Netwar meets Oprah: The Wikileaks Files, Volume whatever

Like you, KOW reader, I have been pondering the ongoing wikileaks story trying to puzzle out what it all means, what it tells us about what is happening to world society, the state system, war and international security. You are no doubt familiar with the rudiments of the story, if not you are on the wrong blog. So, what does it all mean? For what it’s worth, here’s my take.

First off, we have yet more evidence that the great Spirit in the Sky has a taste for comic irony. Consider, what have we learned from the leaks themselves, specifically the gargantuan flood of US government ‘SECRET’ diplomatic cables? Well, it seems to me, the ‘biggies’, in a nutshell are that American officials when speaking for clarity rather than diplomacy say stuff like this:

1. North Korea, complete arseholes–even the Chinese have outgrown them.

2. Russia, a whole country run like The Sopranos only with less charm and public spiritedness.

3. Iran, such manifest dips***s that even their neighbours want them dead.

I paraphrase, of course, but only a bit. How does this set back the goals of the United States? Not at all is my guess. In fact, these messages (true and accurate), conveyed in this way, add credibility to America’s generally lamentable official strategic communications efforts. Uncle Sam comes off looking pretty good–a bit hapless for a superpower, often fumbling and confused, but generally working for what it hopes is the good in a world composed of shades of gray. The leaks provide no comfort at all to conspiracists hoping they’d reveal the sinister machinations of some dark master. 

Which makes all the more amusing the efforts of the defenders of Julian Assange to prop up his image. He, as of course you have heard, is outraged about leaks of police documents containing details of his alleged sexual assault of two Swedish women. Frankly, the details (such as they are) are not all that important; they basically reveal that Assange is a creep and a self-centred predator, which was also kind of obvious a priori. At Christmas time you’ll forgive me for getting all Biblical, I cannot help but think of Paul’s email to the Galatians: ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’ 

Assange, in my opinion, has always been a stalking horse for anti-Americanism (not that that’s particularly surprising, America-haters are cheap as chips). But what’s helpful about this situation, from an American public relations perspective, is the sight of the likes of Michael Moore, Ken Loach and John Pilger rushing to this cretin’s defence claiming that the CIA has put these two women up to it in order to smear Assange. Yeah, right, I’d sooner believe the CIA had recruited Bin Laden’s beard-trimmer than these two Swedish lefties. It wasn’t his looks these women admired it was his politics; they don’t appear to bear any ideological grudge against him, it’s just that he’s the ‘worst screw ever‘ (which apparently is against the law in Sweden).

But all of the above is ephemera–there’s nothing particularly revelatory in the leaks about the United States or about Assange. Lots of salacious and amusing tittle-tattle but not much else. Underneath, however, there are some really quite important things going on which this story helps to bring into focus.

The neo-Marxian scholar Manuel Castells has been saying for a while now has argued, in voluminous length and detail, that we are becoming a Network Society:

… as an historical trend, dominant functions and processes in the Information Age are increasingly organized around networks. Networks constitute the new social morphology of our societies, and the diffusion of networking logic substantially modifies the operation and outcomes in processes of production, experience, power and culture. While the networking form of social organization has existed in other times and spaces, the new information technology paradigm provides the material basis for its pervasive expansion throughout the entire social structure. Furthermore, I would argue that this networking logic induces a social determination of a higher level than that of the specific social interests expressed through the networks: the power of flows takes precedence over the flows of power. Presence or absence in the network and the dynamics of each network vis-a-vis others are critical sources of domination and change in our society: a society that, therefore, we may properly call the network society, characterized by the preeminence of social morphology over social action.

If you fancy yourself a contemporary strategist you really need to be reading Castells. If, as Clausewitz tells us, the supreme act of strategy is to understand the nature of the war one is in then the place to start surely is with some understanding of the precepts of the society from which it emerges. Honestly, I find Castells hard going–a source of both startling illumination and irritating puzzlement–but there’s no doubt that he more than any other has plotted the contours of the Network Society and what it means for social action of varying types from industrial and financial enterprise, politics and cultural endeavour, to war. In plain English what I think he means about the Network Society, as it might relate to the Wikileaks story, is that in the Information Age:

1. If the world wants to see your naughty bits then by hook or by crook most likely they will see them. This is a general rule which applies to states as well as individuals, ask Hillary Clinton, or Julian Assange, or Hermione Granger for that matter.

2. Power is being radically reshaped in the way that it manifests, shifting away from static power-wielding entities towards something more formless and perhaps insensate–to the flow itself. Again this is true generally, whether for states or individuals. Assange is not the interesting part of this story, neither are the unguarded reports of American diplomats the conclusions of which are no surprise I should think to even casual newspaper readers, or the actions of the United States government acting, wisely or not, on the collective behalf of Americans.

