They provide no earthshaking revelations, but offer insights from people fighting the war
A huge trove of secret field reports from the battlegrounds of Iraq sheds new light on the war, including such fraught subjects as civilian deaths, detainee abuse and the involvement of Iran.
The secret archive is the second cache obtained by the independent organisation WikiLeaks and made available to several news organisations. Like the first release, reports covering six years of the Afghan war, the Iraq documents provide no earthshaking revelations, but they offer insight, texture and context from the people actually fighting the war.
An analysis of the 391,832 documents illuminates important aspects of this war:
The deaths of Iraqi civilians at the hands mainly of other Iraqis but also of the U.S. military appear to be greater than the numbers made public by the U.S. during the Bush administration.
While the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans, particularly at the Abu Ghraib prison, shocked the world, the documents paint an even more lurid picture of abuse by America’s Iraqi allies, a brutality from which the Americans at times averted their eyes.
Iran’s military, more than has been generally understood, intervened aggressively in support of Shia combatants, offering weapons, training and sanctuary and, in a few instances, di