Sunday, January 02, 2011

Thanks to Wikileaks, We Now Know What to Think When the U.S. Gov't Says "Trust Us" -- Excellent Summary from EL PAIS

EXCERPT (whole article well worth reading, at link above):

3. Lying to the people. But as we know, millions of readers of newspapers, websites, blogs, and other media around the planet have taken a keen interest in the cables. I believe that the global interest sparked by the WikiLeaks papers is mainly due to the simple but very powerful fact that they conclusively reveal the extent to which politicians in the advanced Western democracies have been lying to their citizens. The same could obviously be said of less democratic governments in other parts of the world, and would surprise nobody, but that would be the subject of a whole new essay.

That said, it is sufficient to illustrate the point by noting the response from the regime in Cuba, which at first was jubilant at the embarrassing situation that the United States now found itself in. But that sense of jubilation quickly faded as the published cables revealed the extent of Havana's undercover involvement in Venezuela and other Latin American countries, as well as the degree to which the Caribbean island's economy had deteriorated. Finally, the Cuban authorities complained to EL PAÍS, even resorting to insults.

By releasing the US State Department cables, WikiLeaks has opened a very large can of worms indeed, and there is not enough space here to go into details. But for the purposes of my argument here, it is necessary to mention those that directly affect the democratic principles that our societies are supposedly built on. There is also the question of what might be called the moral collateral damage that the leaks have created, and that comes at a time of growing skepticism on the part of the electorate about what our governments get up to, supposedly in our name.

Tens of thousands of soldiers are fighting a war in Afghanistan that their respective leaders know is not winnable. Tens of thousands of soldiers are shoring up a government known around the world to be corrupt, but which is tolerated by those who sent the soldiers there in the first place. The WikiLeaks cables show that none of the Western powers believes that Afghanistan can become a credible nation in the medium term, and much less become a viable democracy, despite the stated aims of those whose soldiers are fighting and dying there. Few people have been surprised to learn that the Afghan president has been salting away millions of dollars in overseas aid in foreign bank accounts with the full cognizance of his patrons.

Meanwhile, next door, Pakistan is awash with corruption as well. It also has a decaying nuclear arsenal that is a major security risk. The country funds terrorist activity against its neighbor India and many countries in the West.

Money from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates is also used to fund Sunni terrorist groups; but as these governments are allies of the United States, Washington prefers to remain silent, excluding them from its list of sponsors of terrorism or those belonging to what the Bush regime dubbed "the axis of evil." Clinton, or one of her direct subordinates, gave the order to carry out espionage within the United Nations, and not just on representatives of so-called rogue states, but on the UN secretary general himself. In turn, he has so far failed to demand an explication for this flagrant breach of international law.

We may have suspected our governments of underhand dealings, but we did not have the proof that WikiLeaks has provided. We now know that our governments were aware of the situations mentioned above, and, what is more, they have hidden the facts from us. I no longer think that commentators such as John Naughton were exaggerating when they compared the Karzai regime in Afghanistan with the corrupt and incompetent puppet government that the United States put in place in South Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. By the same token, Washington and NATO are seemingly becoming increasingly mired in a campaign bearing uncomfortable parallels with the war in Vietnam.

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