Today in Not News: The Afghanistan War Blows

Today's Big News is that Wikileaks has published 92,000 military documents leaked from the front of the Afghanistan War, in what is one of the biggest leaks in US military history.

The GuardianAfghanistan war logs: Massive leak of secret files exposes truth of occupation: "A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency."

The New York TimesPakistan Aids Insurgency in Afghanistan, Reports Assert: "Americans fighting the war in Afghanistan have long harbored strong suspicions that Pakistan’s military spy service has guided the Afghan insurgency with a hidden hand, even as Pakistan receives more than $1 billion a year from Washington for its help combating the militants, according to a trove of secret military field reports made public Sunday."

Der SpiegelExplosive Leaks Provide Image of War from Those Fighting It: "The documents' release comes at a time when calls for a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan are growing—even in America. Last week, representatives from more than 70 nations and organizations met in Kabul for the Afghanistan conference. They assured President Hamid Karzai that his country would be in a position by 2014 to guarantee security using its own soldiers and police. But such shows of optimism seem cynical in light of the descriptions of the situation in Afghanistan provided in the classified documents. Nearly nine years after the start of the war, they paint a gloomy picture."

Reuters—Documents allege Pakistan secretly backed Taliban: "Despite efforts by the White House to contain the political fallout, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, one of Obama's closest Democratic allies, said the leaked documents raised 'serious questions about the reality of America's policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan'."

Come on, Senator Kerry. Don't act all surprised. The biggest news about this leak should be that the horror the documents reveal isn't actually news. Not to anyone who's been paying attention to the war we're totally not supposed to be paying attention to.

As Drum notes, "the basic picture is basically the one we've known for a long time: a difficult, chaotic battlefield that's shown little progress since the very beginning of the war."

We're not remaking Afghanistan, and we never have been. That was Bush administration propaganda, which Obama & Co. were disappointingly happy to continue to promulgate as they escalated the war.

Perhaps the most important thing to come out of this document dump is that it could prove to be, as Dave Gilson suggests, "the watershed moment after which no one can honestly claim ignorance of what's really happening over there."

Let us hope. And let us hope some policy based in reality follows.

(I expect more, but I won't hold my breath.)

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