"Assange" -- look at that name. Two words, English and French. I wonder ... A spectacle that should have been shut down years ago or a true guardian of free speech and democracy?
One thing is certain. To call Julian Assange a "terrorist" is to strip a meaningful word of meaning. My definition of the term (http://www.amazon.com/SOURCE-TERRORISM-MIDDLE-REBELLION-Unveiled/dp/1601457855, scroll down) consists of 12 elements. Assange simply does not have them; he did not go through certain rites of passage, etc. Enough. Let's move on.
So far, the only thing weaker than 99% of the leaked cables -- a socialist tortilla in Venezuela? -- is our government's response to them. Hillary Clinton just doesn't get it. Nor do her advisors.
There are numerous ways to meet the WikiLeaks challenge. All of them have one thing in common: they are based not on imprisoning or killing Julian Assange, not on attacking or closing WikiLeaks, not on harassing WikiLeaks supporters and business partners, but on telling the truth.
Let's go straight to what the media are calling the most revealing set of cables to date. Arab leaders express in private the opposite of what they are saying in public. They have confided in U.S. diplomats a deep fear of Iranian nuclear power, and yearn for the overthrow of the Iranian government -- "cut off the head of the snake." The sooner, the better.
We all know the Middle East is a tough neighborhood. Saddam Hussein felt compelled to shilly-shally around about having weapons of mass destruction in order to hide how weak his army was. You saw what happened to him.
Mean-as-snakes power struggles in that part of the world are why it wouldn't be surprising if, when they are behind closed doors with Iranian officials, those same Arab leaders vociferously proclaim your nuclear power program is wonderful. Oh, Iranian brothers! We must unite and shake off the yoke of the evil American empire! The problem: we don't get to see the latter exchanges; we see only the ones written by U.S. diplomats.
So, what are the Arab leaders "really"? Pro or anti-America? Answer: both.
Ever been in court? Did they ask you "to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god"? The whole truth is in there for a reason.
Nobody is asking Assange to foretell all future consequences of his actions. The least WikiLeaks could do is follow the example of cigarette packs and issue a warning that its leaks are, in and of themselves, devoid of context, etc. The reason is, unlike bread, half a loaf of truth can be worse than none at all ...
Hegel once remarked that a perfect world is one where intentions and consequences coincide. Otherwise stated, no human intention -- no matter how pure -- is 100% waterproof. The real world seeps in. That dilemma is the stuff of great art, such as William Golding's novel, The Spire.
WikiLeaks leaks about the Middle East are certainly not neutral in their consequences. Creating the impression that Arab leaders ardently and unequivocally support a war with Iran plays splendidly into the hands of Washington hardliners. Paul Wolfowitz -- remember him? -- must be laughing in his comb. I seriously doubt that is what Assange intended.*
It is also doubtful Tehran is bothered by the comments the Arab leaders whispered in American ears. Iranians are superb game players; on one occasion they brilliantly one-upped the Roman Empire. Don't let it discourage you. To know your enemy is a giant step to knowing yourself.
I believe Julian Assange genuinely wants to right a few wrongs. Unfortunately, all action is imperfect. WikiLeaks leaks are no exception.
*Note: The question of whether or not the United States should engage in a war with Iran is not at issue here.