So far it appears that the release of reports on Afghanistan by WikiLeaks has no smoking guns and contains nothing which will harm U.S. national security or harm the troops. A comparison to the Pentagon Papers was inevitable, even if there are major differences here. The leaked papers do not demonstrate dishonesty on the part of either George Bush or Barack Obama regarding Afghanistan comparable to what was revealed about American leaders regarding Vietnam. The Obama administration might complain about the leaks (as we would expect any administration to) but we are not going to see the type of battle to suppress them which Richard Nixon engaged in over the Pentagon Papers.
This does not mean that the leaks will not have an effect. The publicity might still revive the debate over why we are in Afghanistan and whether it serves U.S. interests to remain. John Kerry, a leading critic of the Vietnam war (as well as an opponent of the Iraq war before it began, despite the attempt of 2004 primary opponents to distort his record), had this comment:
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement this evening in response to the New York Times story on the leak of classified documents concerning Afghanistan and Pakistan:
“However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.”
I doubt we will see open battle between the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Obama administration as there was been Democrats and the Nixon administration in the later days of the Vietnam war, although the committee might raise some uncomfortable questions for the administration. I suspect it is more likely that if Kerry turns against this war he might have some success in making Obama reconsider.