by Mumia Abu-Jamal
“The U.S. has spent tons of billions of dollars and thousands of lives in defense of one of the most corrupt nations on earth.”
If the WikiLeaks saga has shown us anything, it’s that things are seldom what they seem; and allies, in truth, are almost indistinguishable from adversaries. That’s because what a nation says, and what a nation does, are often two different things. And what a diplomat SAYS?
There is one discourse for public consumption; what they say in confidential government cables is another. For example, the U.S. has spent tons of billions of bucks to “stabilize” Afghanistan, and for almost a decade presidents and diplomats have spoken glowingly of Afghan President Hamid Karzai as a force for democracy in the region. Presidents have embraced him and lauded him as a valued ally.
In public, that is. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and published by some newspapers tell an entirely different tale. They describe Karzai as a man of “deep seated insecurities” (if so, it’s probably because he remembers how the U.S. treated its “trusted allies,” the Diem brothers in Vietnam, in the ’60s!), and a man unable to grasp the basics of statecraft.
Other cables describe naked corruption, the selling of ministers’ offices, high-level favors for drug kingpins, and their power in the country. One cable quotes Karzai as saying, “I wish I had the Taliban as my soldiers!” This cable was sent two years ago!
WikiLeaks did what the corporate press couldn’t or wouldn’t do; they gave the people a true view into state relations, especially in a nation where the U.S. has spent tons of billions of dollars and thousands or lives (not to mention untold thousands of Afghan lives!) in defense of one of the most corrupt nations on earth.
WikiLeaks has performed a powerful and valuable public service. © MAJ 2011
> This article was originally published in the January 2011 print edition of Socialist Action newspaper.