You believe this shit?

Imagine for a moment that you know a man who beats his wife.

Beats his wife, has beaten her for years.  Puts her in hospital on a regular basis.  Breaks bones, lacerates flesh, damages internal organs.  He has never been prosecuted for these offences because he is a powerful man locally, and you both live within a culture which takes such things for granted.

Then imagine that you meet him one day down the local pub and find he is complaining bitterly that one of his wife’s female friends has started talking badly about him around town.  “That bitch,” he cries into his fifteenth pint.  “Doesn’t she get that she’s poisoning our marriage; that she’s going to put our happy home at risk.”

Congratulations – you have now reached approximately the state of disbelief I’m in as I listen to the US state and its asshole apologists whine about how Wiki-leaks is putting lives at risk.

I’m sorry, US State Department, British Foreign Office, can we just back up a bit here? I need to clarify terms a little.  Putting lives at risk, you say?

What, you mean in the same way that conducting an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation in search of weapons of mass destruction for which there was no evidence put lives at risk (when it wasn’t merely snuffing said lives out by the thousand)?  You mean in the same way that incompetent bombing of Afghan villages, wedding parties and miscellaneous shepherds put lives at risk? The way in which scooping up a random assortment of human beings and detaining them against every law there is for years at a time put lives at risk? The way in which grabbing citizens with names you don’t like off the streets of Canada, Germany and Italy and flying them out to fuckwit totalitarian regimes for interrogation put lives at risk? The way acting as paymaster and approving sponsor for an unending succession of bloody-handed despots across the geo-political landscape for the last several decades put lives at risk? The way training up the best and the brightest of the world’s torturers and political murderers for the last half century put lives at risk? Putting lives at risk in that sense, you mean?

Fuck you, buddy.

Has Wiki-leaks put lives at risk.  Doubtful.  But let’s for a moment give the asshole cheerleaders for the Orwellian state their day in court.  Let’s suppose the leaks have endangered some lives somewhere.

So – fucking – what?

Our much vaunted British legal system and its US outgrowth both function on the assumption that it is better that ten guilty men go free than that one innocent man be punished.  There is a cost attached to this – but we pay that price, because we understand what we’re buying.  What we are buying is civilisation.

Winston Churchill – not a man I’m given to quoting very much – understood this concept of cost and sacrifice in relation to civilisation very well.  He once said:

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

Can anybody question that we have now arrived at that unhealthy state of affairs?  Can anyone doubt that the American state (and its sad little UK lackey) have over the last decade provided us with a new high in corrupt, brutal and incompetent geo-political governance?  Is there anybody still standing out there that actually thinks these people have shown themselves to be trustworthy? Is there anyone out that thinks these people need lower levels of performance monitoring and review?

Even if Wiki-leaks were to cost lives – it would still be a vital tool in the battle against an encroaching totalitarianism that we’re paying far, far too little attention to.  The lives lost would be, to paraphrase Churchill, painful but necessary – a painful but necessary cost in a battle for the fragile edifice of law, human rights and civilisation that we have managed to cobble together in this corner of the world, and which our current political establishment is hellbent on tearing down.  And I, as a citizen, would certainly rather die in the defence of that edifice than for any of Bush and Blair’s murderous misadventures in the Middle East overt the last decade, or the rather shabby continuation our current leaders enforce under the pretence of change.  And while I can’t speak for British or American servicemen or -women, having met a few, I suspect that they, who have signed up to protect their country against all enemies, foreign or domestic, who have accepted that they may have to give their lives in that cause, would not quibble if their death came as the price for defeating a vicious, insidious and corrupt domestic foe rather than a nebulous, poorly defined and largely illusory foreign one.

So let me repeat – even if Wiki-leaks were to put lives at risk, it would still be a vital service to our civilisation.

But of course, as we all already know – Wiki-leaks does not put lives at risk. Those assholes are lying in their teeth about that, just as they lie in their teeth about every other misbegotten blood-spattered corrupt and obscene thing they do in your name.

