An American Girl in Washington

Traitorous traitors and the traitors who publish them

Posted in Politics- as I see it by AGinDC on 28 November 2010

As a blogger, tweeter, and ever more  reluctant Facebooker, it would be hypocritical of me to deride social media.  I love it.  I love the connectivity, the ability to see at an instant what people around the country and the world are thinking about the issues, the narcissistic hope that perhaps someone cares what I think, and anything with William Shatner.  But there are a lot of obvious problems with our newfound instant access to fame, fortune, and notoriety.  People who become celebrities for nothing but their tweets, for instance.  High school girls who don’t realize that their college admissions offices are viewing their half-naked Girls Gone Wild moments on Facebook.  But mostly, the expectation that everything should be public, that a desire for privacy or, dare I say it, secrecy, is not only not allowed but probably sinister, proof that something must be wrong, must be illegal.  We expect now that we should have an open book on absolutely everything that happens in the world, in the military, in government.  Some people won’t be satisfied until the government has held an online vote on the best battle strategies in Afghanistan, until every diplomatic and congressional negotiation is broadcast live on every cellphone, and until the politics and art of governance are replaced with the brutish and adolescent tactics of a half baked blogger with an iPad.

How is it that we’ve arrived at a point in our nation’s history when people are actually celebrating a man who revealed stolen national secrets?

There aren’t two ways of thinking about this.  If a United States soldier, a man who is entrusted with the safety and security of our nation and takes an oath to protect and defend, steals classified U.S. documents while pretending to listen to Lady Gaga (high school, anyone?) and releases them to the entire world, including and especially our enemies (and yes, we do have them, just ask Oregon), there is only one word for that: Treason.

And for any organization or outlet that aides or abets that crime, by, say, publishing said classified documents, rather than doing the responsible (if unprofitable) thing and reporting said traitor, then they become accomplices at best, traitors themselves at worst.  This isn’t Woodward and Bernstein revealing the truth about an illegal affair in the White House.  This isn’t journalism.  It’s tattling.

I am extremely liberal.  Super liberal.  I’ve been ranting and raving at TSA for days because I don’t want anyone touching my metaphorical junk (being a girl and all) either.  Besides being a clear invasion of my civil liberties or something, basically it’s just gross.  I believe more fervently than most in Open Government and citizen engagement, having chosen these as my future career paths.  But I also believe in safety.  In security.  In recognizing that, contrary to what Sarah Palin may think, there is a such thing as gray area.  In fact, politics and diplomacy are pretty much all gray area.  Americans don’t like nuance but the fact is, that’s what life is about.  Shit happens.  Things get said and done and negotiated and there are closed doors and smoky rooms and battles and tussles and bad blood.  It’s called politics.  It’s why some people like living in Washington and some don’t.  But it’s how the world is run because we’re all a bunch of human beings just trying to get along and sometimes that gets messy.

I would rather die than endanger any citizen of this nation, especially our troops and the men and women who put their asses on the line for us every day.  And yet someone has done just that, blatantly and by all accounts proudly, and our own news organizations are celebrating his treason rather than questioning the intelligence of his actions.

I’m not saying that we go back to the days when the media was little more than a protective cloak for the presidency, but there is a deep chasm between that and where we are now.  Edward R. Murrow was a journalist, not a traitor, and I think we may have forgotten the difference.  Selling military secrets is not an act of heroism, it is an act of cowardice and spite.  It is childish and wrong and any news outlet and member of society who can not understand the widely discernible difference between doing what is right and doing what is good for pageviews needs a refresher course.

Maybe they can find one in prison.


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