To say the very least, Pfc. B. Manning’s alleged leaks have added to our knowledge of war and statecraft. The disclosures have fueled hundreds if not thousands of stories in the world’s major newspapers; they have stripped the spin and lies off the official versions of the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War; they have shined a light into the pseudo-legal prison camp of Guantánamo. The leaked diplomatic cables have provided a partial view of how the world’s greatest power conducts its affairs, and candid accounts of how many nations run themselves.
But what impact have these leaks had? Have they rolled back the invasion of Iraq or the “intervention” in Afghanistan? Have they led to the “worldwide discussion, debates, reforms” that B. Manning hoped for? Have they changed foreign policy? What role, for that matter, do leaks of death squads and free-fire zones ever play in ending wars and shaping statecraft?