Think about the first point for a second. More than a decade ago John Arquila and David Ronfeldt of RAND wrote a terrific monograph on the Advent of Netwar in which they described the emergence of a new form of warfare conducted by networked social actors. The piece still bears reading–it’s prophetic and there is still something to learn in every chapter. But 15 years later we can now say a few more concrete things about the concept. For instance, in chapter 5 on ‘Challenges for US Policy and Organization’ they write,

The Information Revolution is about both technology and organization. While technology innovation is revitalizing the network form, one must not ignore the importance of organizational innovation. Indeed, every information revolution has involved an interplay between technology and organization that affects who wins and loses.  

Now, let’s remind ourselves of how this stuff leaked in the first place: 3 million people including the actual leaker, army PFC Bradley Manning, had access to these ‘SECRET’ communications in a digital form which means they’d fit on a data stick–or as in this case a CD cunningly disguised as carrying Lady Gaga tracks by the amazingly crafty technique of writing ‘Lady Gaga’ on the case. Hierarchical organizations, as Arquila and Ronfeldt note, have real difficulty with adopting/adapting to network forms–they have a lot of baggage to shift over–but the degree of incompetence and failure of imagination which contrived such a system as the above is mind-boggling. Presumably the DOD paid for the RAND study. Did they read it? American organizational innovation for ‘Netwar’ is pretty obviously atrocious.

I would add, however, that the Information Revolution is also about culture. And here’s where people should be really alarmed. As a former student of mine put it:

Wikileaks is a wonder. Does any one remember the old days when a ‘leak’ was something reserved for heads of state and done only to the paper of record? Then secretaries and congressmen/MPs did it to the prominent paper of fellow travelers… then Generals and senior bureaucrats to regionally important media… then simple government employees and officers with an axe to grind to whatever media would listen… and now finally we have the perfect democratic leaker: a malcontent Army private with a conflicted view of his own sexuality leaks to you, dear reader, directly. Strategic corporal meets Oprah–the natural outcome of the marriage of ‘Netwar’ with the reality of sort of people armies actually recruit.

As far as Assange goes, personally, I think the appropriate historical comparison is not, as some have imagined, Spartacus, but Typhoid Mary. By this I don’t mean a value judgement (though obviously I don’t like him) but rather to suggest that Assange, like Mary Mallon, possesses less historical agency than the Spartacus analogy will support. Early Industrial Age society was highly vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious disease because viruses thrived among workers living in cramped urban conditions before society evolved better public health and hygiene systems. The Network Society will suffer similar ailments until it evolves better data hygiene practices.

A friend has argued that the Typhoid Mary analogy freights transparency, or ‘some level of truth’, with communicable disease and is therefore loaded and pejorative. ‘If the disease afflicting Wikileaks’, he says, ‘is the tendency to tell the truth about war better than the democracies that prosecute them then, please, poison me with the ailment and I hope I never get cured.’ I take his point which is a good one. I too am rather in favour of transparency, generally; I just don’t think that Wikileaks is particularly interested in a ‘truth’ other than the one they had preconceived which is the same as that long championed by reprobate minds like Moore’s and Pilger’s who believe the United States to be acutely malign and who reckon (contrary to reason) that the leaks actually demonstrate this to be true. Anyway, leave that. I’m open to suggestions of a better analogy.

Of late there has been a tendency to think of cyberspace as a part of the ‘global commons’–see, for instance, this Atlantic Council report on ‘Protecting the Global Commons‘ (warning: gigantic .pdf). There is a lot of merit to this concept, I think. But it has also got a major drawback. The ‘global commons’ is typically thought to comprise the maritime domain as well as space and aerospace (or the atmosphere). Cyberspace, however, is in several, I believe highly significant, respects completely different from these other domains. For one, people don’t live in these domains–they pass through them, they work in them, they exploit their potential as a vector of attack or observation, but they don’t inhabit them in the way, oddly, we are coming to inhabit cyberspace (more precisely, that the distinction between cyberspace and ‘real space’ is looking increasingly indeterminate). For two, in these other elements there is an inherent distance which is to be conquered if they are to be exploited, usually by some platform designed to carry frail humans and protect them from the hostility of the environment. Cyberspace is not like that. Hostile it may be but platform-centric it is not–unless you imagine yourself riding your iPhone like Tron’s light-cycle through the CPUs of the world’s interconnected computers or some other anthropomorphic nonsense. The barriers to entry to cyberspace are so low that the chances are better than  1 in 2 wherever you are in the world that the person next to you owns a mobile phone and the whole point of cyberspace is that it collapses distance. If cyberspace is the global commons then the global commons is in your head and so too, potentially, are 6 billion others. Bringing this back to Assange, let me quote my former student again:

