That is a great speech. So much to like. Statists love it too. “If you knew what I knew …” blah, blah, blah. Yet there is a not-so-small problem; in the story, Colonel Jessup is a criminal.
This brings me to an op-ed in the Fairfax media about Edward Snowden.
Having betrayed his own state, the man who revealed the secrets of the United States’ National Security Agency needs to find out what it is like to live at the mercy of other states. Acting in the name of a morality that disdains allegiance to the rule of national law, he deserves to see what life is like beyond its protection. When he thought that Ecuador was going to give him political asylum, he wrote an oily letter to its president in which he declared that the US system of surveillance was ”a grave violation of our universal human rights”. Now let him find out how hollow those rights are when not guaranteed within a democratic legal order. Let him eat the free peanuts in the transit lounge of life, and learn, too late, what is needed to defend a free people.
Yes – it does worry me that Snowden is seeking asylum from nations with very poor commitment to human freedom and the like. But that is not the issue here. Snowden revealed that the US government is/was spying on its own civilian population.
So the op-ed makes the argument:
The obvious beneficiaries of all of this are not civil liberties. They are those who wish to embarrass the West – the Chinese, who can now push back against US attempts to expose their cyber attacks on American government and industry, Vladimir Putin, German leftists, South American populists and the sort of rent-a-mobs who are so confused that they burn the French flag in La Paz.
Well no. I suspect the Chinese and Putin knew the US government was spying on its own citizens already. German leftists and South American populists claimed the US was spying on its citizens for years (don’t you just hate it when lunatic fringe conspiracy theories turn out to be true?).
Embarrassing the government is not treason.