…sink ships. That and a few other mottos about keeping your mouth shut when it comes to things related to our country were not only en vogue but were actively advertised during the World Wars:
To put it another way, as Michael said to Fredo in “The Godfather”:
Fredo, you’re my older brother, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.
Well, the bad people at WikiLeaks took advantage of one soldier’s hatred towards America/mischievousness/yearning to make a big difference in the world in whatever – whether positive or destructive – way possible, or maybe he took advantage of the WikiLeaks organization to get his name out there (now that it is I hope he has fun with the fan mail he’ll get in prison as he serves a mega long court martial sentence), but regardless of the order in which who approached who, a treasure trove of classified information was obtained and shared publicly with the world. This act is taking sides against the family to the nth degree. For shame!
While I get the macro level argument for having a state of full transparency in the world, I do strongly believe in the need for secrecy when it comes to statecraft, and believe in the opaqueness of communication and mission, and I honestly think that releasing all of this information was a bad move. I’m all for transparency, but sometimes things are best left in private and sometimes the best things ever said aren’t said. That being said, I’m not going to pass up on this story just because I find it distasteful. I do think that America’s interests were harmed, though I’m not specifically sure how. I’ll leave that up to the experts to quantify. Even if he/they truly wanted to make a statement, they could have release much less than the 250,000 documents that they published.
Considering that the info is out there though, I’m not going to just avoid it. Here in no particular order is the “top 10” things we learned (he following content was taken from Zach Roth over at Yahoo News):
But what did we actually learn? Here are 10 key revelations from the cables:
1. Many Middle Eastern nations are far more concerned about Iran’s nuclear program than they’ve publicly admitted. According to one cable, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly asked the U.S. to “cut off the head of the snake” — meaning, it appears, to bomb Iran’s nuclear program. Leaders of Qatar, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern nations expressed similar views.
2. The U.S. ambassador to Seoul told Washington in February that the right business deals might get China to acquiesce to a reunified Korea, if the newly unified power were allied with the United States. American and South Korean officials have discussed such a reunification in the event that North Korea collapses under the weight of its economic and political problems.
3. The Obama administration offered sweeteners to try to get other countries to take Guantanamo detainees, as part of its (as yet unsuccessful) effort to close the prison. Slovenia, for instance, was offered a meeting with President Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions.
4. Afghan Vice President Ahmed Zia Massoud took $52 million in cash when he visited the United Arab Emirates last year, according to one cable. The Afghan government has been plagued by allegations of corruption. Massoud has denied taking the money out of the country.
5. The United States has been working to remove highly enriched uranium from a Pakistani nuclear reactor, out of concern that it could be used to build an illicit nuclear device. The effort, which began in 2007, continues.
6. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ordered diplomats to assemble information on their foreign counterparts. Documents in the WikiLeaks cache also indicate that Clinton may have asked diplomats to gather intelligence on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s plans for Iran, and information on Sudan (including Darfur), Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Iran and North Korea.
7. The State Department labeled Qatar the worst country in the region for counterterrorism efforts. The country’s security services were “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals,” according to one cable.
8. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi are tighter than was previously known. Putin has given the high-living Berlusconi “lavish gifts” and lucrative energy contracts, and Berlusconi “appears increasingly to be the mouthpiece of Putin” in Europe, according to one cable.
9. Hezbollah continues to enjoy the weapons patronage of Syria. A week after Syrian president Bashar Assad promised the United States he wouldn’t send “new” arms to the Lebanese militant group, the United States said it had information that Syria was continuing to provide the group with increasingly sophisticated weapons.
10. Some cables reveal decidedly less than diplomatic opinions of foreign leaders. Putin is said to be an “alpha-dog” and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to be “driven by paranoia.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel “avoids risk and is rarely creative.” Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi travels with a “voluptuous blonde” Ukrainian nurse.
The cables were obtained, via WikiLeaks, by the New York Times, the Guardian of Britain, Der Spiegel of Germany, Le Monde of France and El Pais of Spain.