This weekend we got another fat load of WikiLeaks,
based on purloined diplomatic cables to and from the U.S. State
Department. As happened when Julian Assange's muckraking endeavor leaked U.S. military data from Iraq
earlier this year, conservatives are outraged, and some call, as
before, for the expeditious arrest of Assange, or fantasize about his
Rightbloggers generally take a two-pronged approach to the leaks: They
believe the new document dump is an unpardonable breach of U.S. security
-- except to the extent that it may be used to denigrate the Obama
Administration, it which case they feel it deserves wider dissemination.
It's not as if rightbloggers have been alone in denouncing Wikileaks, as mainstream media outlets from the New York Times on down have attacked Assange from all directions -- while sopping up his revelations on the basis of their newsworthiness.
But that is an old, time-honored form of journalistic hypocrisy: Using
hot news to draw readers with one hand, and tut-tutting its shameful
provenance with the other. Rightbloggers have added a few new wrinkles
to the game.
Back when Assange leaked the Iraq War data, for example, they dismissed the revelations of bad behavior by our Iraqi allies
("they appear to illustrate the inherent -- and forseeable -- problems
with the nation-building strategy we pursued in Iraq and are still
pursuing in Afghanistan," soothed The American Spectator), and cheerfully plucked the bits that supported their own interests.
The documents suggested to them that a previous, speculative accounting by The Lancet had overestimated real Iraqi casualties of the war, and that the discovery of some old chemical weapons proved that Saddam had WMDs after all. Counter-arguments could be made that The Lancet
was measuring different kinds of casualties than the leaked documents
addressed, and that the discovered chemical weapons did not constitute a
real threat to the United States ("Later investigation revealed those contents to be vitamins"). But for rightbloggers the message was clear: "... the two biggest scoops from the latest document dump are that the infamous Lancet study was bogus, and that WMDs were found in Iraq in quantity."
They apparently thought Assange had made these revelations by accident
or out of self-sabotage, as he was of the "Left" and thus was leaking on
his own cause. "I delight in the unintended consequence Assange's
revelations has produced," said Melanie Morgan. "It seems to be the Left contradicting itself in the propaganda arena," said Right Pundits. "The WikiLeaksters seem to have inadvertently done history a bit of a favor in the their obsession," said NewsBusters, in dispelling "leftist folklore."
None of this altered their feeling that by leaking this info Assange was aiding the enemy, and possible guilty of murder.
"Gosh, isn't it nice that the enemy will be able to identify Iraqis who
died by name and whose side they were fighting on, so they can go after
their families, either to kill them or recruit them, depending on the
National Review's Jonah Goldberg
Look at this fucking hipster.
asked, "Why wasn't Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?"
Goldberg asserted that the leaks were "going to get people killed,
including brave Iraqis and Afghans who've risked their lives and the
lives of their families to help us." Nonetheless, he lamented, "Even if
the CIA wanted to take him out, they couldn't without massive
controversy. That's because assassinating a hipster Australian Web guru
as opposed to a Muslim terrorist is the kind of controversy no official
(Goldberg tried to hop out
of his own overheated logic train at the end -- "Ultimately, I don't
expect the U.S. government to kill Assange, but I do expect them to try
to stop him" -- and complained, when called out on his homicidal
fantasy, that "there's nothing in the quote at Balloon Juice to justify
the claim I call for [Assange's] murder." To shore up his position, he challenged a writer at Gawker to a fistfight.)
Last weekend the diplomatic leaks was released, and with them came the
usual calls for Assange's death and/or detention. "Julian Assange, Why
is He Still Breathing?" asked Paladin's Page. "Assange should be looking at the inside of a container on a ship doing lazy racetracks around the Indian Ocean," said Blackfive. "I won't think twice if Julian Assange meets the cold blade of an assassin," said Donald Douglas. Etc.
The Obama Administration denounced
the leaks but, having not the stones to send a cold-bladed assassin to
preempt Assange, failed to prevent them, which rightbloggers declared
proof of the Kenyan Pretender's malfeasance or worse.
