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26 July 2010


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Col., to many S-5's spinning information about a complex operation like Afghanistan = mess all-over your face.


Not exactly the Pentagon Papers -- which maybe says something good. Though there has been plenty of spin and the deliberate confusion of numbers of Afghan soldiers "trained" or money spent on "development," "counter-narcotics" etc... with "success," by and large the US public has gotten a much more accurate presentation of the state of the war from the Pentagon and the government at large than in the case of Vietnam.

If the best that the hacks who got an advance look at this stuff could come up with was "the ISI still makes nice with the Afghan Taliban" then, well, there isn't a lot of there there.


oh, well, depends how you tell this story.
like, the US government is funding both sides in the war in Afghanistan one side being their own soldiers, who is the traitor then?



You are right, there isn’t much new. Except with pundits and corporate media so intent on pursuing corporate and personnel wealth, reporting on the War is all spin. If anything comes from this perhaps the Obama Administration will stop emulating George W Bush, and pursue your (and Joe Biden’s) minimalist Afghan strategy until after the 2012 election and then just withdraw.

It is tragic that the Republicans and their radical ideology to starve the beast have so screwed up the working of the Federal Government that no one promotes or believes that Containment and Western Idealism which worked so well against villains like Stalin and Mao can be effective against radical Islamists.


seems like others agree with "repetition of things" in the news before

from Michael Crowley:


[$300 billion] ≠ [starved for resources]

ISI, for all their scheming, shouldn't be able to mess up so completely a military "plan" (those are irony quotation marks) backed by 300 billion dollars.


This is the stuff, in neat comma separated fields, that will be databased, spreadsheeted, graphed and powerpointed by category and analysed and briefed to death.

If anything, these public documents reveal the shear tedium of war and the endless repetition of the same simple tactics by our foe. There are no grand strategic thrusts to be made in Afghanistan. No Kursk, No Ardennes. Not even the odd Taliban battle flag to be taken. Just pointless grind and wasted treasure and blood until we decide to leave.

That is the message of the documents. There is no grand narrative of "progress" to a lofty but visible goal, no matter how hard the White House, The Pentagon and the Neocon Kommentariat try to spin it.

One can say that this is old news. Perhaps it is, but Wikileaks has done us a service by laying it out for our inspection. I pray for the safety of Wikileaks founder julian Assange.

Prof. Jay Rozen has some insightful comments on that organisation:


Cloned Poster

I would tend to disagree, you and I and the rest of the readers know all this already.

Look here


William R. Cumming

Also supporting a number of your posts, PL, is frequent comment on lack of indirect fire support.

Norman Rogers

Wikileaks is being used by the Department of Defense to "clear the decks" and get a lot of this information out into the open. This is one of the better propaganda dumps. Someone wearing a green badge sure came up with a winner this time.

The disengagement from Afghanistan cannot proceed until everyone knows that we've been keeping score and that we know who has been with us and against us. You can't unleash sectarian killing until it is in the public record that we have made a forlorn attempt to win, despite the fact that it was just too difficult. Once you clear all of this data out, then nothing else can be leaked and no one can claim that the United States didn't make an honest effort to ram democracy down the throats of those pesky tribesmen. The case can then be made that we could have won, had we not been undermined by so many dastardly enemies. This is a great way to name names and send messages and get everyone out there up to speed on who has been betraying whom.

We're really just airing our dirty laundry with Pakistan, aren't we?

Patrick Lang


I don't agree. We are not that clever. Also, It is very easy for some disgruntled soldier with access to the computer network on which all this and more are stored to take a thumb drive, download the material and then give it to this clique of anti-American propagandists. The documents are really the stuff of every day message traffic and not very highly classified. Such documents are transmitted electronically to multiple addresses on standard lists. pl

John Adamson

"Ho Hum"

None of this is news to you. Fine. But you are a unique individual in the scope of your knowledge and experience.

Maybe a lot of it has been reported before - but not in places where the average person would see it. If you read the Economist or visit sites like yours, it's not news. If you're an average guy - it will be news.

The leaks might prompt people to actually think about what we're doing rather than accept the Orwellian narrative they're now getting.


It is a treasure trove of information. Historians and war crimes lawyers will use this for years to come.

It also changes the intelligence game. One log message isn't that useful *Every* log message, however, gives a much more complete picture of intentions and expectations. It is like taking an X-Ray. no one pixel is useful, taken together all the pixels allow you to the skeleton.

How do you guard against disgruntled soldiers when it is so easy to see and aggregate all these messages (and then walk away with them all in a thumb drive)

hilerie mcgahill

this clique of anti-American propagandists - pl

Surely calling the NY Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel anti-American propagandists is rather like labelling critics of Israel's policies towards Palestine and the Arab world as anti-Semitic.

Patrick Lang


You should remember that much of the information in this archive of headquarters documents may be incorrect since a lot of it is bound to be raw, unevaluated information direct from the field. Such reporting is often found later to be defective. pl

Patrick Lang


Clever, but no cigar. i obviously meant Wikileaks. pl

quite successfuklly to modern globalized culture.

So - does anyone think the Iranians are backing the Taliban, or is that a clever piece of disinformation?


Afghan leaks hand Obama new political nightmare


WikiLeaks says evidence of war crimes in documents

Top US lawmaker: Afghan war leakers belong in jail

""The damage to our national security caused by leaks like this won't stop until we see more perpetrators in orange jump suits," Bond said in a statement."

Patrick Lang

j et al

"War Crimes? What crimes are we talking about? "Planning and waging aggressive war?" That's not going anywhere. Violence against civilians? I know a fair amount about the law of land warfare, both US and international. Violence against civilians (non-combatants) is only a crime if the civilians are deliberately targetted in the knowledge that they are non-combatants. Civilians carrying guns in a war zone are taking a big chance. pl

Patrick Lang

quite, etc.

Why would you think that they are not supporting some Taliban? They would think of it as a nice touch guaranteeing them influence at some future date. pl


Obviously haven't read all 90,000 plus memos (and never will). On a scan of the highlights, and the coverage of the privileged dozes who had advance access, i find no there there, either. Mr. Asange's spin notwithstanding. That spin is what supports the Colonel's assessment, not the existence of the website itself (which I'm personally comfortable with -- it's the packaging that tales the tale).
War sucks for civilians. And combatants. And contractors... and on and on it goes. People get shot and stuff. Metal meeting flesh is ugly.


Realize my last comment wasn't clear. It was in regards to the "war crimes" crowing by Asange.

Norman Rogers

Ah, but the thumb drives were banned by DoD, probably because they figured out that this was going to be a problem in the future. Banned until they could figure out how to issue people thumb drives that could be tracked and inventoried. (and, I think, banned because so many thumb drives full of classified info were popping up for sale in Kabul after being swiped by the cleaning personnel on US bases).

I see your point, but so much of the coverage is predictable. Outrage, outrage, outrage! And yet General Alexander seems to be keeping his job as the fellow in charge of protecting us, one and all, from any kind of a cyber attack.

If General A can't keep us safe from Wikileaks, then what the heck good is he?

Chris E

If "everyone knew this already", then there was no need why it shouldn't have been out in the open already - and indeed no case for Assange to answer to.

That said, I suspect the value of this information will not come so much in terms of incidents exposed, but patterns revealed.

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