I am no enemy of Democracy, but I’m having a hard time with the massive wiki-dump from WikiLeaks.
One thing I will grant WikiLeaks. If a journalist had to use the Freedom of Information Act to get all of 250,000 cables, it wouldn’t have happened. It would have come back super-redacted with so many blackouts it would read like an undone New York Times crossword.
Still, the sheer almagamation of stuff is mind boggling, as opposed to the little details which are kind of interesting, but not screaming front page headlines.
A deluge, however, is still a deluge.
Got to hand it to the New York Times, which has become the de facto Cliff’s Notes of the Wiki-dump. As a sub-sub-leaker, the paper leaked in true old-fashioned journalistic style. It went to the Obama administration and asked for more redactions, some of which it followed. But then it published it anyway because it didn’t want to be left out in the cold when WikiLeaks let everything out anyway. Hard to be a journalistic purist in the age of the net. It was the same kind of thing when the Times quoted the National Enquirer in salacious stories. Hard to be a prude when everything’s exposed.
Still, if the best headlines are what’s been in the Times so far (the Yemenis, China hacking Google, “Let’s make a deal” for Guantanamo prisoners, South Korea and the U.S. baffled over China, and Qadafi’s blonde nurse), I still don’t find anything as outrageous as the fact that some diplomats are getting personal info on foreign dignatiries.
In other words, the diplomats are working as spies which can be used for surveillance and data mining. That’s not supposed to happen. And if it is, then you wouldn’t want to expose our spies, now would you?
Some critics are calling for Hillary Clinton’s head over this. I’m not sure it’s at that level yet. But the leaks have shown that our diplomatic efforts are far less diplomatic than they appear.
Is that something to thank WikiLeaks for? I don’t think so. They just stripped our diplomatic force of their dignity making it harder to carry on and do the work they must do if we are to avoid the stupid wars we find ourselves currently involved in. That’s not worth the gossipy tidbits that seem to excite the foreign policy wonks.
Check out my other post at www.aaldef.org/blog