Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The United States of Hysteria

It's been entertaining to watch the Obama administration's reaction to the latest batch of Wikileaks material, predictable though it is. This irresponsible behavior will cost many lives! Wait, diplomats' lives? They aren't usually on the front lines of battle. But this lie, that the material Wikileaks has released has somehow led to the death of our accomplices and collaborators, plays so well in the corporate media that Obama and Clinton and others apparently decided to use it again.

As Daniel Ellsberg once said, "It is inexcusable to take what [government officials] say at face value. You are not talking to pathological liars, you are talking to professional liars who should be looked at as skeptically as used-car salesmen or Pfizer or Merck spokesmen" (Myra MacPherson, All governments lie: the life and times of rebel journalist I. F. Stone [Scribners, 2006], 456.) Wouldn't you think, though, that professional liars would do a better job of it?

Speaking of I. F. Stone, over at alicublog, Stone's granddaughter, who goes by the nom de Web of aimai, could only splutter in frustration in the comments to this post.
I am so large with not caring. Over at Balloon Juice all the usual left authoritarians are shrieking at the left anarchists that they are as bad as the righties and wikileaks is total nihilism. Meanwhile: all government's [sic] lie. Basically. As true now as when my g-father said it.
Sure, a dedicated Obama fan and Democratic loyalist doesn't care. I'm not convinced.

For a good summary of the huffing and puffing and bloooooow Wikileaks' house down that's been going on, see Glenn Greenwald's latest, which has links to several other articles, especially this FAIR blog post which shreds the New York Times' claim that the documents show that North Korea had sold missiles to Iran that "
could for the first time give Iran the capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe or easily reach Moscow." It turns out that this allegation was made in a meeting between American and Russian officials, and it seems to rest entirely on the word of the Americans, with no other evidence. Who wouldn't believe American officials warning about the apocalyptic peril of Iranian aggression? The Russians, for one. Me, for another.

My friend the ambivalent Obama supporter wrote on Facebook that "
if any of our intelligence assets ARE compromised someone should swing for this." I pointed out to him that so far, despite the government's claims, no one has been harmed by Wikileaks' activities. Is anyone going to swing for the vast bloodbath that the US has inflicted on Afghanistan and Iraq? The US helicopter crew who murdered unarmed Iraqis in 2007, revealed by Wikileaks earlier this year, not only didn't swing, they were exonerated by a military inquiry. Obama has ruled out any accountability for the Bush administration gangsters who tortured and murdered in violation of American and international law. But Wikileaks, who haven't killed anyone, they should swing.