A question about Wikileaks was posed by my best and closest friend in this life who nominally follows such things. My dear friend queried, “I need you to explain to me who Wikileaks is, and why they would release sensitve documents that could compromise national security. In layman’s terms please.”
In answering, care was taken to avoid punching the screen or writing in flames. My opinion of Wikileaks, Julian Assange and those who support them and feed them classified material marginally meets NC-17 standards at best. Likewise, care was also taken to avoid technical military- or intelligence-speak. Layman’s terms it was.
And in the end, it must be acknowledged that ones view of Wikileaks is less reflective of Wikileaks or Julian Assange and exponentially more reflective of ones views of America herself. This is a truth that cannot be avoided in honest, quiet, personal reflection.
Below, my quickly hammered out response in answer to the question, “Who is Wikileaks.” Best understood by first pondering, “Who is America?”
Wikileaks is a small cabal of people who, in their own site description, “Publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct.”
In reality, what they are is a like-minded gathering of hardcore Leftists who see their greatest enemies and threats as the American military and intelligence coupled with free market capitalism.
For instance, when they say they expose documents on “government abuse,” what they mean — almost exclusively in practice — is that they fish for folks to send them secret operational documents potentially damaging to the US military and intelligence. They create entire waves of news cycles. The intent is to damage military ops in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The reality is that they get people killed. Names of Afghans and Iraqis who have cooperated with us have been exposed publicly — and they have been snuffed out by al-Qaeda and other like-minded enemies. Usually quite gruesomely.
When they say they expose leaked documents on “corporate misconduct,” what they mean is that they do so for documents that are seen to be damaging to the concept of free-market capitalism — the basis of our economy — for the purposes of presenting central governmental control of the economy, redistribution of wealth, and fomenting class warfare. They see themselves in this sense as some modern version of Robin Hood.
Notice that they do not seek or publish secret documents about or from within, say, the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program or its slaughter of its own citizens in the streets — especially since last year. No, that’s because the enemy, for them, is America. America and its free market economy is the real enemy — of mankind.
Imagine a small cabal doing this during World War II. How long would they be doing this damage? Why is it different now? Because we are more enlightened? Because in 1942, our patriotism was rote, recited and robotic without thinking?
In order to understand what you really think of Wikileaks, you have to ask yourself one simple question:
Do I think the United States is what’s wrong with the world? Does our economic system make people poor? Are our companies evil, greedy abusers? Is our military ruthless and murderous?
If you think yes, then you agree with the Wikileaks folks and their supporters, and probably see them as courageous information warriors fighting a righteous fight against a deadly, greedy machine and for the little people.
If you think no, then you disagree with them and their supporters, and probably see them as traitorous saboteurs who get American troops and their foreign cooperators and intelligence sources killed.
You have to decide, and it has little to do with Wikileaks and everything to do with what you think of America, for all her imperfections. There is no middle ground on this one.
Steve Schippert is a National Security analyst, writer and commentator and co-founder of ThreatsWatch.org and the Center for Threat Awareness, a 501(c)3 non-profit. He has been published by the Washington Times, National Review, The Weekly Standard and others. Steve has been a frequent guest on national and local radio shows and has also guest hosted.
UPDATE: Bookworm here, suggesting you might find interesting a related post I did about the New York Times‘ approach to the WikiLeak documents.