A Few Brief Comments

A few brief comments from New Haven, where I’m here for tomorrow’s soccer game against Yale, after a big news day with WikiLeaks releasing some 400,000 secret military documents on Iraq, detailing rampant detainee abuse by US-trained Iraqi forces and significantly higher-than-reported civilian casualties.

At least it seemed like important news to me, but I’m flipping through the channels here and on Fox, Sean Hannity is trashing Nancy Pelosi, on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow is trashing homophobic Republicans and on CNN, Larry King is shooting the shit with the cast of “Modern Family.” I might be going out on a limb, but the widespread beatings, burnings and lashings employed by the security forces representing the beacon of democracy and human rights we’ve produced in the center of the Middle East seems the slightly larger story here.

And since I’m at Yale, I’d be remiss not to mention former general and now Yale lecturer Stanley McChrystal’s outraged reaction to the latest WikiLeaks document dump. Said McChrystal: “The decision to leak classified information is something that is illegal, and individuals are making judgments about threats and information they are not qualified to make. There is a level of responsibility toward our people that needs to be balanced with a right or need to know. It’s likely that a leak of that information could cause the death of our own people or some of our allies.”

He’s right, but his indignation might strike me as slightly more compelling if it wasn’t coming from a man whose classified report to the president warning of the disastrous consequences of failing to strictly follow his recommended Afghanistan surge mysteriously leaked to Bob Woodward as President Obama prepared to make his decision on troop levels. Or if McChrystal’s record on detainee treatment from his time in Iraq wasn’t so damn bad.


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