I love me some Wikileaks.
Julian Assange is a superhero. Or, actually, the hero of the most relevant thriller Robert Ludlum never wrote. I would buy him a beer and toast his health and hide him in my basement while Homeland Security agents menace me with buckets of Freedom Water.
Our government, like all governments, is made up of human beings, full of flaws and foibles. Additionally, like all governments, the sort of people who often fill its halls of power are people who seek not the betterment of the world, but power and money and self-aggrandizement. To trust them wholly, to not question, and to attack those who do, is to be an idiot.
(Which reminds me of my favorite quote of the week, from Keith Olbermann: “Calling an idiot an idiot is not personal – its almost mathematical.”)
People get all bent out of shape when “our side” gets pegged for doing the wrong thing. They think it harms us when “our” misdeeds are swept into the light for all to see. Actually, it harms us when those who represent us mis-do. Pointing it out gives us a chance to look at our mistakes and try to do better.
I know a woman who, back around the start of the Iraq invasion, used to drive around town with BUSH LIES!!! scrawled in white on the rear windshield of her car. Somewhere along the line, though, she apparently had some dark epiphany because she later went to work for a local free weekly newspaper of decided rightward slant, where she proceeded to pour her passion into defending the war, Bush, and ultimately the GOP in all its ways.
One column of hers railed against widespread reporting of criminal acts by American soldiers in Iraq. She demanded to know why journalists would report on that, rather than digging into the personal backgrounds of insurgent attackers and telling us about them.
The answer to that is that our soldiers represent us. They wear our flag on their sleeves. They carry weapons paid for by our tax dollars. We are responsible for their behavior.
We are not responsible for the acts of the terrorists who attack us.
If our soldiers do evil, we need to know about it so we can stop them, and make an example of them to show that if others act the same way there will be consequences, and show the world that we have honor and accountability.
Covering up such acts avoids embarrassment, but leaves the field fertile for further misdeeds.
We can’t rely upon the institutions in authority to be self-accountable. Look at the military’s lies regarding the death of Pat Tillman, or the capture of Jessica Lynch. Look at the cover-up of environmental health dangers to rescue workers at Ground Zero. Look at the Catholic Church’s global game of three card Monte (or, more appropriately, cups and balls) to hide and protect its many pedophiles.
The press is supposed to act as our immune system, but is too preoccupied these days with either providing partisan propaganda or letting us know which Kardashian has the (is the?) biggest ass.
Wikileaks is doing journalists’ jobs for them, and thereby serving us all. They are to be celebrated, encouraged, and, when possible, helped in their mission.