By Amy GoodmanOctober 27, 2010 “Truthdig” — Just days away from crucial midterm elections, WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower website, unveiled the largest classified military leak in history. Almost 400,000 secret Pentagon documents relating to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq were made available online. The documents, in excruciating detail, portray the daily torrent of violence, murder, rape and torture to which Iraqis have been subjected since George W. Bush declared “Mission Accomplished.”
The WikiLeaks release, dubbed “The Iraq War Logs,” has been topping the headlines in Europe. But in the U.S., it barely warranted a mention on the agenda-setting Sunday talk shows.First, the documents themselves. I spoke with Julian Assange, the founder and editor in chief of WikiLeaks.org. He explained: “These documents cover the periods of 2004 to the beginning of 2010. It is the most accurate description of a war to have ever been released … each casualty, where it happened, when it happened and who was involved, according to internal U.S. military reporting.”David Leigh, investigations editor at the Guardian of London, told me the leak “represents the raw material of history … what the unvarnished version does is confirm what many of us feared and what many journalists have attempted to report over the years, that Iraq became a bloodbath, a real bloodbath of unnecessary killings, of civilian slaughter, of torture and of people being beaten to death.”The reports, in bland bureaucratic language and rife with military jargon, are grisly in detail. Go to the website and search the hundreds of thousands of records.
Words like “rape,” “murder,” “execution,” “kidnapping” and “decapitation” return anywhere from hundreds to thousands of reports, documenting not only the scale and regularity of the violence, but, ultimately, a new total for civilian deaths in Iraq.The British-based Iraq Body Count, which maintains a carefully researched database on just the documented deaths in Iraq, estimates that the Iraq War Logs document an additional 15,000 heretofore unrecorded civilian deaths, bringing the total, from when the invasion began, to more than 150,000 deaths, 80 percent of which are civilian.