"WikiLeaks About To Leak Again and The Obama Administration Is Limp," wrote Chandler's Watch,
further claiming that the White House "responds to the WikiLeaks bunch
with cookies and milk" and suggesting its "possible complicity in this
was outraged that the State Department sent Assange and his lawyer a
"nice, sincere letter" (telling them, in part, that Assange had
"endangered the lives of countless individuals") instead of a bomb. (It
seems not to have occurred to them that the denial of service attack Wikileaks suffered
might be government-generated.) Weasel Zippers also complained that
"thanks to the NY Times, The Guardian and three other lamestream media
publications -- portions of the classified material are being published
anyways," before disseminating more of the leaked information itself.
The State Department letter was sent under the signature of legal adviser Harold Koh, which Ed Morrissey
thought might be "an attempt by the Obama administration to trade on
Koh's leftist credibility in rallying U.S. public opinion against
Wikileaks... Having him publicly warn Wikileaks about the damage they're
doing to U.S. interests might temper progressive enthusiasm for Assange
from three cheers to, say, one."
That Left -- always playing both ends against the middle! Which may be
why Morrissey was moved to wonder, "What's the 'anti-war' motive,
though, in releasing a few hundred thousand diplomatic cables?
Progressives are forever telling us that we need to rely less on Defense
and more on State, and yet it sounds like today's leak will do much
greater damage to the latter than the previous leaks did to the former."
Sounds like someone got his signals crossed. (Moe Lane
of RedState concurred: "The Left should keep this in mind when trying
in the future to boost State at Defense's expense: Assange just made
that harder for you." But isn't Lane aiding the Left by giving them this valuable advice? Wheels within wheels, people!)
An earlier, simpler time.
did find things to like about the leaks, including "a fun one" about
Hillary Clinton trying to get U.S. diplomats to spy on other diplomats:
"Let the outrageously outrageous progressive outrage begin!" Also, "If
there's a big winner thus far from the leaks, the emerging consensus is
that -- irony of ironies -- it's Israel." And of course you know what
that means: "Wikileaks Upends U.S. Arabists (and Obama Too)," said Doug Ross.
had the foresight to flail in both directions: Of the leaks, she said,
"Well, this Wikileaks release of information doesn't seem particularly
surprising, just confirming what most who pay attention believe about
things." Then she complained about "the cavalier nonchalance of some on
the left," who were presumably dismissive for treasonous reasons,
rather than her patriotic ones.
Similarly, Roger L. Simon
complained that State Department officials are apparently unaware that
"there are no shredders for e-mails and Word docs. Are these people
nitwits or do they have the impulse control of a two year old?" Then he
admitted that "like most of us, I've done it myself -- hit 'reply all,'
when I meant 'reply,' and spent days cleaning up my mess. But I don't
work for the government." (Well, comes the revolution, comrade...) Later
Simon updated, "there still does not seem to be anything extraordinary
here [in the leaks]," then read about North Korea allegedly sending
nukes to Iran and demanded to know, "Why was this hidden from the public -- that is the most important of this... Was the administration afraid
someone would want to do something about it? Sounds that way to me."
Clearly what's needed is someone dedicated to uncovering this kind of
wrongly-concealed information. But who?
claimed that "Wikileaks Completes Obama's Transformation Into Jimmy
Carter." How? Well, Koh sent that letter, instead of one that promised
Assange, "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," etc.
of Gateway Pundit read the part where the Saudis tried to get America
to attack Iran, and took it to mean that "Wikileaks Report Reveals
Obama's Flawed Assessment of Iranian Nuclear Threat... Obviously, this
shows that Barack Obama and the far left were on the wrong side of
history once again." Robert S. McCain
was pleased: "When it turns out Saudi royalty is on the same page with
Bill Kristol vis-a-vis the need to bomb Iran, you know Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's regime is in trouble." Well, it's not like the interests
of the House of Saud aren't identical to those of the United States.
Almost uniformly, these folks were outraged that the leaks occurred and
that newspapers collaborated with WikiLeaks to put them in print. (A
"in blatant violation of both the Constitution and laws against sexual
and physical abuse," WikiLeaks is getting our leaders to "experience
what we experience, to feel what we feel.") But they were cool with
using the leaks to blast the Administration and to support their own
particular hobby-horses. Maybe WikiLeaks thrives, not because Obama is
too chicken to kill Julian Assange, but because whenever they drop a
document dump, everyone, one way or another, gets a piece of the action.