There are many take-aways from the Wikileaks documents dump.
The left is focused on the failure of the U.S. to stop Iraqi-on-Iraqi brutality and torture.
But there is a theme in the documents which has enormous implications not so much for the past, but for the future. Iran has been killing American soldiers for years in Iraq, both directly and through groups trained and deployed by Iran, as has Syria to a lesser degree.
As reported by The New York Times, one of the newspapers given prior access to the Wikileaks files:
Scores of documents made public by WikiLeaks, which has disclosed classified information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, provide a ground-level look — at least as seen by American units in the field and the United States’ military intelligence — at the shadow war between the United States and Iraqi militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
During the administration of President George W. Bush, critics charged that the White House had exaggerated Iran’s role to deflect criticism of its handling of the war and build support for a tough policy toward Iran, including the possibility of military action.
But the field reports disclosed by WikiLeaks, which were never intended to be made public, underscore the seriousness with which Iran’s role has been seen by the American military. The political struggle between the United States and Iran to influence events in Iraq still continues as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has sought to assemble a coalition — that would include the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr — that will allow him to remain in power. But much of the American’s military concern has revolved around Iran’s role in arming and assisting Shiite militias.
Few in the media will choose to make the connection between the intra-Iraqi violence and Iran’s role, but there is a connection. Iraq without Iranian (and Syrian) meddling would not have devolved as it did.
If there was a clear failure of the Bush administration, it was the failure to deal with the Iranian and Syrian involvement in Iraq, under domestic Democratic Party pressure claiming that Bush officials were looking for a pretext to expand the war.
Our policy makers need to accept that the Iranian regime — much like al-Qaeda in the 1990s — declared war on us long before the American public knew it.
If anything good comes from the Wikileaks disclosure, it will be to pull the mask off of Iranian involvement in Iraq, how much the Iranians contributed to the deterioration of Iraq after the 2003 invasion (and yes, the intra-Iraqi violence), and the continuing Iranian war against us.
When are we going to stop kidding ourselves about Iran? The Iranian war against us cannot be swept under the rug anymore in light of Iran’s nuclear program.