Daniel Ellsberg: Like my Pentagon papers, these Iraq war logs can't be buried

Roundup: Media's Take

[Daniel Ellsberg is a former US military analyst who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers, which revealed how the US public had been misled about the Vietnam war.]

Nearly 40 years ago I leaked the Pentagon papers – a top secret 7,000-page study of US decision-making during the Vietnam war which revealed repeated lies and cover-ups by the administration. The Iraq war logs, published this weekend by Wikileaks, could be even more significant.

As with Vietnam, we have again seen evidence of a massive cover-up over a number of years by the American authorities. The logs reveal the human consequences of the continuing Iraq war, which have been concealed from the western public for too long: the countless instances of torture; the killing of hundreds of civilians at roadside checkpoints.

Now we know that the Pentagon, which claimed in the early years of the Iraq invasion either that it didn't count casualties or that it had no evidence of them, was indeed keeping meticulous records all along. It has reports of 66,000 civilian casualties – 15,000 of which were completely unknown to Iraq Body Count, the only public attempt to log the war's victims. That means 15,000 deaths that never made any news report – five times the number murdered on 9/11. It certainly would be news if they were American or British deaths. That's 15,000 families who've suffered huge anguish and who may potentially have been motivated to seek revenge against American or allied troops. For the Pentagon to lie or try to hide this kind of carnage can only be self-defeating...

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