Hanson: "We are engaged in a great experiment to see whether the U.S. military can still persist in a conflict when it knows that any and all of its private communications can become public — and will be selectively aired and hyped by people with a preconceived bias against it. Had the public known in real time from periodic media leaks about operational disasters surrounding the planning for the D-Day landings, intelligence failures at the Bulge or Okinawa, or G.I. treatment of some German and Japanese prisoners, the story of World War II might have been somewhat different."
Perhaps, but the release of the the Afghanistan and Iraq documents by Wikileaks has been done in something less than real time. Is there a D-Day operation that has been compromised by the leaks? Not that's been publicly demonstrated, at least. Learning about things years later is not the same as "real time."
And the United States at least had a clearly defined mission in World War II. We knew who we were fighting, what a victory would mean and what a loss would mean. We're nearly a decade post-9/11, having meandered through a pair of quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, the only thing we really know is that we're supposed to keep fighting. The Wikileaks documents bring some clarity, at least, to the question of the results of that fighting.