Published on Friday, October 22, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
An Open Letter on the Needed Response to the Upcoming Wikileaks Report
Dear members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other willing parties,
This is an anticipatory letter aimed to advise you on your response and responsibility for the coming Wikileaks release, expected on October 23rd. Based on the White House's response to the last leak about
I write as a young veteran who once fully embraced the concept of a preemptive war to keep my fellow citizens safe and, as President Bush declared, because "
On the front-lines, however, I saw those very values that had so inspired me seldom put into practice. Despite claims of goodwill, infantry training left my comrades and I desensitized; how could we scream "Kill them all, let God sort them out" on a regular basis and still believe that we were caring for the oppressed people of
Though many of those ideals have fallen, one American ideal that can still be shown, depending on how you react, is that of accountability. Our founding fathers established a system of checks and balances to keep decision makers accountable. However, there has been little accountability in the wars that my friends and I once thought represented everything that was noble about our country. Of course it highlights some of those qualities when investigations find soldiers who kill Afghans for sport; but if legislators, the media, and the American public had been paying attention to the testimonies of veterans, instances like these would be understood as systemic, perhaps extreme, but certainly not exceptional.
While government statements may be able to divert the attention of
The coming leak about
Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, griped that he "was ashamed to have to sit there and listen to the president express his great angst about the leaking that is going on here in this town." (2)
I write on behalf of those around the world who are ashamed to have to listen to the President, along with military and political officials, express their great angst over leaks while seeming to ignore the realities of what those leaks reveal about the very nature of these wars. When you fail to take account for what has been done in our names, funded by our taxes, and fought by those who believe that the U.S. should represent something noble, we will search for and tell the truth; if you are ashamed by citizens practicing the accountability that our country was designed to demand, then that says more about you than about us.
Please do something different; take accountability for these wars and the full truth about them. More specifically, please take account for what is detailed in both the Iraq and Afghanistan leaks by running the needed investigations, addressing the policies and practices that have gone unchecked, and beginning a much needed reconciliation process. If you need soldiers who are willing to collaborate what is detailed in the reports, I will be the first to step forward for this round of leaks.
Veterans have been stepping forward, partnered with civilian allies, to tell the truth that the "official story" chases away: Civilian Soldier Alliance . We have taken part in campaigns to prevent the deployment of troops traumatized by what they've been asked to do: Operation Recovery ; we have partnered with organizations delivering aid on the ground in Iraq: Iraqi Health Now  and have begun to repair some of the damage that these leaks expose: IVAW Reparations . We are living out the care for humanity and personal responsibility that this nation prides itself on; we have a long way to go, and your participation, rather than dismissal, is highly needed.
Thank you for your consideration,
SPC, 2-16 Infantry Battalion, Combat Veteran
1. Wikileaks' Afghan/Iraq Logs: Searching for Accountability , Andrew Kennis, October 11, 2010 by Al Jazeera
2. U.S. rethinks intelligence sharing after leaks anger Obama ,
Josh Stieber deployed in "The Surge" from Feb 2007-Apr 2008. Assigned to a district near Sadr City in Baghdad, the Infantry Company that Stieber deployed with was shown in the Wikileaks' "Collateral Murder" video  release in Apr 2010. Stieber has shared his experiences on two cross countries tours and has met with elected representatives to inform them of the reality on the ground while trying to educate the public.
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/22-7
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs