The Camera is the New Gun, and Wikileaks is a Howitzer

Let’s be clear: The United States isn’t a protection agency; it is a criminal organization. Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute (“Wikileaks Must Be Stopped,” August 3rd) completely reversed the roles of good and evil in his in his analysis, but he accurately describes the danger that Wikileaks poses to the American state’s war policies and regime of opaque empire.

Thiessen worries that “Wikileaks is preparing to do more damage …. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told ABC News that Assange had a ‘moral culpability’ for the harm he has caused. Well, the Obama administration has a moral responsibility to stop him from wreaking even more damage.”

The US government doesn’t have a moral responsibility to stop Wikileaks. If it has any moral responsibility at all, that responsibility is to stop unnecessarily putting the lives of American soldiers and Afghan civilians at risk. Even if one concedes all of the most important questions about political authority, taxes, land claims, and the consent of the governed and skips straight to “The Morality of Protecting State Power at the Cost of Innocent Human Life,” Thiessen’s statement makes sense only in terms of internal consistency. The real-world context of this matter is that questions about the legitimacy of political authority are among the most vital concerns today.

Moral beliefs aside, if America’s rulers want to keep their shenanigans quasi-covert and marginally effective they’d better act soon. With more documents always en route, informants and their white hat colleagues are embarrassing and neutering corrupt military adventurism at its root. To those who support this flavor of insanity, the “criminal syndicate” Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are far more daunting a threat than any Islamist insurgent. The camera is the new gun, and Wikileaks is a howitzer.

The salient reason why governments around the world are able to get away with, well, murder, is that they are effectively able to not tell the truth! Governments typically don’t volunteer to be transparent. Their opposition to honesty is obviously not because disclosure will harm individual soldiers, despite all the current media hullabaloo. If you think the state cares about those who sign up to defend it go visit a Veterans Affairs hospital or any major urban area. Look down, and observe the shells of people they bring home from their wars.

Governments decry the release of this information not merely because it threatens their monopolistic provision of information and foreign boondoggles, but because it shows that courageous individuals can nullify the egregious crimes of government instead of just begging “their” congressmen to reconsider murdering people in far-away lands. When average people see what they’re being forced to pay for — an unsuccessful, destructive, and never-ending war — the peasants stop watching the pundits on TV and start looking around for the organ grinders.

“Wikileaks represents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States,” writes Thiessen. “If left unmolested, Assange will become even bolder and inspire others to imitate his example.” Let’s hope he is correct on this count.  We could use a few more howitzers.

Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory