minded rhetoric has been provided by Adrian Lamo, a former computer hacker who snitched out Manning following private internet discussions between the two. An extreme sycophant of imperialism and the status quo, he didn’t want to be a “coward” and knew the leak of the Afghan War Diary would “endanger human lives,” he’s told mainstream media outlets. He has no regrets about snitching out Manning and describes him as “someone who was easily led.” (2)
Lamo’s reported comments provide a microcosm into the mindset of Amerikans. Values such as cowardice, and abstract ideas such as “human lives”, are seen through an extremely narrow, Amerika-centric lense. Though Lamo had frequent discussions with Manning in which the latter stated his negative views about Amerika’s wars, one gets the impression that Lamo always felt himself above and never connected with the dissident intelligence analyst. He completely disregards Manning’s view on the war, insisting on the imperialist narrative and defending his own role as a snitch. In short, like so many Amerikans, Adrian Lamo is a fucking pig.
Responding to the controversy, Julian Assange, founder, editor and spokesperson for Wikileaks, describes good journalism as controversial, stresses the need for truth in public knowledge and claims those in power often attempt to hide abuses and wrong-doings. Assange denies the leak endangers Amerikan lives and points to the fact that the documents detail massive killings of Afghan civilians by US-led forces. Wikileaks has reportedly withheld 15,000 pages for “further review,” because they possibly contain information which might endanger ongoing imperialist operations in war-torn Afghanistan. Assange and other spokespeople for Wikileaks claim they are attempting to contact Washington for help in vetting the documents before their release. (5) (6) (7)
These latter facts are troubling, raising questions about where Wikileaks’s true allegiances lie. It highlights the disparity between ultimately pro-imperialist, “social-democrat” thought and revolutionary anti-imperialism. ‘Social democrats’ oppose various aspects of imperialism: in the case of Wikileaks, secrecy by institutions of power. Yet, they fail to connect these aspects to the overall system and never make the leap to opposing the system as a whole. They ultimately seek to reform the existing system, not destroy it and build a better one. Why else would Wikileaks go to such lengths as withholding documents and contacting the White House to vet them. Though less extreme and overt, Julian Assange, an Australian, is also a sycophant of imperialism.
The release of the Afghan War Diary will not change Amerika’s public perception of the occupation. Amerikans support imperialism and its various wars, both explicitly and tacitly. This is not due to ignorance or “false consciousness,” but due to their economic proximity to the imperialist-bourgeoisie. The vast majority of Amerikans, like the Amerikan imperialist-bourgeoisie, stand to benefit from exploiting Afghanistan and the entire Central Asian region. Since the election of Barack Obama, the so-called US ‘anti-war movement’ has virtually disappeared while the reactionary ‘Tea Party Movement’ has grown rabidly. Julian Assange is himself out of his mind, if he believes the Afghan War Diary will ‘wake up’ the Amerikan so-called ‘masses.’
Since the release of the Afghan War Diary, reactionaries have also been working to spin its meaning. (8) One senior official in the Obama administration described the information in the leak as precisely the reason the US is escalating combat in Afghanistan.(9) Others have noted reports suggesting Iran is connected to the Afghan resistance forces, which the imperialists label exclusively as Al Qaeda and the Taliban. (10) Rather than causing Amerikans to take pause in their support for aggression against Muslim countries, the Afghan War Diary is actually being used to promoting expanding wars.
The real wake up call for Amerikans will come when their expanding wars of aggression are met with expanded wars of resistance; when the imperialist-bourgeoisie’s ‘Coalition of the Willing’ is met and defeated by a coalition of necessity and its massive army of the oppressed. Only revolution, the overthrow of imperialist power and installation of a peaceable, egalitarian society, will forever turn the tide against imperialists and their lackeys.