Heroic invisible Internet website Wikileaks.org just released piles of secret U.S. and NATO documents about the decade-long War in Afghanistan, and it’s not a pretty picture. Every grim assumption is confirmed: Our “ally” Pakistan and our “enemy” the Taliban are one and the same, civilians are being massacred by our robot death planes at an appalling rate, and the inept Afghan Army seems to serve little use beyond providing disguises and equipment to be used by rebels attacking U.S. troops and bases. But at least the Obama Administration has responded to the leaked documents in an honest, forthright manner … haha, just kidding. Obama’s national security adviser put out a statement attacking Wikileaks and the newspapers for releasing the damning documents.
Wikileaks posted the Afghanistan War papers on its main website and distributed copies to Der Speigel, the Guardian and the New York Times, all of which just posted the stuff online. It’s tedious reading with occasional bits of “Oh my god, we are so fucked,” making the newspapers’ summary stories ultimately a lot more useful than trudging through spreadsheets consisting of thousands of memos and dispatches.
There is, for instance, this harrowing tale from a tiny U.S. outpost in southeastern Afghanistan — deep in the mountainous territory long held by the Taliban and ISI and Al Qaeda or whatever you call these people, who live here and have a stake in defending it from the western imperialists:
“Multiple enemies running through” the Afghan National Police station “and fire coming from the mosque,” he typed. He added, “The police station is shooting at us.”
Forty minutes into the fighting, he reported that the observation post was about to detonate its Claymore mines — a sign that the attackers were almost at its walls. “They are that close to the wire,” the soldier typed.
Eight minutes later he reported that the attackers were breaching Keating’s last defensive ring. The post was at risk of falling, and having the fighting go hand-to-hand.
“Enemy in the wire at keating,” he typed. “ENEMY IN THE WIRE ENEMY IN THE WIRE!!!”
The narrative is assembled from chat-room transcripts, with the besieged and outnumbered troops pleading for air support as nearly 200 gunmen poured into the fortified outpost after hours of battle. By the time help arrived for the western troops, eight coalition soldiers were dead and another two dozen injured. The base and its leftover ammo stores were abandoned as part of a “new strategy.” This happened in October — just 10 months ago.
Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, had this to say in a statement released tonight, according to The Politico:
The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact us about these documents – the United States government learned from news organizations that these documents would be posted. These irresponsible leaks will not impact our ongoing commitment to deepen our partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan; to defeat our common enemies; and to support the aspirations of the Afghan and Pakistani people.
Jones went on to say that the leaks “constituted a serious security risk to our government” and called the media unpatriotic for publishing the documents. Not really; that’s what Henry Kissinger said about Jack Anderson’s leaking of the Pakistan-India secret papers in 1971. [Wikileaks/NYT/Guardian/Der Spiegel]