I haven't had time to review or reflect much on the WikiLeak's disclosure of 92,000 classified documents to the NY Times, the London Guardian newspaper, and the German magazine Der Spiegel. After taking a cursatory look at some of the news articles, I can't say that I'm surprised at all. At best, it only reflects the lack of good reporting that we've seen to date on the war in Afghanistan - adequate reporting perhaps on the surface of things, but no in-depth analyses resulting in a good understanding of the conflict. The NYT says:
The documents — some 92,000 reports spanning parts of two administrations from January 2004 through December 2009 — illustrate in mosaic detail why, after the United States has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001.
As the new American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus,tries to reverse the lagging war effort, the documents sketch a war hamstrung by an Afghan government, police force and army of questionable loyalty and competence, and by a Pakistani military that appears at best uncooperative and at worst to work from the shadows as an unspoken ally of the very insurgent forces the American-led coalition is trying to defeat.
The material comes to light as Congress and the public grow increasingly skeptical of the deepening involvement in Afghanistan and its chances for success as next year’s deadline to begin withdrawing troops looms.
The dialogue runs directly counter to the military's positive spin on the conflict, as leaders such as Petraeus stubbornly insist that "victory" in Afghanistan is still possible. Just give it another four years or so. As I said, I don't think the reports will tell you anything particularly new. But what I find more interesting is trying to determine who might have sent these documents to WikiLeaks - 92,000 classified documents, mostly tactical level reports, over a six-year period. Is this person a military officer who has seen one too many operations go south? A low-level DOD civilian, secretly frustrated at the mismatch between reality and the manufactured news on the television? A poorly-screened defense contractor, taking advantage of stressed out defense personnel to slip messages out to other confederates?
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