A people’s commitment to free speech is not shown in how much they merely talk about it. It is shown in how much they tolerate speech they do not like.
The recent debacle with WikiLeaks provides an excellent insight into the superficial lip service most Americans, on both sides of the isle, give to the issue.
I think the former prime minister of Russia, Vladmir Putin, summed up the dilemma quite well:
As they say in the countryside, some people’s cows can moo, but yours should keep quiet, –Vladimir Putin
Here’s my take.
We, that is the US, should sport a black eye from this. We need to accept that our security sucked and hopefully use it to motivate ourselves to do better in the future. It’s not so much a shock that a PFC had access to so much data (Bruce talks about why here). What is shocking is that there were apparently no safeguards at all put in place to prevent someone from doing what he did. Sucking down a ton of data, burning it to a disc, and then walking out with it.
I do not think Assange should be the issue. While I may not like the fact that he has caused the country that I love harm, I believe in the freedom of speech and expression and therefore believe he should be able to leak whatever he gets his hands on.
The real focus here should be on the traitor, PFC Manning, who gave Assange the information.
And here’s Ron Paul on the matter (thanks to a Facebook friend):