This is the first post-9/11 "war on terror"-era U.S. military counterinsurgency manual - the long-awaited doctrine meant in part to help turn the tide for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The counterinsurgency field manual's cover reads in part, "Distribution Restriction: Approved for Public Release; Distribution is unlimited."
Now you and everyone, including Al Qaeda terrorists and insurgents, can read the entire 282-page manual.
It's posted on multiple military Web sites.
While the manual doesn't contain classified secrets, it contains an astounding amount of seemingly sensitive military doctrine, with subject headings including:
-- INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE, AND RECONNAISSANCE OPERATIONS
-- HUMAN INTELLIGENCE AND OPERATIONAL REPORTING
-- COUNTERINTELLIGENCE AND COUNTERRECONNAISSANCE
-- INTELLIGENCE COLLABORATION
-- INTELLIGENCE CELLS AND WORKING GROUPS
-- PROTECTING SOURCES
-- EXECUTING COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS
Should such sensitive and detailed information be dished up to the U.S.'s enemies, especially via Pentagon Web sites?
In the manual's foreword, Lt. Generals David Petreaus and James Amos write in part, "With our Soldiers and Marines fighting insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is essential that we give them a manual that provides principles and guidelines for counterinsurgency operations."
How would a U.S. soldier or Marine now in Iraq or Afghanistan feel knowing the hot-off-the-presses counterinsurgency manual is available to the "bad guys" at the same time it is available to the "good guys"?
Granted, the Pentagon posts a lot on the Web, but it seems fair to ask whether this entire 282-page document (surely, there are additional classified components) should be made available to all.
Will the manual be of value to Al Qaeda terrorists, Iraqi insurgents, and the Taliban?
Would the U.S. think it had scored an intelligence coup if it got its hands on the insurgents' 282-page field manual?
How would the American people respond if asked in a poll whether the U.S. military's counterinsurgency manual should be shared with the insurgents?
Your IraqSlogger team will keep an eye out on terrorist and insurgent Web sites to see whether they provide links to Pentagon Web sites providing the counterinsurgency manual -- or whether they go so far as to translate the manual into Arabic and other languages.