In the New York Times’ latest piece on the distribution and contents of the leaked material, a number of items have found their way into the paper early. From those, a few that struck me right away:
Bargaining to empty the Guantánamo Bay prison: When American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in Chinese Muslim detainees, cables from diplomats recounted. The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”
We don’t want terrorists in our country. The House GOP even introduced legislation looking to prevent just that from happening. Should it come as a surprise that other nations feel the same way, so much so that what amounts to diplomatic bribery needs to be undertaken in order to facilitate such a transfer?
Unfortunately, this administration cares so much about appeasing its far left base that it would rather spend what diplomatic capital we have on achieving the goal of shuttering Guantanamo Bay–and thus putting our national security at risk purely for the sake of politics–than reserve our capacity for deal-making for times in which we truly need it — perhaps in the ongoing fight against Islamic jihad at its roots overseas.
Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government: When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered that he was carrying $52 million in cash. With wry understatement, a cable from the American Embassy in Kabul called the money “a significant amount” that the official, Ahmed Zia Massoud, “was ultimately allowed to keep without revealing the money’s origin or destination.” (Mr. Massoud denies taking any money out of Afghanistan.)
This is the sort of thing which brings out the isolationist in me. The way I look at it–and I could be wrong–there are two probable sources for that $52 million which was found in the possession of the Afghani vice president: the sum is either a product of that nation’s drug trade, or it was part of the billions in support provided to the Afghani government by the United States. Even worse, even if it is the former and not the latter, it is not as though Washington, D.C. doesn’t have a storied history of funding the Taliban, both during the Bush years and more recently.
I can imagine that, on the eve of the release of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables which would likely have remained secret for decades longer, flunkies on all levels at the State Department are scrambling to assess exactly what will be released and do damage control where possible. As for those who have wrongfully acquired and disseminated the information, it leaves me wondering exactly what it takes to glean a charge of “Treason” nowadays. Certainly, those involved with the leak have provided aid and comfort to our nation’s enemies, and have only undermined efforts to keep us safe.
It makes me wonder — if those responsible had been right-wingers instead of documented leftists, would the administration act differently toward the entire situation?