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144 responses to “You believe this shit?”

  1. Linda P

    @Travis: How to respond to your comment, when it makes no sense in any way. This discussion is regarding free press and government trying to suppress information. As far as believing Assange is innocent, um, I thought American law was based on “innocent until proven guilty”. Hopefully you’ve never been on a jury, if you believe “guilty until proven innocent”. Your statement re “similar cases” makes no sense whatsoever either. One has nothing to do with the other. Lastly, obviously your statement “…to make me hope there is a hell…” is, (let me make a wild assumption here) misleading, as you’re obviously a big believer in hell. But you know what, you do not speak for God nor do you get to say who goes to hell.

  2. Mirik

    @travis: yes, i was saying thay, though I don’t know if that’s wikileaks position on the matter perse. I think the illusion of control through elections has proven not to eliminate the most immoral wrongdoings of government in our names. Plus I can’t think of information that should be kept secret anyways, so then it becomes a moot issue, though I am open to revising my opinion on that matter since I surely lack information to assess it correctly and completely.

    Why should government have secrets at all? (ones ptrying to be moral leaders anyways).

  3. uberbloke

    Seems relevant…

    ” Privacy has to be viewed in the context of relative power. For example, the government has a lot more power than the people. So privacy for the government increases their power and increases the power imbalance between government and the people; it decreases liberty. Forced openness in government — open government laws, Freedom of Information Act filings, the recording of police officers and other government officials, WikiLeaks — reduces the power imbalance between government and the people, and increases liberty.”

    Read the whole thing here… http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/12/recording_the_p.html

  4. travis

    @Linda P

    I think, based on your comments, you are reading more into my position then is there and at the same time not seeing what I’m actually saying.

    I will attempt to state my central idea more clearly:

    1)Enabling evil is in itself a form of evil.
    2)Many people willing to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing on the part of those the like or identify with politically, especially if the person is famous. This is enabling of evil.
    3)Nobody knows simply from reading the news reports the truth or falsehood of the charges against Assange. If the accusations as reported are true then he has violated Swedish law according to a number of legal commentators. If the accusations are false then he hasn’t.
    4)Despite the fact that people don’t have any way of knowing the objective truth people choose to side with Assange based on no more then the fact that they support the idea of Wikileaks.
    5)The statements in 3 and 4 satisfy the conditions of point 2.
    6)These people are, therefore (whether inadvertently or intentionally, and without regard to the purity of thier motives or the psychological drives which compel them to support such actions), evil.

    Direct responses to your comments:
    a)“discussion is regarding free press…(etc)”

    Not exclusively. People have made comments that the criminal charges are just a form of harassment or attack on Wikileaks. It is therefore entirely relevant and appropriate to call that view into question.

    b)“As far as believing Assange is innocent, um, I thought American law was based on “innocent until proven guilty”.

    First, Sweden is the relevant jurisdiction so um, maybe you should keep your pretentious little um to yourself. Second, there are both legal and moral definitions to the word ‘innocent’. The legal principle you cite is concerned with, not surprisingly, the legal definition while I was more broadly speaking to moral definitions. I generally use ‘not guilty’ if speaking in a legal sense. Arguably “guilt” and “innocence” exist as statements about reality independent of any court room verdict (and this only becomes arguable if: 1)you delve deeply into the nature of reality and what can be known or 2)you want to quibble about the meaning of the words themselves rather then address the root issues). Further, the trier of fact is not supposed to have a preconception towards either guilt OR innocence in any particular case. The catchphrase you cite simply elucidates a guideline for those cases were the evidence as shown at trial does not establish guilt to the requisite burden of proof.

    c)“Hopefully you’ve never been on a jury, if you believe “guilty until proven innocent”

    You are reading into my argument with your own views and defensiveness. I have not in fact stated anything of the sort.

    d) “Your statement re “similar cases” …One has nothing to do with the other.”

