Conservative political and social commentary
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First they came for the communists,
but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists
and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they
came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they
came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.
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|The WikiLeaks Affair - Thursday, December 02, 2010
Baby, It’s Cold Inside
Candidate Obama announces that under his program, energy prices will “skyrocket.”
Hundreds stand in line during freezing weather to get federal aid to heat their homes.
And we should be surprised by the news that people have been reduced to asking for government aid to survive the winter because…Oh wait, we shouldn’t be surprised.
The WikiLeaks Affair:
Uncle Sam or Lemuel Gulliver?
David C. Stolinsky, MD
When I was young, I was luckier than today’s kids. Besides Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Superman, I read Classics Illustrated. Classics of literature were presented in comic-book form, so that children could learn to love them. One of the classics I read was “Gulliver’s Travels.” I still recall the image of Gulliver, tied down and immobilized by the tiny Lilliputians.
That image comes back to me whenever America lies supine, apparently helpless before the onslaught of those who are small − small in physical strength, and smaller still in moral strength. It’s coming back now, in vivid color. If you have a strong stomach, consider the WikiLeaks affair:
● We placed a vast number of diplomatic cables in a searchable archive. Surely 251,287 documents qualify as a vast number. We included sensitive messages detailing conversations with foreign leaders, conversations that the participants were led to believe would remain confidential.
● We forgot that the origin of the word “confidential” is the Latin con (with) plus fidere (to trust); that is, to trust one another. Breach of confidentiality is breach of trust. Trust takes years to build, but it can be destroyed in a day.
● We now realize that only a small fraction of the documents has yet been released, and the damage is already apparent. How much more damage will be done by further document dumps we can only imagine.
● We now know that about half of the documents were unclassified, 41% were “confidential,” 6% were “secret,” and of these 4,330 were “NOFORN” − that is, so sensitive that only U.S. nationals could see them. The documents covered nations across the globe.
● We made this archive available on the Internet, rather than searchable only at the State Department in Washington. If people − diplomats or not − wanted to search for a document they had not originated, they could do it from their offices anywhere in the world. The price of this convenience is now obvious. Convenience and security are often mutually exclusive. By our actions we reveal which we value more.
● We allowed access to this archive to low-level personnel − for example, Private First Class Bradley Manning, age 22. He is a dual British-American citizen, which should raise security concerns. He could access not only the documents he was assigned to work with, and not only the documents relating to the area of the world he was assigned, but also all the documents. Security? We don’t need no stinkin’ security!
● We allowed this man and others to bring rewritable CDs and DVDs, as well as memory sticks, into and out of their work stations. Apparently those in charge had not entered the computer age. These obvious holes are only now being plugged, or so we are told.
● We didn’t notice when this man sent the whole mess to WikiLeaks, a website notorious for splattering private information across the Internet.
● We were dismayed, but not surprised, to learn that the New York Times will publish the leaked documents. The Times’ motto is, “All the news that’s fit to print.” But it’s more like, “All the news that fits we print” − fits an anti-American agenda, that is. That their man is in the White House apparently is no deterrent to this agenda. How revealing.
A year ago, the Times refused to publish the climategate e-mails, which revealed that global warming has been exaggerated by fudging and cherry-picking data. Back then, as James Delingpole notes, the Times self-righteously proclaimed:
The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.
But now, the Times publishes secret diplomatic cables. Embarrass climate “scientists” who are promoting global-warming hysteria? Never. But embarrass the U.S. government during a war? No problem.
● We did nothing − or at least nothing but grumble − when WikiLeaks released secret information about our war in Afghanistan earlier this year. We forgot the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” We were warned but, like the Titanic, sailed full-speed ahead instead of altering course.
● We are doing nothing − or at least nothing but grumbling − even now. Attorney General Holder made the earth-shaking announcement that a criminal investigation has been opened. But he made the announcement at a press conference called not to discuss this dangerous breach of national security, but to boast about closing down websites offering pirated music or counterfeit watches and clothing. Talk about a sense of proportion.
Yes, this was the same Eric Holder who, as deputy to Janet Reno, played a key role in the cover-up of the Waco massacre, as well as in the Elian Gonzalez kidnapping. Eighty-four religious cultists − including 26 children who were by definition innocent hostages − were gassed and burned to death. A terrified five-year-old was seized at the point of submachine guns and returned to Castro’s Cuba. But the people at WikiLeaks go out to dinner and a movie, safe in the knowledge that we reserve our anger for religious cultists and five-year-olds. Eric Holder is a living example of the proverb, “He who is kind to the cruel will be cruel to the kind.” Talk about a sense of fairness.
The damage to our national security and prestige is bad enough. Why will foreign leaders talk to us frankly, when what they say may appear in the New York Times? Even worse, what will happen to foreign heads of government, military leaders and ordinary people who are helping us in our war on terrorism? What will happen when their names are revealed? Their usefulness will end − and quite possibly so will their lives. If this is how we repay our friends, we will have fewer friends.
Our troops are taught never to leave a comrade behind. But the lesson we are teaching the world is: Don’t do anything risky to help America. We’re likely to leave you out there alone and in danger. Our ability to keep secrets is a joke. But you won’t die laughing.
On second thought, the image of Gulliver tied down by the Lilliputians is not quite relevant. Gulliver went to sleep and woke up helpless. But the Obama administration is wide awake − at least physically − and still is being rendered helpless. Besides, Gulliver did not provide the Lilliputians with the cords to bind him. Can the administration say as much?
Lemuel Gulliver did not want to be helpless and did his best to free himself. Can Uncle Sam say as much?
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: email@example.com.