26 July 2010

Wikileaks and The War Logs

[ updated the next day ]

Interesting events triggered by Wikileaks release of the US military logs of the war in Afghanistan:

  • Wikileaks' Afghanistan War Log vs. the Pentagon Papers from The Washington Post - I had hoped for insight but this "comparison" was a waste of bits. His points: (1) TPPs revealed that Johnson was planning to expand the war as he publicly stated the opposite, whereas Obama has made no such contradiction. The similarities are in kind, not specificity. The government in both instances was hiding/distorting facts that would weaken public support of a war. (2) TPPs questioned the government's credibility but TWLs does not... except where it does with civilian casualty numbers. The casualty discrepancy is dismissed as simply already well known, and therefore not relevant. This is, obviously, absurd. Common knowledge is useless until proof exists.
  • The War Logs entry at Wikipedia - Very active. One anonymous user keeps attempting to delete the link to Wikileaks based on national security. This reminds me of the attempt to delete an NSFW photoshop of Emma Watson from the internet. That campaign was as successful as the one against Wikileaks will be.
  • Comment from Reddit thread by Harry_Searward - Pointing out that everyone went apeshit about soldiers' safety when the Abu Ghraib pics were released. He concludes, sadly, that This will very soon be all about leaking, and whistleblowers, and danger to our troops ... What it won't be about is the actual substance of those reports.
  • A tweet from Mark Pesce - Wikileaks should be invisible. Stuff should just appear. No one should have any idea where it comes from.
  • New media WikiLeaks uses traditional media for its 'Afghan War Diary' from Marketplace - Limited release gets people to pay attention. Julian Assange says he's found only one carrot that gets journalists to dig through his piles of raw material: "You can have it first. ... When you release something to the world its scarcity goes from zero to infinity. There is not a good incentive for journalists to invest in pulling the material apart and writing up and placing it in context.
  • Not the Pentagon Papers from Slate - Asks the same question as the WaPo writer and with equally inept conclusions. The big spin is going to be again that The War Logs revealed (1) no government lies and (2) no revelations. Even with only a small fraction of the 90+k documents examined, these "conclusions" are simply wrong.
  • WikiLeaks and the War from The New Yorker - Points out what I and others have been: the depth and range of failures exposed by TWLs (some would call them "revelations"...) brings into question the reality of the government's confidence in the war. What does it mean to tell the truth about a war? Is it a lie, technically speaking, for the Administration to say that it has faith in Hamid Karzai's government and regards him as a legitimate leader--or is it just absurd?
[ posted by sstrader on 26 July 2010 at 9:40:22 PM in Internet | tagged wikileaks ]