Chris, you’re a great orator/writer. But judicial lynching?! Really?! Chris – this horseshit about Bradley Manning has to stop. I get it. You’re mounted on your white horse and you’re riding for truth, justice and … some sort of way – but in a hobby-horse fantasy world. (I’ll clarify, read on.) Yes, you’re a professional gadfly. Yes, gadflies are necessary, and damn, I really, really like that you say what you mean and mean what you say. But Chris, my man – you are not thinking this thing through! Usually, you do.
There is, perhaps, some degree of defensibility to the release of those videos. You and everyone else concentrates on that – giving short shrift to the diplomatic cables. Releasing those videos is not something I would do though I can wrap my mind around the logic. If that was it? I doubt Manning would be going to prison for what is likely to be the rest of his life. But tell me, Chris, if we forget for a moment about the cables – does what is shown there rise to the level of My Lai? Not on your life. Does it rise to the level of Robert Bales? (Which the military prosecuted – give them credit where it’s due please.) Not in my opinion, but I agree that it’s definitely arguable.
Yes, I know that Daniel Ellsberg has come down heavy on Bradley’s side. But Daniel Ellsberg, John Kiriakou, Thomas Drake, Sibel Edmonds all went through channels first – in fact Kiriakou was the official channel at one point. ( Mark Felt (I knew his family BTW), AKA ‘Deep Throat’ is an unknown with respect to whether he attempted going through channels.) All of them were specific about their release of information – focused, limited. Except for Mark Felt, each went to court, or faced the music in some way. And Mark Felt didn’t blow the doors off the FBI by plastering every active case file around the world now, did he?
So now let’s talk about those diplomatic cables. I already cut loose about the gross political fallout (murder, mayhem, and revolution – with outcomes pretty much entirely against the interests of the USA and US citizens – leaving aside the outcomes for the citizens of those nations) of those cables. But that’s not the worst of it! Not by a long shot!
Releasing all those confidential diplomatic cables to the world – you (and Julian “Snowcrash” Assange) think this is just hunky – a reason to celebrate – a cause for jubilation. Transparency in government sez y’all. Oh, Bradley nailed Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State. Yessiree, he sure did.
So, that means that you think that heads of government and diplomats should not be allowed to speak freely to each other. “Not so!” I can just about hear you begin to reply, “We think governments should operate in the open.” To which I say, “Oh, fuck off Mr. Hedges! I know goddamn well you are not so naive as to think that all nations in the world are sweetie-pie democracies, and that’s what the world would have to be made from.” Chris, you don’t even think the leading democracies of the world are sweetie-pies. You know goddamn well that many governments operate by murder, death squad and playing off tribes against each other so that “Dear Leader” may survive and rule. Both you and Julian know that!
Do you begin to get the huge flaw in your thinking Chris dear? (You too Julian. Try to think it through honeybunch.) Because what both you and Julian are saying is that you don’t think there should be any confidentiality between governments! I can hear it already, “But, but, …”
(Yes, Julian. I know your story well enough. You were fucked by a nutjob. You got fucked by bureaucrats and you and your mom had to run. And you are quite right that exposing that shit was the right thing. That crap happens in child protection services and family law courts. Particularly the former are underfunded, sometimes corrupt, and manned by people who are doing a thankless, gut wrenching task, running on overload – and that’s in the world’s leading democracies. Trust me, I understand. An in-law of mine retired from the police and had a case load of 600 kids! He tried so hard, and dear god it was tough. But he had been one of those kids once, so he kept at it.)
So, if ripping the privacy away from diplomacy is a cause for celebration? Then, Mr. Hedges (and Mr. Assange) I presume that you also would support the release of everyone’s medical records to the world? And I presume that you would support me if I give special billing those that record venereal disease? The USSR used to do that – shaming was thought to slow other folks down from fucking around. Did it work. Nope. 
Oh, you say? That’s confidential? If patients can’t trust that their medical records won’t be protected, then they won’t feel they can be frank with their doctors. Kids will get HIV and die. People won’t tell about symptoms and die, become disabled, all that. Hypocritical families will do nasty shit.
No shit. And yet, you seem to think that when dealing with governments around the world, that both sides of those conversations are not deserving of the same level of protection?
Oh, that’s different? Those are private individuals, not governments? Governments are big, bad and make war – I know what you think.
Yep. Governments are generally sizeable. Governments make war – in a variety of ways. Some governments are bad, even horrific. Millions of people have died from war in the last 100 years. (But less than the numbers who died from disease in the 20th Century – that’s too long a digression to cover here.)
So ok – I agree with a lot of your position. But fellas – diplomacy is the primary way that governments stop the deaths of millions from happening. Diplomacy includes threats, payoffs, cajoling, and secret deals – yes, secrets. Do you honestly think that shitheads like Ghaddafi, Foday Sankoh, Robert Mugabe, Pol Pot, or Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor or Prince Johnson operate on the up-and-up? Dude, Sam got tortured by his successor, Mr. Johnson, who may have made him eat his own ear. Taylor is said to have eaten a rival’s liver. (And yes, there, with Taylor, once again, is the hand of Ghaddafi, the same cat who trained Foday Sankoh.) No, guys, I don’t believe that. But your position requires that I think so.
Similarly, your position implies that you believe that benign leaders like Vladimir Putin of Russia, Li Kekiang of China, or Asif Zardari of Pakistan, can or will announce to the world what they really think, when they have enemies inside and outside their borders. In Russia’s case, there is a big player on the world stage eyeing Russia’s resources and lebensraum. (Ten brownie points if you can guess which nation that is.) Guys, I know you aren’t stupid. Delusional maybe. Wrapped up in your cocoon of righteousness perhaps. But not stupid. You just aren’t connecting the dots.
So here’s the bottom line – your position on the diplomatic cables means that you think that no government should be allowed to talk honestly with any other government.
And that puts you two squarely on the bullseye. Because that means that you believe that governments should not be allowed to prevent war!
Grow the hell up. You are living in a fantasy world that contradicts itself.
That, gentlemen, is why Bradley Manning is not a whistleblower.
1. Yes, I know that you could claim that my representation of you is, a straw man. But I think I’m pretty accurate, and that means it isn’t. Please, feel free to answer me in your own words. I’m fine with having a correspondence here about it.
2. I was in Russia post-breakup and got some highly confidential data on VD in a city off in the hinterlands. But that’s a digression. It was eye-popping.