    You think this because you are stuck in a mindset of arguing about Assange. The root of my position has nothing to do with his particular case but rather the fact that people embrace a deliberate denial of truth when it challenges their views. Most people seem to have a very deep paradigm (meme is probably a better word choice but less commonly understood) for categorizing people as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. If someone (in this case Assange) has been characterized as ‘good’ then people find it nearly impossible to believe the ‘bad’ about them. My examples are to show that being successful at someone’s ‘job’ should not be used as the criteria to evaluate their morality and/or criminality.

    e)“Lastly, obviously your statement “…to make me hope there is a hell…” is, (let me make a wild assumption here) misleading, as you’re obviously a big believer in hell.”

    Well I see you find it two obvious but you are wrong. I’m sure you intended ‘wild assumption’ as sarcasm but it turns out that your assumption is indeed wild.

  5. travis

    @Mirik

    Alright, you’ve tempted me into the Wikileaks debate as seperate from the Assange debate…

    My problem is I see both sides. I’m a huge fan of the idea of open and above board government. I think transparency is good.

    At the same time I don’t think everyone has a right to see EVERYTHING.

    The thing that most troubles me about Wikileaks in particular is that they are trying to claim they are journalists but in reality they have said “we will publish anything and everything sent to us.” That’s kind of like a pawn shop putting up a ‘No questions asked sign’. Well, you and they both KNOW that shit is stolen.

    So the idea that they’re journalistic middleman rings a little hollow to me.

    But then there is the idea that it’s all worth it anyway (Richard’s original post). I don’t know…

    Ultimately I think societies are going to evolve to cope with the greater flow of and access to information but we aren’t there yet.

    I don’t know exactly what that society will look like or whether it’s better or worse.

    I take that back, I don’t think it’s either better or worse, just different (that is to say better in some cases, worse in others).

    Maybe.

  6. NoXid

    SF author David Brin has written a number of articles and even a book on the topic of transparency in government and society. These days he is hired out as a futurist to consult with governments and such.

    A snippet from an article:

    “For we already live in the openness experiment, and have for two hundred years. It is called the Enlightenment — with “light” both a core word and a key concept in our turn away from 4,000 years of feudalism. All of the great enlightenment arenas — markets, science and democracy — flourish in direct proportion to how much their players (consumers, scientists and voters) know, in order to make good decisions. To whatever extent these arenas get clogged by secrecy, they fail.”

    His web site:
    http://www.davidbrin.com/transparent.htm

    Worth checking out. As should not be surprising, the SF crowd brings some interesting ideas to the table.

  7. David Nelson

    I agree about your thoughts about Wikileaks. Governments have had it coming for years. Assange needs to dig deeper though and find out who really killed Kennedy, and all those other juicy mysteries that I’m sure are kept in Fort Knox, or Area 51 whatever. As to Iraq and Afganistan, those oppressive places should have been sorted out long before 9-11. And it looks like we’ll have to re-sort out Nth Korea now too!
    But still, I reckon a lot of tinkering goes on behind the scene’s when the shit hits the fan in some corner of the world, and we the people are fed nothing but bullshit.
    The idea of a transparent society is good in theory, but I think it’s human nature to want to shut the door when taking a shit. And with all the shit that governments produce, their doors are very, very, thick!

  8. Freeman

    @Travis, Come on this is the most pathetic arguement…..

    1)Enabling evil is in itself a form of evil.

    That is exactly the same as stating that all Violence is Wrong and then coming to philosphical and moral conclusion that raising ones voice is a form of violence and is therefore ALSO Wrong and Immoral…..

    Beside which…. Good and Evil are only human definitions that are relevant only through a subjective framework of peception… The law doesnt define Good and Evil, it Defines Wrong and Right….

  9. Mirik

    @travis

    Understood. It’s true that I have no concept of why secrecy is needed at all and this, together with skepticism about trusting government with secrets at all, fuels my argument.

    But you failed to show me ‘the other side’. Which secrets cant we know? What truths are not trusted to us, but only to those in power? How would we know they are not self-serving secrets among them (or only those).

    Government is not based on trist, it’s based on results and votes. Trust is not what we need them for. We need them for the social service they give, not the secrets they can keep.

