The Wikileaks story has been one that has captured the minds and souls of mainstream media. And why wouldn’t it? It has deception, betrayal, anguish, anger- all with a tinge of “Didn’t we know this already?”.
Really, there is not much that wasn’t already known, even by a person like me that doesn’t have a “secret” clearance within the American military establishment: The Americans are embroiled in a war they don’t know really how to end (COIN and guerilla warfare doesn’t really allow for marching triumphantly through the streets) and the ISI have been playing all sides of the conflict and have been basically promoting hostility. All you had to do was, you know, actually pay attention to the news and know a teeny bit about the region.
So why are these documents important if they don’t really say anything new? Well, for one, its got the public riled up again about the war. By asking elected officials and the government what they mean to do about ending the war, there might be more expediency in the strategies to be crafted. It also brings to light the severity of the Pakistan problem. While some in Pakistan postulate that the leak is but one of the latest conspiracies cooked up by the American government to tarnish Pakistani credence, it shows to the ISI and the Pakistani government just how much the Americans distrust them, even giving rise to the idea that they might be next after Afghanistan. Basically, when the US does give money to Pakistan, the ISI funnels it into anti-American activity and when the US stops the money flow, anti-American sentiment rises on its own and the ISI taps into. Either way, the ISI win in this equation.
Accountable to none, the ISI wields power in Pakistan and seems to benefit only itself by feeding off the fear that is present in the state. By the ISI benefiting from the Afghan offensive, the true Pakistan continues to get weaker. And the trouble caused by invading Afghanistan will seem like small potatoes when compared to the possibility of Pakistani descending into anarchy.