Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Why I don't really have anything to say about Wikileaks--
I was shocked this past, non-blogging week by two stories that strike me as being somewhat interconnected:
Few Afghans Knew of 9/11, Reason for War
US general McChrystal approved peace talks with fake Taliban leader
These stories were gathered the conventional way, came out before the latest info-dump, and strike me as probably about as disturbing as anything we're going to find in the whole damn pile.
Look at these two stories as matching bookends--two pieces that sum up all we ever need to know about asymmetrical warfare. There are parts of the world with no access to the kinds of information we take for granted. The rural Afghanis don't have cable. They don't have tv's. One of the main problems with the government over there forming a functioning police organization is the widespread illiteracy--so let's forget about newspapers. What they know about us is what we do there. On the other hand, we in the West have a high level of technology, literacy, and means for gathering intelligence. So we were hoodwinked in a very low-tech way.
So as far as more information being circulated by Julian Assange and crew--hell, I'm kind of in favor of information being out there, actually. Is there potential for embarrassment?
Yeah, but when the conventional news about what's going on (Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, military tribunals, the utter lack of an active WMD program in Iraq and the lack of connections between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, for some good examples) is often pretty embarrassing, well--so what?
So when I hear people like Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee suggest that Assange should be whacked for putting this all out there, I'm kind of mystified. That won't put the toothpaste back in the tube, after all. And I'm not actually persuaded that it would dissuade anyone from following his example, just on the principle that information wants to be free or there's too much secrecy in foreign policy, or just because they can.
But that's pretty much all I've got on it.