  10. Mirik

    @NoXid

    Thanks! Will read that. :-)

  11. travis

    @ Mirik

    Well I tend to think of valid secrets (for govvernments) in a day to day operational sense, particularly for the military/intelligence agencies.

    For instance,while having some small relevance to the public debate the source of intelligence needs to be protected. there’s no reason for people to really need to know whether information comes from an informant, a satellite or an ODA on the hill watching. This knowledge has limited use to the public but being revealed could have a serious detrimental effect on the intelligence gathering.

    Manning and locations of units in (for instance) AFganistan. Sure, public debate over whether we should be there, fine. Info about the overall levels of troops and casualties, etc., fine. Knowing that unit XYZ is stationed at Whatzitabad doesn’t help the publice debate and, again, could be deletorious to the warfighting effort.

    “Trust is not what we need them for.” An interesting POV and worth more thought. Unfortunatly it may also precisly identify why governments ARE able to continue to keep secrets and make poor choices behind closed doors.
    @Noxid

    Agreed, I just don’t think we’ve had the time for it to sort out and that we lack the perspective to actually evaluate what’s good or ill. Look at the internet alone. Great tool for the free flow of information. Also a haven for pedophiles. Internet, good or bad?

    @Freeman

    Why so defensive?

    “That is exactly the same as stating that all Violence is Wrong …”

    No, it’s not. You are putting things into the argument that aren’t there.

    “Beside which…. Good and Evil are only human definitions that are relevant only through a subjective framework of peception… The law doesnt define Good and Evil, it Defines Wrong and Right….”

    Do you really want to tie your position to defending a distinction between “Good and Evil” versus “Right and Wrong”?

    Further, my comments don’t really relate to a discussion on jurisprudence (we can do that though if you want but that’s probably one tangent too far for this thread). My comments relate to the idea that just because people support someone’s views in one area (or their professional successes) they shouldn’t take that alone as proof (or even evidence) that the person isn’t a POS in other areas.

  12. Freeman

    @Travis? Tie my Position to What garbage? Mate…. I’m an Aethist, I DO NOT SEE THE WORLD IN A ROSE TINITED SHADE OF MORALITY – i.e. shades of Good and Evil… and i Do Wrong things Daily, because the fact is Many laws and regulations are not for our personal Benifit….

    But let us analyse this a little further, Why so defensive? i dont know… Hhmmmm maybe because the standard of debate slips after about post 80…. Maybe its really because that was an entirely pathetic argument and you could do much better sitting down with a coffee and fucking thinking about it for longer that 10 minutes….

    Yesterday i Enabled Evil, An old lady wanted to cross the road, i helped her with her groceries, because of me we both jaywalked….

    A Month before that a local Methodone patient, (who is australian aboriginal, for some perspective) was too broke to get the priscription filled and was having Bad withdrawel, i went and got a pipe and some pot and gave them to him, He nearly fucking cried…. I will always Enable Evil were I CAN SEE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN A FUNDEMENTAL RIGHT AND WRONG

    “For instance,while having some small relevance to the public debate the source of intelligence needs to be protected.”

    Travis, i agree with you….. Manning and Other Leakers Desevre to be Protected…… But we also desevre to Know wether or not tranches of volitile information were being INADEQUATELY SURPRESSED by an Ineffectual, Corrupt and Bankrupt State or released by a Disgruntled fucking Patriot.(and i realise that is exactly what you WERENT talking about… but once again think your fucking statements through)

    And dont give me this shit again….

    “You are putting things into the argument that aren’t there.”

    If you make a Statement with large philosphical and moral impilications then at the very least THINK ABOUT THEM… i’m not the only one on here thinking you make little to no sense…

    And Jurisprudence?….. i dont see how i made any following reference to the Skill or Science of the Law…

    I wasnt the one bundling Theist Morality and Secular Logic…

    Wicasa Wakan ~ Smoke On

  13. travis

    Freeman,
    This isn’t really for you because it seems you don’t give a shit about what is written and just want to cheerleading for yourself.

