This story originally appeared at Truthdig. Robert Scheer is the author of The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street (Nation Books).
Hillary Clinton should cut out the whining about what the Obama administration derides as “stolen cables” and confront the unpleasant truths they reveal about the contradictions of US foreign policy and her own troubling performance. As with the earlier batch of WikiLeaks, in this latest release the corruption of our partners in Iraq and Afghanistan stands in full relief, and the net effect of nearly a decade of warfare is recognized as a strengthening of Iran’s influence throughout the region.
Do we as voters not have a need to know that our State Department says that Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half brother of the Afghan leader we are backing and himself the head of government in the most contested province, “is widely understood to be corrupt and a narcotics trafficker”? Or that authorities working with our Drug Enforcement Administration discovered Afghanistan’s then-vice president smuggling $52 million in cash out of his country, a nation that US taxpayers are bankrolling?
In the cable discussing Ahmed Wali Karzai, or AWK as he is called, there is a pithy description of the basic folly of our attempt to control the uncontrollable land of Afghanistan: “The meeting with AWK highlights one of our major challenges in Afghanistan: how to fight corruption and connect the people to their government, when the key government officials are themselves corrupt.”
The cables make a hash of claims that our invasion of Iraq—where Al Qaeda could not operate when Saddam Hussein was in power—was helpful in the war on terror. Recall that 15 of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Yet the WikiLeaks documents reveal, as the New York Times reported, that “Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda, and the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a generous host to the American military for years, was the ‘worst in the region’ in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable last December.”
While the great threat is now said by Clinton’s State Department to emanate from Iran, the cables make clear that Iranian power was much enhanced by the US overthrow of Saddam, who had fought a long, bloody war against the ayatollahs. The result of our invasion is an Iraqi government run by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, described in the cables as being much under the influence of Iran, which orchestrated his deal with the Iranian-backed Sadrists that kept him in power. The cables report King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia dismissing Maliki as no more than an “Iranian agent.”