Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On Wikileaking

Not that anyone asked me, but here's my thoughts on Wikileaks:

When there is a war that may involve illegal or unethical conduct and you expose that conduct, that can count as a principled stand. Agree or disagree, with the names of individuals redacted to protect their identity, I was generally on Wikileaks side.

However.

When you expose diplomatic communiques just because you can, you are being a douchebag. What is the principle here? Transparency uber alles? Wikileaks has just crossed the line into being one of those assholes who thinks that truth telling is absolute and goes around telling everyone that their kids are ugly, their wife is fat and people are talking smack about them behind their backs. Thanks! Didn't need to know!

If there was a secret plot that would have a 95% chance of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, would this jerk publish it on the internet for everyone to see? Are there not some secrets worth keeping?

And in the case of the diplomatic cables, aren't there some secrets not worth sharing? I mean, did anyone not think Berlusconi is an aging lothario bully who tries to paper over his failings with flamboyant sex? Is anyone surprised to hear that Medvedyev is Putin's puppet, or that Sarkozy has a real insecurity problem? Is this news? No, this is a late night comedic monologue. Anyone who is surprised was probably surprised when they learned that there are homosexuals in the Roman Catholic priesthood. 

That said, is it nice for people to point your failings out to your face? No, it's not. 

I guess what I wonder is, what is the point of this latest document dump? How does it help anyone's agenda? Will it end wars? Begin dialogues? Does it do anything positive? Or is it just a net negative?

2 comments:

pc said...

Kind of like white lies and bad lies? I agree with this distinction. There's a reason they are diplomats-isn't part of their job to say things in private and then figure out how to say things in public that makes everyone feel okay?
Which makes me wonder, how do you make the distinction for the kids between white lies and bad lies? Seems like a pretty high level concept.

Wilson said...

I don't have an opinion whether it's a good or bad leak. There are arguments both for and against leaking the cables, and I can understand both sides. It's in the vast grey area that makes up diplomacy/public policy, and it is accentuated by the fact that the media keeps reporting on it recursively: most people don't actually care, I suspect.