    For the audience playing at home I’d like to point out:

    a)”Tie my Position to What garbage?”
    This doesn’t even make sense.

    b)”I’m an Aethist, I DO NOT SEE THE WORLD IN A ROSE TINITED SHADE OF MORALITY”
    Good for you. What the fuck does one have to do with the other? And what’s the point of this statement? Despite the caps I fail to see whow this contributes.

    c)”Why so defensive? i dont know… Hhmmmm maybe because the standard of debate slips after about post 80….”
    Well admittedly I came in late. On the other hand, you’re well past post 80 youself…

    d)”Yesterday i Enabled Evil, An old lady wanted to cross the road, i helped her with her groceries, because of me we both jaywalked”
    You’re a dumb ass. Nobody has said jaywalking is evil.

    e)”I will always Enable Evil were I CAN SEE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN A FUNDEMENTAL RIGHT AND WRONG”
    Again, you’re a dumb ass. If something is ‘right’ then it is not, by definition ‘evil’. (Of course it is possible, judging by your writting, that your perceptual filters are so skewed as to be ending up on the evil side). Near as I can tell you are the only person trying to say that right/wrong and good/evil are unrelated concepts.

    f) “And dont give me this shit again….
    “You are putting things into the argument that aren’t there.”

    Well., I think I’m entitled to the courtesy of you actually arguing against what I say rather then a bunch of BS you are dragging into it. Are you so desperate to launch your diatribe that you WANT to argue against ideas that aren’t even there?

    g)” i dont see how i made any following reference to the Skill or Science of the Law”

    Let us review earlier post: “The law doesnt define Good and Evil, it Defines Wrong and Right….”

    h) “I wasnt the one bundling Theist Morality and Secular Logic”

    Well that SOUNDS good but there is no such thing going on (except in your head). See also ‘f’, above.

    Thank you, that is all.

  14. Freeman

    Ahahahahahaha…

    …at the very least it’s a cute list….

  15. Mark C

    Off Topic and all that, but, Happy New Year!

    Here’s to freedom of speech in the twenty 11. And a damn fine follow up to The Steel Remains!!

    Mark C

  16. Mirik

    @travis:

    I don’t see how, or the direct merit of, leaking such things as troop placements. Though i’m sure in spy capacity US and ememies actively seek defectors with this knowledge.

    Thanks for the example though, I will think about it, but initial thought are that they are irrelevant in light of wikilkeaks and government corruption.

    I ordered Noxkid’ David Brin book on transparency and have a tip also. A book called ‘Wiki Government’. Have not read that and it might be more boring and certainly noy activist, but approaches somes ways of crowdsourcIng for government transparency. So may be relevant!

    My remaining fears are; either US goes all-out fascist and dispenses with first amendment and threatens everyone into submission with assassinations etc, or they go and develop old or news ways to just keep their secrets out of the public sphere again and keep going their corrupt merry way.

  17. NoXid

    @Mirik
    Thanks, her book looks interesting, all the more so because of:

    “…in her current position of US Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government. She leads the Open Government Initiative.”

  18. Gimo

    Eh, it’d sure suck to be that Afghan informant whose family got blown away because someone in Wikileaks didn’t comb through those data dumps properly. Just saying.

  19. Ravs

    Has there been any credible evidence that someone has been killed as a result of the Wikileaks?

  20. Gimo

    http://www.registan.net/index.php/2010/07/30/taliban-use-wikileaks-to-hunt-murder-named-afghans/

    Just goes to show nothing is ever as simple as some may like.

  21. Shay

    @Gimo

    The article you post shows that someone was killed 2 years ago with no relation to the wikileaks release.

    Its also an opinion piece and not an actual news story…

    I would give this “news” story as much creedence as a Fox News story.

  22. Gimo

    When the Taliban, quite seriously, declare they will scour thousands of classified documents (and yes, there is more to the classification of military data than the maintenance of the political status quo – OPSEC and PERSEC, look it up), of course no one will get hurt. Jesus.

