New “Pentagon Papers” Describe the Insanity of the Afghan War

EDITORIAL: Time To Pull Out

About 75,000 documents describing a war without a purpose in Afghanistan have been “liberated” from military computers with another 15,000 to come.

The documents describe, among other things, U.S. soldiers randomly shooting Afghan civilians and Pakistan officials funneling U.S. funds to the Taliban. About 180 documents say the U.S. military believes Pakistan’s spy agency, ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), has given support and guidance to the Taliban.

The documents appeared on the website WikiLeaks, which protects the source of submitted material. However, the U.S. Army has arrested Army Specialist Bradley Manning, who apparently tapped into the military’s computers and copied the material on CDs.

The original Pentagon Papers exposing the war in Vietnam were made public by Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo. U.S. Senator Mike Gravel entered 4,100 pages into the Congressional Record, which insured they would be public documents. Then President Richard Nixon authorized a break-in of the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. This revelation contributed to Nixon’s downfall.

Our own Representative Jane Harman took a dim view of the public learning the real story of the war in Afghanistan saying, “Someone inadvertently or on purpose gave the Taliban its new ‘enemies’ list.” But the real danger, as she must know, is that the whole military adventure has been exposed. Harman also voted, July 27, to send more troops to Afghanistan.

One item that will not be found in the 90,000 documents is a justification for the war and resulting deaths and destruction (1,209 U.S. deaths and at least 20 times as many Afghan civilians). It is time for the U.S. to immediately withdraw from this quagmire. It is a meaningless war, as were those in Vietnam, Panama, Grenada and Iraq. It was unnecessary from the beginning.

The Taliban were never accused of being involved in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. In fact, according to CBS News, the Taliban told the U.S. that they would turn over Bin Laden if it would provide evidence linking him to the attack. Had the Bush administration complied, there would have been no invasion or subsequent war in Afghanistan, which is now the longest in this nation’s history.

An immediate U.S. pullout would be a threat to the government of Hamid Karzai, a former Union Oil executive, whose regime, on a good day, controls the capital and outskirts of Kabul. However, the United States has no right or business in deciding who the Afghans have in their government. It is almost a cliché to say that the U.S. cannot be the world’s policeman.

The U.S. should also end the occupation of Iraq for the same reasons. It should withdraw troops from around the world, including Columbia, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and other bases.

The billions of dollars used on these military adventures could be better spent reviving the economy here at home.

We owe Brandon Manning and WikiLeaks a debt of gratitude for reminding us once again of the futility of war.

–The Beachhead Collective