Gone for the press is the last element of control. We have no need of middle men to interpret reality. We also have no need for ‘old hands’ full of rolodexes or Blackberries that can talk to the right guy and in this department or that staff and get the juicy detail. Any old joker with an axe to grind can now go direct to the masses. Whatever happens to Mr. Assange, he has changed the world in that regard. Mr. Assange no doubt knows the great Aussie idiom ‘Cut down the tall poppies’. His moment is at hand, his attempt to set up a cult with him at the helm won’t last in a democratized age: just as the leakers don’t need the media, they don’t need him, or wikileaks, or anybody. They just need you.

Man, sorry for this long post. Are you still there or did you get stuck at Hermione’s underpants? My student is a plain-talker. How might Castells say the same thing? I think he might say something like de-territorialized insurgency is the paradigmatic conflict type of the Information Age: ‘The conflicts of our time are fought by networked social actors aiming to reach their constituencies and target audiences through the decisive switch to multimedia communication networks.’ And whether he realizes it or not Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, thinks this way too, if I understand correctly what he meant in a speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies earlier this year in which he said, ‘Conflict today, especially because so much of it is effectively fought through the medium of the Communications Revolution, is principally about and for People – hearts and minds on a mass scale.’ 

Now what exactly he means by ‘through the medium of the Communications Revolution’ I’m not sure and I doubt that he is either. To be honest, I think ‘hearts and minds on a mass scale’ is not right. It has a strong whiff of the Industrial Age; mass scale is not a concept which translates to the Information Age which is all about individuation very seamlessly. Now readers of this blog will recall that before all this happened I was pointing towards ‘Anonymous‘ as an emergent web-based threat which merited a lot more scholarly attention. Excuse me while I congratulate myself for being two months ahead of the curve.  Hey, in Internet time two months is a lot. Someone should write me a large research grant cheque. 

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37 thoughts on “Netwar meets Oprah: The Wikileaks Files, Volume whatever

  1. Pingback: Netwar meets Oprah: The Wikileaks Files, Volume whatever « Lo Szabo

  2. Buster says:

    Calling this “Netwar meets Oprah” delusional, misinformed and opinionated wouldn’t be out of place.
    Actually the immaturity is rather obvious. Sometimes when someone is trying to do a selfless act for others benefit it is not apparent at the time. You just don’t get it!
    Go out into the real world at your own expense without Mama and Dad footing the bill and do it in a foreign country.
    Don’t be so jealous of Wikileaks Mr. Assange
    The problem of education today!

    • David Betz says:

      I am on a gap year right now, Buster. I hope I’ll grow up some. Anyway, I’ll try harder next time.

    • Michael says:

      Not following you here, Buster. I don’t for example, see the error in having an opinion in an opinion blog. Also not seeing where the immaturity is here. Nor do I see how exactly what Mr. Assange did will ever benefit future generations. I do, however see how what he put out will: A. Led to the deaths of a American informants in Iraq and Afganistan. B. Make a lot of countries who had previously worked with American Intelligence a lot more reluctant to do so. A good thing?

    • Ed says:

      I believe this is one of those questions of dogma. For certain individuals, Wikileaks is a Good Thing. That is simply true (for them). Therefore, anything that even hints this is not so is a Bad Thing (and therefore Wrong). You may compare that to not only religious belief, but fundamentalism. I couldn’t possibly comment. One thing is for sure: someone with beliefs like that will conform to Winston Churchill’s saying: “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

      ps One wonders how old “Buster” is, and how much real life experience he has.

    • Michael says:

      Undoubtedly the informant who’s family will soon be dead will think this is a bad thing. Mr. Assange thinks that blacking out a name here or there will save them. This shows a shocking lack of imagination.

    • Jules says:

      The wikileaks opposition would have no doubt exposed such atrocities by now. Those informant families you talk about dont exist. Name the leak you are talking about.

  3. brian says:

    I found this piece odd. One thing I got from it however (if nothing else) was this: you need to educate yourself on more of what’s actually been leaked. The three little paraphrases you offered are only the tip of the iceberg and yes, they are trivial, but many others that have come out are not trivial. For example; proof that the US paid for child sex slaves as entertainers for diplomatic parties in the Middle East; proof of various corruptions and conspiracies between governments and oil giants; proof of government officials stealing from governments; proof that Chinese science holds much greater advances currently than they’ve let on… proof that North Korea has an active nuclear program with details previously unknown… the list goes on. You’re talking and quoting other people talking but not really finding out much truth for yourself. You should change that.

