By Dave LIndorff
The White House's initial response to the release of 92,000 pages of raw reports from the field by US forces in Afghanistan for a period from 2004-2009--that it was a threat to national security and to the lives of American troops--was as predictable as it was farcical.
These documents didn't reveal anything new to America's enemies in Afghanistan or Pakistan. The Taliban fighters knew full well that their heat-seeking missiles had successfully downed American helicopters. They didn't reveal anything new to Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI. The Pakistanis knew that they were assisting the Taliban with intelligence, strategic planning and weapons in their fight against US forces and the current puppet regime in Kabul. They didn't reveal anything to the long-suffering civilian population in Afghanistan either. Afghans know that US forces have been targeting them at checkpoints, wantonly bombing their houses and villages in attempts to hit suspected Taliban or Al Qaeda leaders or fighters, and covering up those atrocities when innocent men, women and children are the victims.
No, what the release of these documents threaten is the huge almost decade-long lie that both the last administration of President George W. Bush, and the current administration of Barack Obama have been putting out, that the US is engaged in a "good war," trying to defeat "terrorists" and establish a democratic government in Afghanistan.
This is what makes the WikiLeaks release of these documents so much like Daniel Ellsberg's and Tony Russo's release of the Pentagon Papers. It's not so much that there was explosive new information in these documents, though there is some. It's that they expose to the American public the depth and breadth of government and Pentagon lying about the wars in question--Afghanistan in the WikiLeaks case, and Indochina in the Pentagon Papers case.
The WikiLeaks documents show the US to be engaged in a brutal war in which the local civilians are of no consequence, or in which they are even seen as the enemy. The only reason there is any concern at all about their welfare is a recognition that when they are killed, it strengthens support for the Taliban. There is no objective concern for their welfare.
The danger of the WikiLeaks papers is that they expose America as a classic imperialist or neo-colonialist oppressor, not some kind of virtuous purveyor and defender of freedom and democratic principles.
And this kind of expose' risks turning Americans against the war even more than they already are (polls taken just before the WikiLeaks release show that even with the biased, pro-war coverage provided by the corporate media, a narrow majority of Americans currently wants the US out of Afghanistan).