Whatever side someone is on about the dumping of 90,000 Afghanistan documents by Wikileak one thing is clear. New media has now vaulted into traditional old media territory. I’m not going to tell you what the document dump means, as you need to read and digest the information as citizens. But you should know that anyone weighing in telling you how it is has a stake in what you think. Where someone sits on the war in Afghanistan colors how they feel about the Wikileak document dump. Consider it in everything you read and know the stance of the author or outlet weighing in.
Transparency during wartime is expanding faster than government can keep up with it because of new media’s independence. Old traditional media never had this aspect, no matter the outlet. In a world where war is becoming too expensive for everyone, in lives and in treasure, but also diplomatic reputation because of the nakedness of knowing the details of what is done in the name of a country’s “good deeds,” it’s a tectonic shift in what the public can know. If it makes us think twice before venturing into militaristic adventures without a way through or out that’s a good thing. None of this will stop the government from screaming “danger, danger, exposure of tactics will endanger lives,” but maybe it will think about making the American public a bigger partner in these wars.
If our country is going to continue in these foreign adventures of militarism, some politician should stand up and propose a draft. It won’t get any traction, but the reason we’ve had mission creep from our initial attack on Afghanistan after 9/11 to Bush’s neglect of the country, then into nation building is that people don’t have to pay attention, because it’s not their son (or daughter) who is dying. When you’ve got them by the family jewels, the heir(s), their attention will follow. Then maybe we’ll quit having wars like Iraq, or idiocy from the Tea Party that we should attack Iran. That’s said by people who thank the troops while knowing it’s not their son or daughter being put in harm’s way.
Jay Rosen: The Afghanistan War Logs Released by Wikileaks, the World’s First Stateless News Organization.
The New York Times, who served up Judith Miller’s stenography, says Wikileaks hurts the war effort.
Pakistan is pissed. Shocking, I know.
This stash will be compared to the Pentagon Papers, and in some ways that’s right-WikiLeaks, like Daniel Ellsberg, has been accused of ignoring the national interest. (An unfair charge, unless by “national interest” one means the political interests of a particular Administration.) But the Pentagon Papers were a synthetic analysis, a history of the war in Vietnam. WikiLeaks has given us research materials for a history of the war in Afghanistan. To make full use of them, we will, again, have to think hard about what we are trying to learn: Is it what we are doing, day to day, on the ground in Afghanistan, and how we could do it better? Or what we are doing in Afghanistan at all?
A profile of Julian Assange of Wikileaks.
An interview on NPR’s Fresh Air with investigative reporter Philip Shenon.
It’s a circular firing squad with the people for transparency about war in the post-Bush era, an administration that lied us into Iraq, standing up to and against the infrastructure that thinks the people who fund the war, taxpayers, shouldn’t know what’s going on.