WikiLeaks: Pouring Fuel on the Iran Fire?

At Danger Room, Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman write: “No one would accuse WikiLeaks of being pro-war. . . . Not when its founder, Julian Assange, said that its trove of reports from the Afghan conflict suggested . . . American ‘war crimes.’” They continue.

So it’s more than a little ironic that, with its newest document dump from the Iraq campaign, WikiLeaks may have just bolstered one of the Bush administration’s most controversial claims about the Iraq war: that Iran supplied many of the Iraq insurgency’s deadliest weapons and worked hand-in-glove with some of its most lethal militias.

For example . . .

. . . its elite Quds Force trained Iraqi Shiite insurgents and imported deadly weapons like the shape-charged Explosively Formed Projectile bombs [and] “neuroparalytic” chemical weapons . . . into Iraq [as well as a] surface-to-air missile, .50 caliber rifles, rockets and much more. [Also] Iranian agents plotted to kidnap U.S. troops from out of their Humvees.

In other words, aren’t Assange and WikiLeaks just adding ammunition to those calling for an attack on Iran to halt its nuclear program? In fact, though, withholding documents unflattering to Iran for fear of fomenting yet more war would only undermine the credibility of their work. Future efforts on their part to draw the brakes on unwarranted American interventions abroad would thus be compromised.

Progressives, meanwhile, must guard against the temptation to jump to the defense of Iran. Attempting to undermine the credibility of WikiLeaks is as much of a losing proposition as defending Iran’s dubious contention that it has no aspirations to nuclear weapons. Instead of defending Iran, we need to stay focused on the role that the United States played in eliciting such responses as aiding and abetting Iraqi insurgents and developing the capability to manufacture nuclear weapons.