President Obama is wrong, and Secretary Clinton is wrong. Those remoras of state at CNN, FOXNews, ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR and many Congressmen are all wet in their frantic response to Cablegate, and Wikileaks in general.
I'll admit the U.S. government should have been a bit angry about the Wikileaks release over the summer of the 2007 gunship video and narration of a bloody massacre of unarmed Iraqis and reporters. There was nothing redeeming there, no points of light or lessons to be learned. That release fundamentally explained to Americans and others who supported the Iraq invasion and occupation exactly what democracy at the point of a gun looks like. Perhaps the US government wasn't as upset as it might have been because no one affected by this crime was surprised. Similar massacres, according to soldiers involved in Iraq, were routine and conducted as ordered. The Iraqis, of course, knew this from the beginning.
The Wikileaked Afghanistan reports didn't indicate much more than the antiwar and the pro-war crowds already knew, and as a result, again, there were no changes in the bleachers of American foreign policy. It's likely that the Rolling Stone interview with General McCrystal around the same time was more embarrassing to Washington. One wonders why McChrystal has not yet been declared a domestic terrorist. He shared secrets and embarrassed the administration. A case could be made that his pussyfooting around the Afghans (a Special Forces nuance that our good Prussian Petraeus was quick to eliminate) was intentionally designed to help "lose the war" in Afghanistan. Well, give it time.
But Cablegate is different, and the reaction of the ruling class so far ranges from simply demanding Assange's head on a platter to demanding the Internet be declared a terrorist entity, and destroyed.
Government propagandists proclaim that people will die from this latest release. Unless they mean die laughing, this is quite an overstatement. Government goons, soldiers and bureaucrats in foreign countries will not face a greater threat to their lives, most especially from these cables. What they will face is snickers, chuckles, and outright laughter.
And truly, this is as it should be. When one declares that his robes are the most beautiful, made of the finest silk, so glorious that they compete with the sun — sometimes a little blond-haired boy with a most serious look about him declares that it seems to him that the Emperor has no clothes! And we see, slowly at first, then an unstoppable surge of laughter and finger-pointing by the common people who, for all their ignorance and all their flaws, know enough to put on clothes before going out in public.
The US government shrieks, tone-deaf, of global democracy — but disparages the populist language of Italian officials and declares the elected and popular prime minister there to be unqualified. Yet, this same democracy-loving government enjoys very much its dealings with the evilest of dictators. This hypocrisy has long been a staple of both libertarian and Marxist critiques of US foreign policy, for well over a century. Now it's out in the open — and it's kind of funny.
Hillary Clinton approves a State Department-wide command to surreptitiously collect DNA and credit card numbers on UN representatives and other diplomats. This particular case is breathtakingly Nuremburgian. The order Hilary was transmitting was already government policy — the great Diplomat Herself was just following orders. And certainly, any of us common folk who watch enough CSI to be dangerous know that collection of DNA samples with chain of custody procedures that will stand up in court is not something we would automatically trust to a bunch of pinstripers at State. Beyond that, the rest of us who watch COPS know that taking people's credit card numbers without their knowledge and permission is a crime.
Now that we know what they are trying to do, the proper reaction is to giggle and glance at each other while we check our pockets, handbags, backpacks and satchels for our wallets and watches whenever we find ourselves near a government representative. Of course, air travelers in this country have been doing just that for some time. But the sweet lesson here is that a government goon is a government goon, just following orders, no matter where they buy their suits. Our ability to quickly recognize that government goon is increasingly unifying average Americans, and strengthening us. As our government goonar continues to develop, the game becomes more fun, and funnier. Cablegate improves everyone's goonar!
There is talk that the data released this week actually helps Israel's case for a good old-fashioned pre-emptive attack on Iran. Why? Because Saudi Arabia supports it! Well, skyrocketing oil prices certainly would come in handy to the still dollar dependent House of Saud about now, but I digress. Now, if I were the little old US of A thinking about starting one more war with a country I didn't like, especially given I was dead broke and already a military laughingstock based on past and present performance in Iraq and Afghanistan, listening to what the corrupt, US-dependent ruling class of Saudi Arabia had to say about it would be right up there on my go-to-war-decision-meter. Give the obvious and otherworldly stupidity of our politicians, generals, and diplomats, perhaps the Saudis do tell us what to do, and maybe Wikileaks hearts neocons. A better sense of where the US diplomatic head is at can be gained by reading reports of meetings in Tel Aviv, where the great US stumbles over itself to be inoffensive, seeking simultaneously to be both submissive and warlike when speaking to Israelis. Pathetic little weasels, the lot of them. But their pathetic weaselness cannot be blamed on Julian Assange, no matter how many neocons and other cons declare the problem to be facts in the open, rather than simply the facts.
On a more serious note, beyond the debate on whether to assassinate Assange, blow up the Internet, conduct an unwarranted attack on an NPT signatory that is following the rules, or to continue to ally ourselves with the crazies in Pakistan and Israel, it is important to recognize that fascism of one kind or another is currently embraced by a majority in Congress, and by a large minority across the country. An alert and informed citizenry, valued by presidents from Washington to Eisenhower, is now deemed by D.C. to be a nascent domestic terrorism threat. As the American wholesale subsidy of banks, bullets and butter metastasizes, devouring freedom and wrecking the system, the desperation of the ruling class and those in its employ is palpable. Americans ought to gratefully smile as we review these latest Wikileaks, and we should savor the hilarity. Seeing our government as theatrical stooge, as incompetent popinjay, as naked and embarrassed Emperor, sets the stage well for what comes next.
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page.