Pentagon officials are, as always, struggling to find a common ground between downplaying the crimes revealed in nearly 400,000 new classified documents released yesterday by WikiLeaks while insisting that their revelation is a grave affront.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell condemned the leak as “an extraordinary disservice to America’s men and women in uniform,” insisting that the leak “exponentially multiplied” the risk to occupation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the same time, and with no attempt to explain the contradiction, officials are downplaying the release, insisting that they contain very little that wasn’t already public knowledge. Which of course isn’t true, because the formal order to keep Iraqi torture from being investigated was not public knowledge, and already the documents revealed some 15,000 civilian deaths that had previously gone totally unreported.
The official Pentagon “warning” to media outlets not to cover the leak appears to have been partially successful with respect to major US media outlets, as the major US source, the New York Times, released a paltry amount of coverage on the content, spun mainly favorably to the military and centered mainly around generating hostility toward Iran. Those seeking more in depth coverage of the leak from an English-language outlet had to look to The Guardian, a British paper, and Germany’s Der Spiegel.