The classified military documents published by WikiLeaks over the weekend reveal much about the state of the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, and have generated a flurry of commentary. But pundits don't necessarily agree on what effects the leak will — or ought to — have on the direction of the war: (Watch a CNN discussion about the severity of the leaks)
A focal point to bring an end to this war: Opponents of the war have long argued that our "misguided" military operations "will never make us safer" and only intensify problems for the Afghans, says Robert Greenwald at the Huffington Post. At last, we now have "deeply troubling" proof to brandish at the nay-sayers. This leak has provided us with a "moment that we all must use to let the elected officials know that we will not be silent." This war must end.
"WikiLeaks release shows need to rethink the Afghanistan fiasco"
An argument for defeating the enemy: All this paper trail of "difficult battles, Afghan government deficiencies, corrupt police, [and] exasperated and grieving civilians" reveals is the true nature of our enemies, says Kori Schake at The New York Times. While we attempt to rebuild the country, they threaten to kill the families of police and plot against us. Taken together, these documents "quite strongly support the case for continuing to fight the war in Afghanistan."
"Helping the Enemy"
It's leverage for dealing with Pakistan: No doubt, this "military disaster" has given "comfort and assistance to the enemies of the West," says Jonathan Foreman at the National Review. If there is a silver lining, it could be that the U.S. will no longer "turn a blind eye" to Pakistan's relationship with the Taliban. Evidence that Pakistan's security forces — known as the ISI — are colluding with our enemies will give the West "greater leverage" in forcing Pakistan's elected government to finally "confront the reality of the ISI's secret activities."
"WikiLeaks: Looking for a silver lining"
Actually, the leak doesn't really change anything: Anyone who regularly reads a newspaper will find nothing of note in these so-called revelations, says Fred Kaplan at Slate. The president has "acknowledged and decried all of these nightmares" for months. In fact, they prompted our reboot of Afghanistan strategy in December 2009. The war may yet be a "tragedy, a failure and a mistake." But nothing in these "random, raw files" will do much to change your mind on the issue.
"Not the Pentagon Papers"