Thursday, December 16, 2010

The wrong reaction to WikiLeaks

BY JASON C. DITZ, Antiwar.com, Dec  15, 2010

Jason C. Ditz is news editor at Antiwar.com, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of non-interventionism. He lives in Saginaw.

It has now been about two weeks since WikiLeaks began releasing its vast cache of State Department documents – and what a time it has been. I can easily say it was the busiest two weeks of my life, as I imagine was the case for anyone working in the coverage of foreign policy.

It has also, however, been a terrifying period domestically, as we learn the shameful way our government has behaved abroad and face not contrition but indignation. It is telling that our government’s officials are so comfortable in their crookedness that, when faced with conclusive evidence, they respond with condemnations of the leakers.

How can it have gotten to this point, that evidence of corruption in America’s ruling party can begin to emerge, and presidential hopefuls in the opposition feel the politically savvy thing to do is openly call for the executions of the people who made Americans aware of this fact? How can it be that a single senator can make a single threatening phone call and get a Web site removed?

Americans ought to be carefully watching not just the leaks, but the responses to the leaks, as this threatens to be the last shot at large doses of uncensored truth the American public is liable to see for quite some time.

It is difficult to downplay any aspect of these leaks as an emerging story. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs felt perfectly comfortable lying on the “Today” show about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s plans to steal credit card numbers from top UN officials. Overseas, Secretary Clinton was openly attempting to quash UN anger by expressing regret for having ordered the spying, but domestically the White House is able to overtly lie about the incident without fear of public criticism.

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