A trove of 91,000 classified documents on the war in Afghanistan, released by the WikiLeaks website, is prompting strong reactions in Washington from the White House to Congress as well as in the media.
It also reminded reporters that the 2004-2009 timeframe of the documents in question pre-date Barack Obama’s “new strategy” in Afghanistan. The implication is that the problems detailed in the leaked documents do not reflect the current realities of the war in Afghanistan.
not likely to have much effect. Just as the administration was positioning itself ahead of the release, so were voices on Capitol Hill.
“However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right".
Congress, though, may not pose the biggest obstacle for the administration as it attempts to contain the political damage from the publication of the document set known on WikiLeaks as the “Afghan War Diaries.”
Elsewhere, the media reaction was far more pronounced. Across the top of the second most popular news website in the United States, the Huffington Post, the headline blared: “A devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan". The New York Daily News was equally negative with “Secret files reveal Afghan war nightmare".
Similar headlines on dozens of media outlets across the United States highlight the significant challenge confronting the Obama administration: persuading an already sceptical American public that the war in Afghanistan is worth additional lives and treasure. Their challenge now, according to analysts, is to prevent the revelations in the WikiLeaks files from fully derailing U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
WikiLeaks vs. Washington
The release of the “Afghan War Diaries” is just the latest episode in an ongoing struggle between the U.S. government and WikiLeaks. In March, the website published a 32-page classified U.S. counterintelligence report on how to marginalise WikiLeaks. The site’s editor-in-chief Julian Assange
refuted the government’s efforts to discredit WikiLeaks as flawed and inaccurate.
According to the Sunday Times
, WikiLeaks is set to publish a new video from the war in Afghanistan that purportedly depicts a U.S. attack that killed 97 civilians.
Date created : 2010-07-26