CNN just broadcasted a press conference held by President Obama regarding the 91,000 military documents Wikileaks posted yesterday. In the press conference, Mr. Obama seemed to downplay the severity of the information found within the leaked military documents. This is the same strategy White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs used yesterday when he repeated “There weren’t any new revelations in the material” about four times. Clearly, the administration that has been struggling to find support for the ongoing war is trying to do some major damage control.
So what exactly is in the Wikileak documents that would cause such a ruckus in the national debate over the War in Afghanistan? In one of the biggest leaks in U.S. military history, the American people learned about covert operations, hidden civilian victims which included children, and U.S. suspicions that Pakistan, which receives about $1 million in US aid, is working with the Taliban. This information paints a much bleaker picture of the war in comparison to what the past two administrations have been telling the American people. To reiterate what Mr. Obama and Mr. Gibbs seem to be saying, it’s no big deal right? Wrong.
Democrats on Capitol Hill seem to think otherwise, arguing that the detailed account of the war found within in this documents would only intensify Congressional scrutiny of President Obama’s policies. The New York Times reports long time influential war supporter Senator John Kerry stating, “These policies are at a critical stage, and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy more urgent.” Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, is also the chairman of of Foreign Relations and is one of many expressing concern over what the documents could mean for the war.
The leaks could not have come at a worse time for Mr. Obama. Due to difficulties on the ground and a rising number of casualties, support for an American presence in Afghanistan has been dwindling. The New York Times reports that even officials inside the administration are beginning to question the President’s policies.
In Congress, House leaders scurried to hold a vote on a critical war financing bill out of fear that the Wikileak documents would lead to Democrat opposition. There will also be a Senate hearing regarding Mr. Obama’s pick to head the military’s central command, Gen. James N. Mattis. If approved, Mattis would oversee operations in Afghanistan.
Administration officials also acknowledged that the massive military leak will make it harder for Mr. Obama as he tries to muster up public and Congressional support for the war. It would seem as it Mr. Obama is facing a difficult choice: convince Congress and the American people that war efforts are not futile or quickly reduce the American presence in Afganistan.
Regardless of what Obama decides to do, it seems like Mr. President can’t catch a break as the American people keep finding reasons to grow skeptical of his policies.
Majority of Americans Losing Faith in Obama
New York Times