Controversy has always surrounded the war in Afghanistan, and the latest documents to come out have only made the debate stronger. The website Wikileaks has leaked a bunch of secret documents pertaining to the War in Afghanistan, and it has everyone talking.
According to The Washington Post, Wikileaks released more than 90,000 documents pertaining to the War in Afghanistan. The secret military documents pose a potential national security concern and can actually harm the people who are serving our country. The documents are secret reports from the troops in the field who are covering intelligence. There are also details in the documents pertaining to clashes and civilians who have been killed or wounded in the war effort. These documents have also shown that there have been more casualties in Afghanistan than what the government stated.
The Wikileaks documents are similar to other high-profile leaks of government information, including the Pentagon Papers. According to The Washington Post, the Pentagon Papers were released through the New York Times in 1971 during the Nixon administration. The Pentagon Papers had a lot of high-profile information pertaining to the Vietnam War and the involvement of the United States in the War effort. The Pentagon Papers held information about political and military involvement during the Vietnam War from 1945 through 1967. The Pentagon Papers were ordered by the Defense Secretary at the time, Robert S. McNamara, and they were put together by many military historical figures. The Pentagon Papers also raised questions about Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon and their top advisers. The Nixon administration also halted the Pentagon Papers through the Department of Justice until the Supreme Court ruled two weeks later that that was unconstitutional.
There are some differences between the two high-profile leaks, and most of them have to do with detail. Although the Wikileaks documents could be damaging to the Obama Administration, there are no questions raised about the administration or about anyone within the administration. The Pentagon Papers also ran in the New York Times, as opposed to the Wikileaks documents being on the Internet, which will lead to more people reading the secret documents. One big difference between the two high-profile cases is that, so far, Barack Obama has not tried to stop the Wikileaks documents from being viewed on the Internet.
Overall, I think that the Wikileaks leak will make people think twice about the Afghan war and about our intentions within the war itself. The Afghan war has been debated by many people on both sides, and this information will end up making an impact on the debate. If you are against the war, then the leak will come as supportive evidence to get out of Afghanistan, and it could make more people uncertain of the purpose of the war.
The Afghan war has been deadly for the United States, and these documents could only make that case stronger since there is supporting evidence. I think, overall, the leaked documents could make more people aware of the devastating consequences of war, and could lead to people becoming resentful. Elections are coming up in November, so the leak could be used as a way to get more support for the war opposition and help the Republican Party gain momentum. The outcome of the Pentagon Papers and these documents will not be the same because the Pentagon Papers helped lead to the impeachment of Richard Nixon. I do not think the leaked information will have a major impact on the Afghan war, except to draw more criticism from the opposing side and gain support for a quick withdrawal.
Walter Pincus, “Wikileaks’ Afghanistan War Log vs. the Pentagon Papers”, The Washington Post