Pundita and I had an email conversation this morning about the latest twist in the WikiLeaks scandal. Despite the leakers’ assurances that any material that would endanger specific individuals had been redacted, it turns out that hundreds of individuals Afghan informants are named in the leaked reports. The villages where they live are also included in some cases, which means an effective death sentence for those identified.
Pundita posted some of what she said in her emails, including this:
Just before going off air this AM Batchelor mentioned a report from today’s Times — I think he meant London Times. After two hours of reading through the docs, Times reporters found scores of names and precise locations of Afghan informants for NATO. Batchelor said that the WikiLeaks document dump is a “death list.”
Haven’t had the heart to look up the Times report but I imagine it’s splashed all over Google.
From an interview with Guardian editor on PBS Newshour Tues night, Assange was originally going to dump all the pages onto the internet without making any attempt at redactions. The Guardian editor talked him into letting Guardian and NYT help review the documents to try to redact them and then they brought in Spiegel. But they couldn’t cover any more than a fraction of the pages before the July 25 deadline he gave them.
If Assange released those papers as a human rights/anti-war protest it has seriously backfired. And I can only imagine the scandal for the journalism profession.
Also, see PBS NewsHour transcript for Tues for a good summary of how Obama is now trying to spin the WikiLeaks situation. He’s sticking to his original story that there was no real news in the leaks and that the new war policy for Afghanistan he worked out late last year addresses all the issues raised in the leaked documents.
I don’t think the leftist press will ever be held accountable for risking people’s lives by leaking classified material. The words “sedition” and “treason” no longer exist in our legal vocabulary. The fact that their irresponsible actions may well cost people their lives is of little concern to progressive journalists, as long as those deaths serve the larger cause of damaging Republicans, conservatives, and the American military. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.
Another point that came up in our discussions was the incompetence and ineptitude of the Obama administration — which was highlighted by this incident, as it has been by so many others. A common right-wing meme is that the hard-left handlers behind Obama (if not Obama himself) are evil geniuses who are orchestrating our destruction with perfect timing and precision. But I don’t buy that. I’ve been watching and analyzing their decisions carefully, and they are incoherent, inept, and just plain stupid — if they intend our destruction, they are making major mistakes at every step.
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An example of the Messiah’s incompetence may be found in his recent treatment of various European leaders. Obama needs the European apparatchiks to help him implement his Full Socialist program, yet he has alienated them at every possible turn. Weighed in the pragmatic balance, this is a very stupid move. Either Obama has slipped the leash, forgotten his lines, and just says these disdainful and contemptuous things — which is quite possible — or his handlers scripted them, which was a foolish thing to do. Either way, it shows the inept and amateurish nature of the O-crowd. It’s evidence that there is no great evil intelligence behind this administration. They’re simply winging it.
A true Machiavel always keeps his political ends — whatever they might be — in mind. He will weigh every action carefully and shrewdly, balance the positive consequences against the negative consequences, judge the likely outcome, and act according to his best interests.
All the evidence indicates that Obama and his entourage are not doing this at all. They are either stupid, ignorant, inexperienced, or overconfident, or some combination of the above.
Obviously, they have enough power to destroy much of America’s prosperity and political capital. But they lack the savvy to implement their own agenda.