Monday, July 26, 2010

Time Mag on the Wikileaks Doc Dump

Michael Crowley notes that most of the "revelations" aren't new, but their relatively unvarnished, unspun accounts will have impact.  Joe Klein compares it to the 1968 Tet offensive of the Vietnam War = a reality check for the American public at the time that exposed the war's futility and finally turned Walter Cronkite against the war.  Klein finishes his essay:

A successful outcome in Afghanistan always was dependent on two local factors, no matter how brilliantly the U.S. military performed: an honest, competent Afghan government and a true ally in Pakistan, which ceased its support for the Afghan Taliban elements operating from Pakistani soil. In the past year, we've learned that an honest, competent Afghan government is a fantasy. The Wikileaks gusher will now direct attention to the Pakistani side of the equation--and increase the public sense that the Afghan war is an exercise in futility. It remains to be seen whether the Obama Administration can wait until December, as planned, to reevaluate its Afghan strategy.

A big difference between the Tet offensive then and the Wikileaks dump now is that, then, people were paying attention, because of the draft (We then-college-kids knew that we might be the next ones funneled into the maw of Vietnam once we graduated; and the poor shmucks who weren't in college might be going sooner).  And the casualties were much higher.  Up to now, the Afghan war has for most Americans been wallpaper - for that matter, wallpaper in the basement bedroom into which most folks don't care to venture.

So . . . I expect Fox News, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh - and some of CNN's commentators as well (gotta keep up with Fox) to do their thing - condemn Julian Assange, cushion the blow of any "revelations," and, when the chance comes, divert attention to something else - like bombing Iran, or whatever.  With the 24-hour news cycle, they can always find some new shiny bauble with which to mesmerize the public eye.

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