Friday, October 22, 2010

WikiLeaks: Again, Still

It's in the news: WikiLeaks dumped another few hundred thousand classified documents into its website. I don't think it matters whether the usual newspapers and broadcast news studios re-publish parts of that set of information.

This is the Information Age, and even those folks who still read newspapers are generally able to go online themselves - or know someone who can.

Those 'classified' documents aren't secret any more.

WikiLeaks and the Real World

I've written about WikiLeaks before. (August 13, 2010) I think what they did earlier this year was wrong: Not because 'America can do no wrong,' but because America is trying to protect journalists, the WikiLeaks bunch, and the rest of us from religious crazies who are determined to kill anybody who won't do Islam their way.

And these WikiLeaks stunts don't make that job any easier.

A few American news outlets have mentioned the possibility that bad things will happen to folks in Iraq as a result of what WikiLeaks has done. That's likely enough. And, if Iraqis get killed because they helped free their country from Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda: I'm pretty sure it'll be blamed on America. And/or the Bush administration. Or western imperialism. Or maybe Mickey Mouse.

War is Not Nice

I've made the point before: War is not nice. Things get broken and people get killed. (February 15, 2010)

I think it would be nice if there was no more war.

I think it would also be nice if everybody everywhere would be nice.

That would be: nice.

Problem is, there are not-nice people in the world. Some of them have decided that their particular version of Islam is the only 'real' one - and that anybody who doesn't agree should be killed.

That's not nice.

It would be nice if Al Qaeda and all the rest would come to, say, the Berkeley campus; hug a tree; throw a Frisbee; chat with someone in the political science department about peaceful coexistence: and from that day forward do nothing more violent that carry a sign or burn a flag. An American flag, of course.

My guess is that burning something like a Saudi Arabian flag would be classified as 'hate speech.'

'Everybody Knows' What Those American Soldiers are Like

The word "torture" is already in the news, regarding these WikiLeak documents. I have no doubt that, somewhere in that mass of 400,000 or so docments, there's an account of a soldier doing something wrong.

I remember Abu Gahrib. The dirty picture. The abuse that didn't stop until the commander learned about it. And was being investigated by the time reporters got the story. (January 25, 2009)

That wasn't an Iraqi My Lai, and I rather doubt that there's one in this latest dump.

Motivation and Responsibility

I don't know why whoever's calling the shots at WikiLeaks is putting peoples' lives in danger. I could make some guesses:
  • Money
    • WikiLeaks is getting huge publicity from these data dumps
    • Traffic at the WikiLeaks website should increase
    • Some may now give money to WikiLeaks
  • Idealism
    • 'The people have a right to know!'
    • The vile fiends must be revealed - America's
      • Military
      • Government
      • Imperialism
      • Whatever
  • A desire for
    • Attention
    • Causing strife
    • Something Freudian
I don't know why WikiLeaks is putting the lives of Iraqi patriots on the line. If I had to guess, I'd say it's probably idealism. Whoever makes decisions for WikiLeaks may really believe that the outfit is doing the right thing.

Whatever the motive(s), what WikiLeaks has done doesn't surprise me. And I'm pretty sure if there's something unpleasant about an American soldier in those documents, it'll get full press coverage. It's the sort of clueless, irresponsible foolishness that I've come to expect from Western mainstream news media.

And that's another topic.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.