I've just read through a couple of summaries. Overall, I have to say that this brief glimpse into how the government actually works is actually reassuring. The cable extracts are often sharp, smart, candid and penetrating. Who knew the US government had so many talented diplomats?
But then, of course, there are the real dangers of this random transparency. Take the perilous situation in Yemen, where al Qaeda has a foothold and whence it is planning mass murder of Western citizens. Will the following leak make al Qaeda stronger and thereby increase the likelihood of American civilian deaths? You decide:
It has been previously reported that the Yemeni government has sought to cover up the American role in missile strikes against the local branch of Al Qaeda. But a cable’s fly-on-the-wall account of a January meeting between the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, then the American commander in the Middle East, is nonetheless breathtaking.
“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Mr. Saleh said, according to the cable sent by the American ambassador, prompting Yemen’s deputy prime minister to “joke that he had just lied’ by telling Parliament” that Yemeni forces had carried out the strikes.
Mr. Saleh, who at other times resisted American counterterrorism requests, was in a lighthearted mood. The authoritarian ruler of a conservative Muslim country, Mr. Saleh complains of smuggling from nearby Djibouti, but tells General Petraeus that his concerns are drugs and weapons, not whiskey, “provided it’s good whiskey.”
Fascinating, colorful reporting - and an insight into the hypocrisy and cynicism among the elites in the Muslim Middle East. If it were reporting.
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