Figure Out What You Think About Wikileaks

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

I just closed the thread on Peter King, because I think--in terms of this community--I jumped the gun. It became clear in comments that there are a number of us who would actually like some space to sort out what we  think about Assange. In all honesty, I started a post on Wikileaks on Monday and deleted it, because I felt my thoughts weren't focused. Peter King's idiocy is a much easier target. It's always a mistake to avoid the hard questions, in favor of the soft ones.


My rather muddled thoughts are as follows: I do think the American public is served by knowing that the U.S. forces killed civilians and reporters, and evidently tried to cover it up. I do not think it serves the American public, or those of us who prefer diplomacy over armed force, to basically allow no anonymity for diplomats. Much of the recent Wikileaks dump just struck me as the kind embarrassing gossip that exposes no cover-ups, but could make diplomacy harder. 

Having said all that, I'm not sure that all of these question are even relevant. What responsibility does Assange have to this country? Does American media exist to serve the immediate good of the American public? Or is there some longer, greater, good in disclosing these dispatches? Is information, in and of itself, good?

It strikes me that there's a lot of discussion about Assange. I'm much more interested in why an Army Pfc. was so easily able to access such sensitive material. 

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Not much expertise here. I'm still trying to figure it all out. But I think we're better served talking about this, as opposed to the easily dismissed rantings of Peter King.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2010/12/figure-out-what-you-think-about-wikileaks/67266/