As the new American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, tries to reverse the lagging war effort, the documents sketch a war hamstrung by an Afghan government, police force and army of questionable loyalty and competence, and by a Pakistani military that appears at best uncooperative and at worst to work from the shadows as an unspoken ally of the very insurgent forces the American-led coalition is trying to defeat.
Let's take that piece-by-piece. The war, the Times says, is hamstrung by...
* The Afghan government. We knew that.
* The Afghan police force. We knew that.
* The Afghan army "of questionable loyalty and competence." We knew that.
* And a Pakistani military that might be an "unspoken ally" of the anti-American insurgent forces. We knew that.
Again, these are initial impressions, but at first glance the "revelations" seem mostly marginal. The mass of documents -- along with the showy way they came to light -- might refocus the public's attention into asking a good question: Why the hell are we still there? The Obama Administration's blustery response -- along with other notable problems in the war effort -- aren't doing much to engender confidence in staying the course.