On the Pentagon Papers comparison, Amy Davidson offers this at thenewyorker.com:

This stash will be compared to the Pentagon Papers, and in some ways that’s right—WikiLeaks, like Daniel Ellsberg, has been accused of ignoring the national interest. (An unfair charge, unless by “national interest” one means the political interests of a particular Administration.) But the Pentagon Papers were a synthetic analysis, a history of the war in Vietnam. WikiLeaks has given us research materials for a history of the war in Afghanistan. To make full use of them, we will, again, have to think hard about what we are trying to learn: Is it what we are doing, day to day, on the ground in Afghanistan, and how we could do it better? Or what we are doing in Afghanistan at all?

Finally, speaking of the New Yorker, Steve Clemons at TPM Café reacts to it all by calling for more Seymour Hersh. Clemons:

One of the best investigative journalists who has been reporting on America’s wars is Seymour Hersh. Hersh has been ahead of the pack — revealing hard-to-believe atrocities far before the political marketplace was often ready or willing to accept his reporting.


The extraordinary posting on WikiLeaks of more than 92,000 classified documents on America’s military activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan confirms Hersh’s claims of battlefield executions and death squads.

The New Yorker’s key commentators on Afghanistan have been Steve Coll, George Packer, Hendrick Hertzberg, and editor David Remnick.

I am a big fan of all of these brilliant writers. However, although these generalizations may be unfair to them and may overstate, Remnick, Coll, and Packer have been mostly in the camp of supporting the administration’s general course in Afghanistan and Pakistan — though there are exceptions in the portfolios of each…

Given what has just been released in this disturbing dump of classified documents, we hope that The New Yorker removes any constraints — real or nuanced — on Hersh and gets him back out in the field on this stuff soon.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.