Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wikileaks to release Afghanistan documents

Wikileaks is the same organization that posted the video of US helicopter gunships gunning down some innocent people on the ground in Iraq, including a journalist -- see: this blog. Tomorrow the site will post thousands of previously unavailable documents -- some classified -- about the course of the war. Wikileaks made these documents available several weeks ago to several newspapers worldwide (The Guardian, Der Spiegel, the New York Times). The Times has published a summary HERE. This is relatively big news and I am sure there will be a lot more about it tomorrow and thereafter.

I read some of the "leaks" as well as the Times article. I wouldn't say "I am shocked, shocked" but it certainly reinforces the opinion that many of us have that the war was not going well, especially in relation to the actions of the Karzai government and our supposed ally Pakistan. To be fair, the documents were all from the time before the President's adjustments in war strategy, which included a beefing up of troop strength and the appointment of Gen. McCrystal -- since fired.

Of particular interest is the information that several allied helicopters were brought down not by small arms fire, as the military has reported, but by heat-seeking missiles. These Stinger missiles were supplied by the U.S. (under Reagan?) to enable the mujahedeen, the predecessors of the Taliban, to fight the Soviets who invaded Afghanistan in 1979. This is classic "blowback." No surprise, though. Everyone knew, or should have known, that the Taliban and even Al Qaeda were using weapons at one time supplied by the U.S.

In spite of the usual huffing and puffing by officials who never like to see anything leaked -- unless they do the leaking -- it seems to me from what I could glean from the Times' report that there were no documents that put Americans (or anyone) at risk. I suspect that the Taliban and its allies know a good deal more about the war than appears in these papers -- perhaps more than the allied military, sad to say.

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