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Roy Scranton's stories, essays, and reviews have been published in Rolling StoneBoston Review, the New York Times, Contemporary LiteratureThe AppendixLITTheory & Event, and elsewhere. He is one of the editors of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (Da Capo, 2013). His book Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene is forthcoming from City Lights in 2015.

23 October 2010

Just When You Think It's Over

The Iraq War stands revealed as the dirty little fucked-up shitstorm it was, thanks to Julian Assange. Nothing here seems particularly revelatory, as with the Afghanistan logs, but it provides hard evidence, if evidence was needed, of the systemic torture, random violence, and general hideousness endemic to our occupation of Iraq. Thanks to the Guardian, who have mapped every death listed in these files, I can trace the blood on the roads I used to drive on patrol.

The Pentagon, classy as ever, have condemned the airing of their dirty laundry, refused to comment on how dirty that laundry is, and argued that such dirty-laundry-airing puts at risk the lives and operations of combat soldiers in a theater where combat operations have officially ended.

While it is true that Assange has put lives at risk, and while he seems like an arrogant and maybe even creepy dude (not just from news reports, but to see him talk), he is a hero. He has put his life on the line to expose the lies, human rights abuses, crimes, and failures of integrity, honor, and judgement that formed the warp and woof of the Iraq War. Along with Woodward & Bernstein, Sy Hersh, Daniel Ellsberg, and others, Assange should be applauded for his dilligence and courage. It sounds rather more like he'll end up like Winston Smith, though: 2+2 = 5, or else.

The saddest, thing, though, is that this leak, like the Afghanistan log leaks, will probably wind up changing very little, or nothing. There's a happy thought.

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