The stories in today’s Washington Post tell you everything you need to know about the media establishment’s reaction to the Wikileaks Afghanistan documents:
By Greg Jaffe and Peter Finn
…The documents’ release could compel President Obama to explain more forcefully the war’s importance, military analysts said….
Senior White House officials said the classified accounts bolstered Obama’s decision in December to pour more troops and money into a war effort that had not received sufficient attention or resources from the Bush administration….
In the near term, the Obama administration seems intent on casting the voluminous leak as old news and ignoring it…..The same dismissive attitude dominated the national security think tanks in Washington where analysts closely follow the war. By Monday afternoon, most of these experts had given up on searching through the huge WikiLeaks database for new information….
By Glenn Kessler and Karen Tumulty
The Obama administration and its allies in Congress sought Monday to turn the leak of more than 91,000 classified documents about operations in Afghanistan into an affirmation of the president’s decision to shift strategy and boost troop levels in the nearly nine-year-long war….
Though it may represent one of the most voluminous leaks of classified military information in U.S. history, the release by Wikileaks of 92,000 reports on the war in Afghanistan hardly merits the hype offered by the website’s founder….
The British newspaper in turn highlights what it says are 144 reported incidents in which Afghan civilians were killed or wounded by coalition forces. But the 195 deaths it counts in those episodes, though regrettable, do not constitute a shocking total for a four-year period….
Even though columnist Eugene Robinson’s generally anti-war stance is still more or less intact, he feels obligated to argue there’s really nothing here. On civilian casualties, for example: “The documents merely reveal episodes that were previously unpublicized.” Oh, is that all?
We already knew that U.S. and other coalition forces were inflicting civilian casualties that had the effect of enraging local villagers and often driving them into the enemy camp. The documents merely reveal episodes that were previously unpublicized–an October 2008 incident in which French troops opened fire on a bus near Kabul and wounded eight children, for example, and a tragedy two months later when a U.S. squad riddled another bus with gunfire, killing four passengers and wounding 11 others.
Old news, apparently.