Waiting for Wikileaks
UPDATE: According to al Jazeera, the documents show that the U.S. military found that 109,000 Iraqis were killed between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2009; of those two-thirds were civilians. In addition, the documents capture several incidents where excessive use of force incidents were not investigated. Here is the al Jazeera report.
According to a Twitter posting by Wikileaks, the website plans to release another 400,000 classified military documents about the by 5 a.m. EST tomorrow morning. Some news organizations already have seen them. And here in the halls of the Pentagon, we hear that the New York Times has the documents as does al Jazeera, and both organizations are expected to release their stories about the documents this evening. Until we see the stories though, it really is all conjecture as the Pentagon will not say which organizations have contacted them about the documents.
The documents span the entire length of the Iraq war and may include the names of Iraqis who cooperated with U.S. Special forces. In addition, they may have details about the search for and eventual killing of former al Qaida Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi and the first 2004 Fallujah offensive.
But the Pentagon insists that they do not expect any major surprises in the documents, many of which include first or “raw” reports about incidents throughout Iraq. Despite that, they have pleaded with news organizations to not publish them. Publishing them could endanger troops, the Pentagon said.
As you may recall, Wikileaks released 90,000 documents over the summer, many of which focused on the war in Afghanistan. Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said there is no evidence that the Pentagon has that any of the Afghans named in those documents were injured by the Taliban or other insurgent forces.
So what impact will this latest batch have on our understanding of the Iraq war? We will know in just a few hours.