    If people like David Axe can use the Wikileaks logs to confirm details of engagements they witnessed as embeds, it doesn’t take a world-class intellect to figure out that the guys on the other team can do so much more with a trove of leaked intel.

    Besides, the Taliban aren’t going to parade their killings on the Western media. They don’t have to and they don’t want to. Chew on that for a while.

    It’s war. I think Wikileaks has to step up and live by the same demands it places on governments. It’s not playing in the little leagues of twenty first cen-style internet activism any more, as many of its members are probably discovering.

    If you have a subscription to the Times, or a few seconds’ worth of time to google, or even an afternoon to peruse the actual logs, you’ll find lovely accounts of leaked places, times and conversations which can be used to narrow down faces and names.

    Ideals are nice. Keeping the people who have no say in the matter as safe as they can be from harm would be better. This includes the lowly soldiers too.

    Also, dismissing Foust’s words as ‘opinion’ isn’t a proper argument. By the same token, I could have just poopooed your words in the same way. Please extend the same courtesy, eh?

  23. travis

    Contrary to Shay’s post that’s a really good article.

    “someone was killed 2 years ago with no relation to the wikileaks release.”

    Well, his being killed wasn’t connected but he was identified by name in the release.

    You point out it was 2 years ago as if the article was misleading. It’s not. The author explicitly states this fact and that the death wasn’t directly wikileaks fault.
    The author’s point is that IF the Taliban hadn’t killed him ALREADY(for suspicion of being an informant!)they would now have the information that he was indeed cooperating with US forces.

    This isn’t the first place that we’ve seen people going ‘oh prove it, show me who has died’. There is uncontroverted proof that the Taliban/AQ actively seek out and kill informants. There is uncontroverted proof that Wikileaks has revealed informants. It’s not any sort of cognitive leap to think that Taliban/AQ will use that information. In fact the Taliban publicly state ‘we are going through the documents and will kill informants that are revealed.’ Do you not believe them? This argument is, at best, noone has been killed YET. Do I know when or where or whom precisly? No but that doesn’t absolve wikileaks supporters from application of common sense. (As an aside I know of a similar situation where someone was murdered 50 years later following the release of a book that revealed names).

  24. travis

    And here’s an excerpt from an article with a quote straight from Assange. Even he recognizes that the idea the Afgans will be killed is credible:

    Questioned by Australian news program “Dateline” as to whether their release may lead to Afghan informants named in the documents being killed, Assange said it was possible.

    “It’s absolutely not something I want, but … the possibility of that is unavoidable,” the Australian said.

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/taliban_seeks_vengeance_on_afghans_cy9V6VfsOcOW3982DAC44O#ixzz1Aef2Aa4v

  25. travis

    Well, I read Ravs post as disputing the possibility of people being killed but when I look back I see that I was reading into it.

    If it’s a legitimate, ‘hey does anybody know the current facts’ then my response was overboard.

    I think your position that the true question should be ‘does the good outweigh the harm?’ (rather then ‘is there harm?’)is doing but rather is one of the most reasoned ideas I’ve seen advanced oon the subject. (I’m not completly convinced but the point is I find it far superior to the run of the mill information-wants-to-be-free/the-people-have-a-right-to-know-everthing-no-matter-what/and-by-the-way-fuck-your-copyright-because-i’m-stealing-your-shit-anyway junior anarchist out there).

    It’s interesting that you raise the issue of what happens after coalition forces leave. What is your opinion on the right course of action? Stay? Leave? How long does it take to stabalize a nation [we(the US) still have bases in Germany and Japan established following World War II]?

