This stash will be compared to the Pentagon Papers, and in some ways that’s right—WikiLeaks, like Daniel Ellsberg, has been accused of ignoring the national interest. (An unfair charge, unless by “national interest” one means the political interests of a particular Administration.) But the Pentagon Papers were a synthetic analysis, a history of the war in Vietnam. WikiLeaks has given us research materials for a history of the war in Afghanistan. To make full use of them, we will, again, have to think hard about what we are trying to learn: Is it what we are doing, day to day, on the ground in Afghanistan, and how we could do it better? Or what we are doing in Afghanistan at all?
We might also use the papers to ask ourselves, more than we have, how the Afghans see the war. Can we expect them to understand that we mean well when we hit the wrong house with a strike from one of our drones—which, according to these documents, are less effective than we’d like to think? How does our talk about democracy sound to them?….
Seems to me that the 90,000 or so documents leaked will be able to answer the ultimate question that Dan Abrahams felt they could not. Seems to me that the 90,000 or so documents leaked will be an asset to the Afghan war debate, not a hindrance. The leaked documents truly give an insider perspective to the fighting taking place on the ground in Afghanistan. If it doesn’t aid in the ending of the Afghan war, it will most certainly make the public more understanding and empathetic towards war, and those who live it every single day.