Saturday, July 31, 2010
Ooopsie. Note to self before one opens one's mouth to pontificate on facts (as opposed to pontificating on one's own opinions, I guess) Google for a few minutes to make sure of those facts. Point in case: number of foreign troops in Afghanistan. It took me five minutes this morning to find out the answer. I think I should have done it before I went and commented at Lawyers, Guns and Money last night on one of a series of posts by one of the people there concerning Wikileaks 90,000+ document dump. She was opposed and busy attacking him because he (according to her and her unnamed sources and other people and their unnamed sources) put people in Afghanistan in mortal danger because with only some work the Taliban could find out who ratted them out and then exact retribution against them and their family. So the question she raised was should Assange be prosecuted. Of course, she thought he should be.
There then began a very heated thread which included the argument that he isn't a United States citizen, so we really had no legal grounds (as though that has stopped us in the past). The response was that other countries including Australia have troops there so they could prosecute him, since he is an Australian citizen. I then said they only have a few hundred. Which it turns out is obviously wrong (see above). Now the point was that in relation to the USofA they have few, and that is true (see above again), but my entire point is seriously weakened because I didn't bother to do the little research necessary to give the correct figures. Further, that they are there because we want them there and they are doing this mainly to give us cover and so in the end they don't really care, the governments I mean.
Which gets me to my main point. There seem to be five lines of attack on Wikileaks and this specific leak: First, it's old news nothing new here so move along, and besides that everybody already knows their major points; Second, it's unimportant (which may just be a corollary of the first); Third, it endangers our Afghan allies (since the documents stop at around the end of 2009 they can't really argue that it endangers our troops, although there seemed to be some attempt to do that early on, but that appears to have petered out); Fourth, that it isn't doing any good anyway; Fifth, Assange is a media hog and not very nice and ugly, too (I would have thought that was not a particularly compelling argument, but it does seem to be repeated quite a bit).
The third point seems to be the one that the poster is flogging at L,G & M. Perhaps I have been reading too many novels that have flash back sections to the Second World War, but Quisling was executed wasn't he? Not to confuse the Taliban with the freedom fighters of WWII, but when a person's country is invaded It is natural for him (in this case not her) to resist the invader and to consider those who support that invader a traitor deserving of the kind of punishment a traitor should receive. At any rate to reveal the truth which may lead to people getting killed because the truth was revealed, is in this line of argument something one must not do.
The fact that people are getting killed in a war that it appears that we can't win so we've got to stay there forever, does not seem to be something that people who make that kind of argument consider. So who is going to get killed: our minions or the various people we are killing right now (along with fewer of our minions). In passing I'd suggest that the only government that has provided a good deal of freedom to women in Afghanistan was the one the Soviet Union put in place and we helped to destroy with our allies who turned into (or in all probability were always) the Taliban.
In the end her position seems to come down to the belief my government is just right and there are certain things that I as a citizen should not know and therefore my government will prevent me from getting that information. Any one who reveals any of those government secrets can be accused of doing injury to out country or our allies or someone or thing and should be punished to teach us all that this must not be done. In a freedom loving way of course. This does not seem to be a particularly viable political theory for a real functioning democracy or representative republic. That may explain its use here and now.