    I’m not sure that calling it massive butchery is fair. To be certain, there are mistakes made. There is collateral damage. You can find examples of people who have deliberatly done wrong. The problems are: a) that people have an unrealistic expectaion of perfection from our military. The western world has largely forgotten what an all-out war is. We want everything to be the flawless laser guided missle strike and perfectly righteous and that has never happened in a war. b)most of the military is out there doing more or less the right thing. You don’t see that on the news because, let’s face, “A group of US and British soldiers performed with a reaonsable degree of competence today” just isn’t newsworthy. Shoot, if I had to judge by the news I’d say the majority of my city are drunk-driving rapists; but that’s just not reality. c)there is (particularly was in Iraq) an active propaganda machine working for the opposition. d)People fail to put the blame where it belongs. Case in point. Let’s say (hypothetically) a US Marine shoots a child. Slam dunk, Marine is a POS, right? But wait, does the real blame lie with the Marine, or the person who put the grenade into the child’s hands and sent him into the street towards the patrol?

  26. Freeman

    Ahahahahahahahahahahaha….

    Ahahahahahahahahahahaha……

    “I’m not sure that calling it massive butchery is fair.”

    Fucking Classic……

    A good portion of the Iraqi Regime was left insitu during and after invasion….. and they wouldn’t have been meddling with anything in terms propaganda OR corruption…. not in the fuckin’ slightest…..

  27. Gimo

    Eh, I’m not going to contest that. Only an idiot thinks the Iraq invasion was a great idea in theory and practice. Also, you’re not answering his actual line of argument, Freeman.

    Travis is onto a good point that deserves to be sensibly asked – does the good outweigh the bad or vice versa? It will take years of hindsight to get a definitive answer to that question. I stray on the side of caution. See you on the comments section in a decade’s time, I guess.

  28. travis

    Thanks for the response Richard. Good points and well made.

  29. Steve

    Huge fan.

    But I can’t roll with you on this one. At least not about wiki leaks. I agree 100% on the rest.

    I remember arguing against the invasion of Iraq what, nine years ago by trying to explain that we would be stuck over there for a decade or more, not a year. Likewise, we didn’t seem to care over here in the US that Afghanistan had already beaten down the Soviets a few decades before through a long, bloody war of attrition. Not surprising that we wouldn’t learn from the demonstration, after all, we’re the US.

    It leaves us in a bad spot that is very tough, as you mention above, to extricate ourselves from. I don’t think Wiki Leaks is the right solution. Do you believe it is going to accomplish anything other than making the US look bad, harming our international relations (some of which actually do help people), and possible hurting our citizens or people who have cooperated with them. Will it cause the US to suddenly pull out of Afghanistan? Leave the middle east? Admit that the Saudis are two faced and support the very people they supposedly help us fight? Nope.

    I hope we do get out, but Wiki Leaks isn’t going to make it happen.

  30. Gimo

    Richard – You’ll note I never excused governments from anything.

    I have a healthy distrust for everything. How’s that for knee jerk authoritarian stances?

  31. Ravs

    Sorry, been away for a bit:

    @ travis who said this:

    ***

    Well, I read Ravs post as disputing the possibility of people being killed but when I look back I see that I was reading into it.

    If it’s a legitimate, ‘hey does anybody know the current facts’ then my response was overboard.

    ***

    Yes, it was a legitimate question. I wasn’t trying to imply that there hadn’t been any reprisal killings where the victim was identified from WL information. For me it’s obvious that the Taliban are looking for informants (it’s free intelligence for them). I was just curious as to whether they’d actually found anything and whether it had been reported.

    As to this (posted by Richard):

    ***

    1) Wikileaks asked the US State department for help in redacting the leaked documents, and were roundly told to fuck off – a stupendous display of “I’m taking my marbles home” pique roughly appropriate to a kindergarten playground. Said attitude demonstrates to me fairly conclusively the level at which the US State department gives a shit about putting lives at risk (but then we knew that already).

    ***

    This is something I’ve been saying again and again. WL, have been placed in an impossible position by the State Department. If I were an informant in Afghanistan, I might be pissed off at WL, but I’d be livid at the US for not protecting my identity when they were given the opportunity to do so. Regardless of whether the US was right or wrong to do so, their reaction is not going to help them get future informants, that’s for sure.

