I have been reading with some interest the news that an as-yet unnamed military sources leaked approximately 90,000 pages of classified documents related to the Afghanistan conflict to the website WikiLeaks. One of the reasons for my interest is that I am simultaneously teaching a class on the Vietnam War, and I was curious if this documentary leak would parallel the notorious Pentagon Papers that began being leaked in 1971.
The documents are collectively known as the Afghan War Diary, and these purportedly consist of internal U.S. military logs from the Afghanistan war. Unfortunately, public interest in the Afghan War Diary has been massive, and when I have attempted to access the site, I receive server overload error message like those in the screenshot on the left.
My suspicion is that the institutional intelligence of the U.S. government with regard to public relations has improved somewhat since the Vietnam War, and that there will be few instances of overt deception on the part of American military and political leaders uncovered in the Afghan War Diary, at least not of the magnitude of the flat-out lying by the Johnson and Nixon administrations depicted in the Pentagon Papers.
Unfortunately, the excessive demand on the WikiLeaks servers means that I will have to wait to examine the documents. I suppose, however, that I will learn little that I did not previously know about the Afghanistan conflict from the Afghan War Diary, and my semi-educated guess is that this cache of documents will have little bearing on U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
I also think the American populace is simply too indifferent toward the conflicts in Central and Western Asia for any documentary bombshells that might be uncovered in the Afghan War Diary to create a stir. Unfortunately, any antiwar sentiments in the United States today pale in comparison with the antiwar movement during the Vietnam conflict, and too many folks are more interested in the demagogic distractions of the present-day neo-McCarthyism to pay attention to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.