WikiLeaks released over 90,000 leaked U.S. military documents related to the war in Afghanistan, Sunday. The documents, which cover six years of the conflict, were described by the Guardian, one of the three news organizations who were given the documents in advance, as "a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan."
Here is a round-up of reactions to WikiLeaks' "Afghan War Diary."
Leslie Gelb (Daily Beast): "It has to be said right off that they don't tell us anything important we didn't already know...but no amount of rhetorical tap dancing will allow the White House to escape the fundamental contradictions that underlie U.S. policy toward AfPak."
Andrew Bacevich (NPR):: "The leaks are unlikely to affect the course of events on the ground. However, they may well affect the debate over the war here at home. In that regard, the effect is likely to be pernicious, intensifying the already existing inclination to focus on peripheral matters while ignoring vastly more important ones"
Simon Tisdall (Guardian):: "Looking forward, there seems little reason so far to be believe that lessons have been learned or that anything fundamental in the American approach has changed."
Frank Gardner (BBC): "Taken together, the Wikileaks documents give the general public a remarkable insight into a war that -- at least up until December 2009 -- now appears to have been going worse than we were told."
Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian): "The logs we publish today...shatter the illusion that conflicts could be meticulously planned and executed, and the assumption that bloodshed would be acceptable only in very limited quantities."
Marc Ambinder (Atlantic):"The U.S. government will assess the story on several levels. One is political: will the information change the nature of U.S. relationships with allies, particularly the French and the Poles, who are implicated in some of the civilian deaths? The answer there is probably no. Will it raise skepticism in Congress? Absolutely."
ABC News : "Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the reports for U.S. officials are those which strongly suggest the ISI was double crossing the U.S. Last year, a report suggested that the former head of ISI was encouraging insurgents to focus their operations in Afghanistan 'in exchange for the government of Pakistan's security forces turning a blind eye' to insurgents in Pakistan."
Richard Cohen (Washington Post): "After taking a deep breath, [The White House] may conclude that Wikileaks has done it a favor -- speaking the unspeakable, and not in the allegedly forked tongue of the mainstream media but in the actual words of combat soldiers. This will make the inevitable decision [to withdraw] easier."
Economist : "I found the documents oddly reassuring: they indicate that American forces, in their internal communications, recognise how grim the situation is, and are not living in an unrealistic fantasy world."
Aryn Baker (TIME): "Taken as a whole [the War Logs] are about as useful as googling "I.S.I. aids Afghanistan insurgency." That is to say, there might be some quality nuggets of new information buried in the usual morass of false leads, biased reporting and pure inaccuracy, but there is still no smoking gun [linking Pakistan to the Taliban]."
CBS: Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, "Look, I think the president was clear back in March of 2009 that there was no blank check for Pakistan; that Pakistan had to change the way it dealt with us; it had to make progress on safe havens."
Alexis Madrigal (Atlantic): "While the impact of the documents and newspaper reportage on the war in Afghanistan will take a while to suss out, the publication of these documents will be seen as a milestone in the new news ecosystem."
Adam Weinstein (Mother Jones): "The intimation by Assange (and the media outlets he cherry-picked to preview the data) is that these are the Pentagon Papers of the Afghan war. Certainly there are a few eyebrow-raising details...but in truth, there's not much there."