  32. Jo Pearson

    [OFF-TOPIC]

    Hey I just wanted to point anyone around to a readers poll over at Tor for the best Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels of the last decade:

    http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/01/best-sff-novels-of-the-decade-readers-poll

    You can vote for as many books as you like.

    While the likes of John Scalzi and Neil Gaimen have mobilised their web presences to great effect, Altered Carbon is hanging on to the 20 spot for dear life.

    I realize the Takeshi Kovacs series isn’t to everyone’s taste, and that this poll is hardly representative, but it seems like it would be a shame for such a stunning series of books to not even get an honourable mention.

    So I’d urge anyone who has five minutes to spare to post in the comments threat. The poll closes tommorrow.

  33. a very different Bob N.

    > So what do I recommend in the final analysis? Get the fuck out now and cut our losses.

    No “losses” were ever “cut” by conceding defeat to an enemy who sets your subjugation and destruction of your way of life as an explicit, central goal.

    US goal in AfPak region is to defeat this enemy and deny sanctuaries and it’s clear that much has been achieved, even if much remains to be done.

    This is a simple fact — we’re dealing with an existential threat from an irreconcilable enemy.

    Don’t give in to your (post)colonial guilt, your liberal conditioning, your fucked-up sense of … whatever. Face that facts. Then act on them. (this paragraph comes with due apologies =))

    And, of course: “War is like any other bad relationship. Of course you want out, but at what price? And perhaps more importantly, once you get out, will you be any better off?”

    In other words: WTF, Richard? =)

  34. Theo

    @ a very different Bob N: I don’t give a fuck about Yanks, Poms, any other motherfuckers getting shot, killed, stabbed or blown up in Iraq or Afghanistan. They started the fucking war and funnily enough, that’s often what happens when you start wars. It’s a real fucking pity your disdain for Richard’s position doesn’t include the real victims of war: all the poor sods who live in the place where the war’s being fought.

    TL;DR: Fuck Off.

  35. Theo

    @ a very different Bob N, part 2: You wrote “US goal in AfPak region is to defeat this enemy and deny sanctuaries and it’s clear that much has been achieved, even if much remains to be done.”

    The vast majority of Pakistanis really, truly, deeply, hate the USA. Rightly or wrongly, they do. There’s also over 200 million of them and their country is teetering on the verge of collapsing in on itself. The country has nuclear missiles. What exactly do you think will happen if the country falls apart? Will the US invade? Who’s going to pay for that war, sunshine?

    “AfPak” region? WTF do you think this is, a fucking computer game?

    To second myself above: Fuck Off.

  36. a very different Bob N.

    Theo, are you trying to say something? It’s really hard to understand, what’s with all the crap in your mouth, spilling out and all.

    now be a good sport, try and say something meaningful.

  37. Freeman

    Mmmmm and i get panned for being a smartarse……

  38. Bill

    The charges against Assange are purely politically motivated. Sweden is a rapists paradise, letting rapists go if the woman was drunk when the rape occured, but now that Assange has stepped on toes, Sweden feigns moral outrage. Notice that Sweden is doing nothing to apprehend the CIA kidnapper who kidnapped an innocent German citizen, sent him to Syria for months of brutal torture, then when it was proven the man was innocent and of no intelligence value, he was dumped in Serbia, naked beside the road and Sweden is not lifting a finger to impose justice, nor is Germany, nor the Hague, Europe, nobody.

    If Assange is guilty enough to face a court, then so to should members of the CIA, and judicial and executive branches who executed and orchestrated violent crimes. If only Assange had been working for the CIA, then he could have raped and killed those women and never seen the inside of a courtroom or even police car.

    After we have brought all known torturers, murderers, and kidnappers associated with Orwellian governments to justice, then we can strive to eradicate the heinous crime of… condom breakage. Where is Quellcrist when we need her? Probably dead in a Syrian torture chamber courtesy of the US government.

  39. SlaterOllie27

    People in the world get the loan in various banks, just because that’s simple and comfortable.

  40. COCO

    http://wwww.anypearl.com Apologies if this irony has already been pointed out (head in sand again)

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