Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Are Manning and Snowden patriots? That depends on what we do next.

From the Washington Post courtesy of Eschaton, Andrew Bacevich on the national security state:

By taking technology that the state employs to manufacture secrets and using it to make state secrecy impossible, they put the machine itself at risk. Forget al-Qaeda. Forget Iran’s nuclear program. Forget the rise of China. Manning and Snowden confront Washington with something far more worrisome. They threaten the power the state had carefully accrued amid recurring wars and the incessant preparation for war. In effect, they place in jeopardy the state’s very authority — while inviting the American people to consider the possibility that less militaristic and more democratic approaches to national security might exist.

In the eyes of the state, Manning and Snowden — and others who may carry on their work — can never be other than traitors. Whether the country eventually views them as patriots depends on what Americans do with the opportunity these two men have handed us.

Click here for the rest.

Right.  It's not about security.  It's about control.  Control of us.  As Chomsky and others have observed countless times, the vast majority of government secrets aren't kept from "the enemy," whoever that might be this year, but rather from us, the citizens.  That is, as Bacevich notes in his essay, government secrecy ramps government power up into the stratosphere, and that's the real reason the entire US security apparatus is coming down on Manning and Snowden.  I mean, nobody has yet been able to demonstrate any real harms to the nation coming out of their whistle-blower actions; contrast this with the feeble hand-slap given to Scooter Libby when he destroyed the career of a highly trained covert CIA operative in order to punish her husband who had embarrassed the Bush administration.  A democracy cannot tolerate such secrecy for long while remaining a democracy.

Seriously.  That's what this is about.  The government is CLEARLY misusing the notion of national security in order to do things that Americans don't really want it to do.  I think I've finally made up my mind on this.  To use Bacevich's calculation, Manning and Snowden favored their country over its government.  And that makes them patriots.  Real patriots, not the no-risk, rah-rah, football fan type.  We are in their debt.