Sunday, November 28, 2010
The U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran on November 4, 1979, was the start of 444 days which came to define Jimmy Carter. The U.S. government was revealed to be powerless and the President weak. Those among us who were alive and conscious during those days have embedded the feelings of helplessness.
There have been many comparisons of Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter, focused on the economy. But the continuing leak of documents by Wikileaks has become for Obama what the Iranian hostage crisis was to Carter.
The Wikileaks folks trot the globe with impunity and funnel documents to the press at will, for the purpose of damaging U.S. relations with other countries, our war efforts, and our intelligence capability. And we do almost nothing about it.
Whether or not someone gets killed as a direct result of a Wikileaks disclosure, the damage to our country is deep, as allies and sources among enemies will stop cooperating with us for fear of exposure, our diplomats will be hesitant to speak frankly with headquarters, and our intelligence on al-Qaeda and others will be compromised.
We are the laughingstock of the world, an impotent superpower whose response to those who aid our enemies is to write a letter asking them not to do it. Yes, Harold Koh the State Department's chief lawyer, send a demand freakin' letter to Wikileaks. It went something like this (my paraphrase):
Please give us our stuff back because it was really mean of you to take it and give it to all your friends.
Here is the letter which should have been delivered months ago:
If you publish any more material we will hunt you down no matter the cost, and you either will be killed while resisting arrest or you will spend the rest of your lives in solitary confinement in a Supermax prison, where the highlight of your day will be 1 hour spent in a cage instead of your cell. Don't look up, that sound of propellers in the air is not a Predator drone.
Want to get a clue how clueless is the White House? Get this paragraph from the White House statement on the leak (emphasis mine):
President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal. By releasing stolen and classified documents, Wikileaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals. We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.
Oh yes, let's be sure to get in a pitch for "responsible, accountable, and open government."
Have we lost our minds? Wikileaks is about hurting us, bringing us down, damaging our relations with others, rendering us impotent. This is not about open government policy, as if Wikileaks went a bit too far on its class project.
Julian Assange should have been indicted by now, and if the law did not allow more punitive measures in this circumstance, then the law should have been changed after the first document dump. Assange is an enemy of our country and should be treated as such.
Instead, we're writing letters and lecturing on accountable and open government.
Stick a fork in Obama, he's Jimmy Carter.
\ˈlē-gəl\ \ˌin(t)-sə-ˈrek-shən\: "a rising up against established authority; rebellion; revolt" "in conformity with or permitted by law"