Friday, February 04, 2011

Agreeing to Disagree

Okay, I've been on a roll the last few days with the "universal translation" theme, but now it's time to get serious for a minute. Yes, my big, red, pontification button has been pressed by the unlikely combination of my old friend Vicki and political activist Naomi Wolf.

Yesterday, two things happened: Vicki posted a comment on her Facebook page that read in part, "I may take some heat from this, but Julien Assange has become my hero;" and I read this article by Naomi Wolf on the Project Syndicate website: A Press Without Principles. The combination of the two sent my blood pressure soaring.

First of all, I believe Julien Assange, the founder of the infamous WikiLeaks website, is a self-important, holier-than-thou buffoon whose reckless actions have caused incalculable damage to international diplomacy and placed many people in danger. Second, I took great issue with this statement by Naomi Wolf in her article: "Most American journalists fully understand that Assange did not illegally obtain classified material; the criminally liable party is whoever released the material to the site."

Excuse me? Perhaps Ms Wolf has never heard of anyone being charged with the offense of "receiving stolen property." But it really doesn't matter. The point of her article is not to point out that Mr Assange is indeed guilty of something besides being an egotistical ass clown - it is to vociferously castigate the journalistic community for not rushing to Mr Assange's defense...after all, she points out, many journalists make their names by obtaining and publishing stolen classified documents, and many senior officials in government expose classified information for their own purposes - generally without incurring the sort of consequences that the Real People working at lower levels of government and the military would face. Sadly, this is true.

In a perfect world, governments would have no secrets from each other, and a clown like Julien Assange would not need to front a site like WikiLeaks. Everyone would get along, summit meetings would begin and end with hugs and choruses of Kumbaya, and the lion would lie down with the lamb. Well, the real world doesn't work that way. The real world is led not, unfortunately, by Gandhis and Woodrow Wilsons (the first of Wilson's famous Fourteen Points was, you may recall, "Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.") ... it is led all too often by the Adolf Hitlers, Saddam Husseins, Mao Zedongs, and Hugo Chavezes - rulers who are not motivated by peaceful intentions and boundless love for their fellow man. Diplomats don't always have the luxury of being able to trust the motives and honor of their interlocutors, and their cables home - taken out of context - can make them look duplicitous rather than cautious and questioning.

In the real world, the lion may, in fact, lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won't get much sleep. And the Julien Assanges of the world aren't singing lullabies to help things along.

So...

I'm sorry, Vicki, but we have to agree to disagree on this one. Julien Assange isn't a hero in my book, but a brainless idealist whose damage to the international order may not be fully revealed and understood for years. He's a criminal...every bit as much as the individual who stole the material in the first place.

Both belong in jail.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

4 comments:

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Amen to that!

KathyA said...

HOW DARE SHE! I don't think I've read such convoluted reasoning in a very long time. She has only the first amendment to thank for her ability, without impunity, to spew her asinine rhetoric. She's a fool.

Mike said...

I'm not sure about your stance on this. Could you be more specific?

allenwoodhaven said...

I agree with Mike. Tell us how you really feel and don't hold back...

Actually, I agree with you on this one. A responsible press is vital and Assange doesn't come across that way to me. This was no Pentagon Papers; it was a self serving attempt at boosting wikileaks profile.

As for the comment that the criminally liable person is the one who leaked the info to the site, has she ever heard of the idea that two wrongs don't make a right?