Monday, November 29, 2010

Some perspectives on the latest Wikileaks-induced hysteria

John Cole notes an added irony of the furor over this latest disclosure: "I have a hard time getting worked up about it - a government that views none of my personal correspondence as confidential really can’t bitch when this sort of thing happens." Note how quickly the "if-you've-done-nothing-wrong-then-you-have-nothing-to-hide" mentality disappears when it's their privacy and communications being invaded rather than yours.

I'd note an added irony: many of the same people who supported the invasion of Iraq and/or who support the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes and assassination programs -- on the ground that the massive civilians deaths which result are justifiable "collateral damage" -- are those objecting most vehemently to WikiLeaks' disclosure on the ground that it may lead to the death of innocent people. For them, the moral framework suddenly becomes that if an act causes the deaths of any innocent person, that is proof that it is not only unjustifiable but morally repellent regardless of what it achieves. How glaringly selective is their alleged belief in that moral framework.

The above from Glennzilla's latest post.

Also from him, via his Twitter feed:

John Kampfner | The Independent: "Wikileaks shows up our media for their docility at the feet of authority"

Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy Newspapers: "Officials may be overstating the danger from WikiLeaks"

Simon Jenkins | The Guardian: "US embassy cables: The job of the media is not to protect the powerful from embarrassment/It is for governments – not journalists – to guard public secrets, and there is no national jeopardy in WikiLeaks' revelations"



Substance McGravitas said...

If it causes Americans problems, OH WELL. It's not like Americans haven't been spreading their own problems around the world.

bjkeefe said...

I am inclined to think once the three-news-cycle hand-wringing and fauxtrage dies away, it could end up being a good thing, on balance. Kind of like a throw-your-cards-on-the-table fight with a friend, or how someone who's been acting like an idiot overhears others talking about him or her. Lot to be said for a little bluntness and honesty and doing away with old canards that no one in the know believes anymore.

Done right, the Obama Administration could even use this as part of a recommitment to openness and transparency in relating to other countries.

May just be my wishful thinking, but I'd like to think it's not a completely empty hope.