Official lines on Afghanistan have never quite meshed with what we've heard through various grapevines and reports from non-government sources. From government, we get a whole lot of spin and focus on flags, coffins, and apparent nobility of the conflict. We get very little of substance that allows the public a clearer picture of the conflict.
But now. Now we're learning a lot more about how the war's going that doesn't quite mesh with the political spin. There's a lot in these documents, much of which is definitely not for public or enemy consumption. Governments and some media are emphasising this as a violation of OPSEC, operation security, and could endanger lives. Fair enough.
However, the cat's out of the bag now and focus on that line of thought serves to deflect attention from the substance of the leaked material. There's nothing to be done about the massive security violation save for finding where the leak came from - which might prove a really interesting discovery in its own right. The issue now is about the contents and what that means for public perception and government spin.
If the substance of the leak counters the official line, then the public - we who ultimately fund and provide staff for the war - are being lied to. That's a whole separate issue from operational security. If the leak shows we're being lied to by politicians intent on maintaining our participation in an unsuccessful war and compels our withdrawal, then it's hard to see what could be better in the long term for troops' lives and democracy.
I'll have more to say later...