Just months after it released a batch of internal documents about American troop actions in the Afghan war, the website WikiLeaks has publicized more controversial documents, this time about the war in Iraq.
The 400,000 documents reveal that Iraqi police and soldiers who were being trained and supported by American forces tortured and abused detainees, sometimes while U.S. troops looked the other way. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley responded that since the time when the reports were written, U.S. troops have partnered with Iraqi forces to complete human rights training and are required to report abuses.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has come under fire for publicizing documents that were previously classified by the military. Assange insists such documents should be part of the public record and says "the first casualty of war is the truth."
Critics of the document release say it could jeopardize troops' safety, since enemy forces could learn classified details. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has also denounced the document release, saying it has undermined his ability to form an effective Iraqi government.
"We have not turned a blind eye. You know, our troops = were obligated to report abuses, you know, to appropriate authorities and to follow up. And they did so in Iraq." - P.J. Crowley, U.S. State Department spokesman
"Our enemies will be now able to mine perhaps up to a half-a-million classified documents which could reveal how our forces operate in the field, how they respond in certain combat situations, the capabilities of our equipment and so forth." - Geoff Morrell, spokesperson, Pentagon
"The first casualty of war is the truth. But the attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts, and continues long after a war ends." - Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder
1. What does the term "classified" mean?
2. What countries is the U.S. currently at war with?
3. What does it mean to "leak" a document?
1. Do you think WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was justified in releasing the documents? Why or why not?
2. Do you think American forces should be held responsible for addressing human rights violations committed by Iraqis they trained? Why or why not?
3. What does Julian Assange mean when he says "the first casualty of war is the truth?" Do you think he's right? Why or why not?