No telling how many heads have rolled in the Pentagon to this point (rounding up the usual suspect?) but as to the purpose there seems to be several possibilities, although Wikileaker One has no doubts:
SPIEGEL: Do you think that the publication of this data will influence political decision-makers?And there you go. My suspicion is that this leak combined with the WaPo expose on security contractors (penned by an anti-war zealot and Bush era leak correspondent) are both designed to help provide the foundation for leaving all the war zones. The bigger question is whether the administration agrees; during questions on this today Robert Gibbs didn't really provide an air of outrage.
Assange: Yes. This material shines light on the everyday brutality and squalor of war. The archive will change public opinion and it will change the opinion of people in positions of political and diplomatic influence.
SPIEGEL: Aren't you expecting a little too much?
Assange: There is a mood to end the war in Afghanistan. This information won't do it alone, but it will shift political will in a significant manner.
But the president is living in another self-imposed box right now. He was once so hawkish on getting bin Laden et al he vowed to bomb Pakistan without permission, now the leaks have shown that Pakistan is largely playing both sides, including helping AQ. Just the other day Hillary commented that someone in the ISI must surely know where bin Laden is, so shall the bombing commence? If the point of this leak was to set up a negotiated withdrawal scenario it seems politically short-sighted.
Nevertheless, in this story about Mullah Baradar (remember him--the number two Talibani caught before the surge to great fanfare who's since disappeared) there was this:
The New York Times said he had shed light on the workings of the Afghan Taliban that could help with a possible negotiated settlement to end the war...so there's a conventional wisdom that something has been in the works. Since the Wikileaks material seems to be mainly focused on the Bush years it's possible the international left is setting up kind of a journolist-coordinated plan to help the decision-makers decide that the Bush Af-Pak FUBAR was too FUBARed to continue. There's only so much money to spend after all, no way this administration ever takes full blame for leaving.