Deadly Fictions

The classified diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks are the Pentagon Papers of the pro-Israel right

Lee Smith
Tablet Magazine
11/29/2010

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has positioned himself as a left-wing whistleblower whose life mission is to call the United States to task for the evil it has wreaked throughout the world. But after poring through the diplomatic cables revealed via the site yesterday, one might easily wonder if Assange isn’t instead a clandestine agent of Dick Cheney and Bibi Netanyahu; whether his muckraking website isn’t part of a Likudnik plot to provoke an attack on Iran; and if PFC Bradley Manning, who allegedly uploaded 250,000 classified documents to Wikileaks, is actually a Lee Harvey Oswald-like neocon patsy.

With all due apologies to Oliver Stone (and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey), what the Wikileaks documents reveal is not a conspiracy of any kind but a scary and growing gap between the private assessments of American diplomats and allies in the Middle East and public statements made by U.S. government officials. The publication of these leaked cables is eerily reminiscent of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed a decade-long attempt by U.S. officials to distort and conceal unpalatable truths about the Vietnam War, and manipulate public opinion. The difference is that while the Pentagon Papers substantially vindicated the American left, the Wikileaks cable dump vindicates the right.

Here are eight of the most obvious examples from the initial trove of documents that has appeared online…

…If these cables make many on the right look prescient, or at least in touch with reality, it is hardly a surprise that their domestic U.S. rivals are trying to spin the Wikileaks cables to their own advantage. For instance, leftwing academic specialists on the Middle East who have argued that the peace process is the key issue in the region and that the Gulf Arab states do not want the United States or Israel to bomb Iran are nonetheless celebrating the Wikileaks documents, even as their argument is now vitiated. Some university professors claim that their analysis is better than those of Washington’s Arab allies anyway. The New York Times is trying to make the case that in the wake of George W. Bush’s mismanagement the Obama Administration has managed to build a strong sanctions regime against Iran that includes Russia and China. Unfortunately, the cables prove only that Russian envoys are working to frustrate the U.S. effort by selling the Iranian position to the Arabs.

What comes through most strongly from the Wikileaks documents, however, is that U.S. Middle East policy is premised on a web of self-justifying fictions that are flatly contradicted by the assessments of American diplomats and allies in the region. Starting with Bush’s second term and continuing through the Obama Administration, Washington has ignored the strong and repeated pleas of its regional allies—from Jerusalem to Riyadh—to stop the Iranian nuclear program…

Read the complete article at Tablet Magazine.

H/T Power Line: “…I should add that the stolen cables are like the Pentagon Papers in a few respects other than the one that Smith cites. The dissemination of the cables probably violates the espionage laws of the United States. You can look it up…”

Update: Wikileaks Revelation: Obama’s Middle East Experts Don’t Really Understand Middle East, Arabs, and Rumor Confirmed: Obama Traded Missile Shield for Russian Help With Iran That Never Appeared.

Update 2: From Australia, 12/1/2010 at 1:05 PM, Interpol issues arrest warrant for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

Interpol, the international police organisation, has issued an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as his activist website continued to leak US diplomatic cables today.

The Australian was added to the organisation’s “wanted” list for alleged sex crimes committed in Sweden this year.

He is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, after an investigation by Swedish prosecutors into his encounters with two women in Sweden in August.

The arrest warrant, called a “Red Notice“, is “not an international arrest warrant” but means Mr Assange could be arrested and extradited to Sweden from any country if local authorities act on it…

Also at the Sydney Morning Herald there is also a brief video of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addressing the issue of the leaks which he calls “embarrassing, awkward.”

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