Monday, November 29, 2010
The Woods and WikiLeaks
Gun season for deer came in today, and, due to the combination of my finances and those adorable children of mine, I'm not sitting on the side of a hill shivering my ass off, a thermos of coffee and some hand warmers the only sources of heat other than the filtered and weak sunlight of the morning. But as I stepped out this morning, the cold but clear air didn't feel all that cold (despite the fact it was around freezing).
I was watching for deer and deer hunters as I ran to drop the youngest off to the babysitter. I saw a vehicle or two sitting out where a hunter would put it. But that was all. However, even as I drove on, the realization that a primal struggle was begun all over the state of Ohio filled me with both a sense of excitement and loss (primarily my own). Because one constant in hunting is that it's simple, it's clear, and it is very final. In other words, the opposite of the tangle that is our politics and our government.
Which brings me to the Wikileaks mess:
Now what I'm going to say, except where I note specifics, is decidedly non-partisan, as this affects whoever is in control of the White House or Congress. It's specifically about the good and the bad of the government secret machinery.
Now first of all, there are two things I like that the threat to government a site like Wikileaks provides: forcing transparency and the revelation of corruption. For the most part, any government prefers to not have to be held accountable for its actions and statements. Especially when being held accountable would mean losing their position. This is human nature to seek self-preservation. But when you grow a government, you begin to grow its secrets. And keeping everything secret is not a good thing.
One failing we all possess is that, depending on our own morality, we tend to be willing to get away with not doing the right thing when we're not held accountable, whether it may be something as innocuous as discovering you didn't pay for a can of beans at the grocery store and not going back to correct it, or kidnapping, raping killing, raping, and eating children, then violating the leftovers. And politicians are often less lovable than murderous cannibalistic pedophiles (yeah, I might be exaggerating). So the idea of having someone holding the politicians accountable if they're trying to hide shit.
However, we get to the bad and that's where the Wikileaks people cross the line.
The fact is that our government keeps some secrets from the rest of the world because some things in the wrong hands would be hella-bad, and that means keeping them from us as a consequence. Whether that be truly dangerous security shit, like cool uber-bombs of oblivion (you know, the kinds that kill people twice), to military secrets that could risk our troops in the field, to bits of information that our enemies (Islamic terrorists) will use as concrete examples as to why the great infidel the United States must be scrubbed from existence by the fiery truth of Islam (and in exchange for copious afterlife pussy (hmmmmm.... (really, kidding))).
The fact is that sometimes, controlling information is what keeps us safe. Sometimes it separates a victory from a defeat. Sometimes it's key to discovering what the enemy is up to before they even attack (and we end up getting groped or scanned even more by the TSA-holes). And in any case, there's been plenty of precedent where controlling the information at times of importance (as in wars against Islamic terror just as a wholly random example) can be the key to defeating an enemy.
This is probably why both Republicans and the White House are taking aim. Now, whether this is bipartisan recognition of a threat to national security by informational terrorism, or a reaction of the establishment against a crazed whisleblower that's also taken aim at oppressive regimes around the world, I can't say for certain. I will say that anything that gets such bipartisan support (especially from the hardcore is either really good or unfailingly bad. In this case, though, I defer to the fact that organizations I trust see the danger in releasing anything that the Wiki-freaks can get their grubby mitts on.
To be honest, throughout our history of wars and peace, we've justifiably shot people for less.
Scribed by Patrick M at 10:15 PM