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WikiLeaks and Government Responsibility

2010 December 3
by Julie Clawson

Since WikiLeaks released the first of the leaked government cables for public viewing, the outcry regarding the act has been overwhelming. Government officials are condemning the release, Amazon dropped WikiLeaks from its servers after they received a visit from Homeland Security, and media groups are calling the release an act of terrorism.

While I understand the need for discussion whether the release of these cables might endanger some people, I am uneasy condemning them simply because they reveal the embarrassing sins of the United States. In our country we have forgotten that social sin does indeed exist. Governments are not above morality and justice, but sadly often have the power and wealth to hide their sins from the judging eyes of the world. When all the people see is the façade the government constructs for themselves (while being sold the message that unquestioning patriotism is the highest virtue), it is easy for governments to avoid responsibility and accountability for their actions.
I don’t believe innocence is bliss. If my government is committing injustices or betraying the ideals of our nation, then the people who they supposedly report to should know about it. We are the only ones who can hold governments responsible – if we abdicate that role or if it is denied to us then government sin can abound.

But no one likes being called out on their sins. When John the Baptist called out Herod on his sinful ways, he was beheaded to shut him up. Intimidation and fear are the governments’ tools for keeping truth suppressed so they can continue to avoid responsibility. Amazon already gave into the pressure to be silenced, Julian Assange (WikiLeak’s founder) is currently in hiding, and the public is being told that revealing the truth is an act of terrorism. We are made to feel guilty for knowing the truth instead of the government owning up to those truths and taking responsibility for them.

Government is complex, I get that. But that doesn’t mean that it is exempt from morality. Perhaps WikiLeaks is the martyr that will wake us up to the need to hold our government to those basic standards of morality.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. December 3, 2010

    Well said!!!
    Thank you for putting words to thoughts that I couldn’t articulate.

  2. December 4, 2010

    Good post Julie. I’m reminded of Shakespeare’s words, “All the world’s a stage…” WikiLeaks has taken us backstage, beyond the roles and the acting. The moment we go in to that place of congruency where our words are at one with our actions, we just can’t cope with it. It won’t be long now and we’ll all be shooed out from behind the stage and new ways will be found to keep its doors locked, and the show will, sadly, go on.

  3. December 4, 2010

    Normally I’m with you in this take on WikiLeaks and government transparency… but not this time. I’ve worked in diplomacy, albeit briefly, and a lot of the talking behind the scenes is neither sinful nor corrupt – it’s brutally honest, and necessary in order for people to understand complex situations and decide how to proceed. In leaking this latest round of cables, WikiLeaks has damaged some of our diplomatic relationships. Keep in mind that diplomacy is often our best tool for effecting change and avoiding military action – I don’t think we’ve gained much by this leak and I think we’ve lost far more.

  4. Migzilla permalink
    December 14, 2010

    “Terrorist” is the new “communist”. Not too long ago, some folks spoke of “terror babies” (in reference to so called “anchor babies”), and the possibility of terrorists coming across the border. I’m sure if we took the time, we could think of several other examples where this term “terrorist” has created panic (not to mention, justified the “accidental” murders of countless innocent civilians in our so called “war on terror”). It’s scary to see how, little by little, we’re coming to accept this idea that unless you’re an unquestioning patriot, you must be a terrorist (or at least support terrorism). It sounds like the crap Glen Beck preaches.

    I love my country, but I love G-d and mankind too. If we’re doing immoral things, those responsible should be held accountable (as you and I would be if we broke the law). If that makes me a “terrorist”, I couldn’t care less.

    But don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these WikiLeaks are a good thing either. I don’t really have strong opinions either way. But just like when the government keeps a watchful eye on us; if you’re doing nothing wrong, you have little to worry about.

    Great post! I’m not Christian, but I really enjoy reading your blog.

    Migzilla

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