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Friday, December 10, 2010

Diana West on the Value of Wikileaks

I am not happy about the material that was leaked to Julian Assange. I am no legal scholar and am not prepared to offer an opinion as to whether the actions of those involved amount to espionage. I am not even prepared to offer a firm opinion about the nature of the damage that was done to this country by these leaks. I have read more than one opinion from conservative authors, some holding that the leaks fatally compromise other countries' confidence in our ability to keep secrets, others suggesting that the leaks demonstrate the folly of having homosexuals in the military, others saying that the leaks reveal only what everybody probably already knew or suspected anyway.

Diana West, delightfully independent and incisive thinker that she is, offers some of the most interesting commentary, of which I provide a small sample:
One running theme that emerges from the leaked cables is that the U.S. government consistently obscures the identity of the nation's foes, for example, depicting the hostile peoples of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States as "allies." It's not that such hostility is a secret, or even constitutes news. But the cables reveal that our diplomats actually recognize that these countries form the financial engine that drives global jihad, or, as they mincingly prefer to call it, "terrorism." But they, with the rest of the government, keep the American people officially in the dark


Whether such information was originally "classified," the body politic should be electrified by the fact, as revealed by the leaked cables, that nations from Pakistan to Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia are regularly discussed as black holes of infinite corruption into which American money gushes, either through foreign aid or oil revenue, and unstaunched and unstaunchable sources of terror or terror-financing. If this were to get out -- and guess what, it did -- the foreign policy of at least the past two administrations, Democrat and Republican alike, would be unmasked as a colossal failure.
Now, again, for those who wonder: I am not at all opposed to fighting terrorism. My main concerns have been that we ought, before fighting wars, to declare them in the constitutionally prescribed fashion, and that we not try fighting terrorism by trying to change a centuries-old culture to which millions upon millions of people are devoted. It is not at all realistic to suppose that we will secure freedom from terrorism by turning nations and peoples that have never shown any interest in government as the protector of the God-given rights of all men--believer and non-believer alike--into American-style representative republics. That is a fool's errand. Like it or not, American-style representative government is based squarely on a Judeo-Christian worldview, and its originators said repeatedly that it would not work without a people devoted to such a view (a state that we are too close to achieving, in my view). There is not the proverbial snowball's chance that it is going to work in Dar al Islam, but making it work there is the basis of much of our foreign policy.

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