  4. Callum Lane says:

    I remain sceptical about this so called Communications Revolution and Castell’s second point. It seems to me that we are looking at things from a very liberal western perspective – unsurprisingly because it is our perspective.

    Information only equates to power when it causes a change to behaviour. This is apparent in the West because politics in the West has become increasingly sensitive to the Media. It is almost the perfect storm in that media freedom meets political sensitivity. We do not see the same degree of political sensitivity or media freedom in other countries and cultures (ie: China, Russia, Middle East, Sri Lanka). Looking at general Richard’s speech I would say that ‘so much of it is effectively fought through the medium of the Communications Revolution because we allow ourselves to be fought there”. Even in the West I am not sure how truely malleable to public opinion and the media the levers of power can be – look at the British Government and the decision to go to war in 2003. the wiki-leaks leaks this year have had no apparent significant impact to date.

    Lastly – Buster: Presumably Mr Assange just ‘doesn’t get it’ at the moment because someone has selflessly leaked the details of his case for the benefit of others?

  5. Charles says:

    How long will it be before people start leaking misinformation to WikiLeaks to further their own political ends or throw ‘them’ off ‘their’ tracks? Hey, if MI6 can fund a fake Taliban leader, then I’m sure someone could give WikiLeaks a run for their money…

    • Michael says:

      This is an important point, but I wouldn’t put it at the hands of MI6, and I wouldn’t say it has to go through WikiLeaks. It could be anyone, and it could go anywhere. To see where this could go, take a look at what goes on amongst day-traders. Fraud-for-profit is a high art with the goal being to trick enough people long enough to make a fortune and then vanish. Where did the fraud come from? You can guess, but if enough people are doing it, the fraud catchers soon reach saturation. What happens then? Even the lies take on an element of utility, if for no other reason than the marketplace of information takes them into account as well.

    • Charles says:

      I was only using MI6 as an example, but we’re on the same wavelength. WikiLeaks is just another outlet/source, whether the information is true or not, and those boasting about how great WikiLeaks is going to be for Democracy will need to check and double-check the information released or they could come away looking mighty silly. Kind of sounds like the situation with the Media…

    • Michael says:

      Yes we are on the same wavelength. I have no idea how this will all play out—but I don’t see the quality of information getting better, on average, and I don’t see a ‘more informed (quantity) public’ equating to a ‘more rational (quality) political process’.

  6. The Faceless Bureaucrat says:

    Hmmm…where’s the Granger danger, stranger?

    Here’s my dilemma: when we get a group of young adults out in Parliament Square throwing rubbish bins at princes, we are quick to write some/most/all off them as ‘trouble makers’ or ‘rent-a-protesters’. But when a similar group of probably mostly the same age online hactivists does the equivalent to Master Card, we give them props, tipping our hats to them as cyber Jedi. Why? Is there a quantum difference between wikileaks and the Pentagon Papers and their respective angry mobs supporting them?

  7. DE Teodoru says:

    Well, here we are with a third president we suspect is being blackmailed by the Pentagon– the same Pentagon that failed miserably, despite limitless assets, to win any of the wars it started. Why? Thanks to the strategic secret WashPo Wikileaks-look-alike, namely Woodward, we know that it is because the Pentagon has been led by incompetents with the uniformed Chiefs as parrots on their shoulders. We have come, since DERELICTION OF DUTY, to see a great gap between what’s asked of a soldier and what’s asked of a “stars chasing general,” indeed even some generals have “leaked” in disgust. As for DoS, who did not know what human refuse floats through its hallways? Our post WWII history is replete with accounts of semi-literates destroying the American common man. Have we all forgotten that 9/11 could not have happened without gross incompetence and dereliction of duty by the intel community and the airlines?

    But now there’s no draft, so the “aint my kid going to war” mom and dads prefer losing more mom&dad soldiers to make for ever more orphans&widows back home. Afterall, they volunteered, no one forced them….so let them do what they’re paid to do!!!

    Into this world of “disconnection” Wikileaks throws a treasure trove of the tactical stuff upon which the strategic imecility is built. Lo and behold, we now know the dribble that passes for know-how in our defense and foreign policies. Wikileaks shows us what our embassies send to DoS and our commands to DoD, not what is, but whatever garbage they pick up at parties abroad. Now we know that the fools at the top must suffer the fools all the way down below them at operational and tactical levels. But we prefer the Woodward stuff because presidents we can replace with any fool. Generals and diplomats, somehow we always thought, are the backbone of what makes America great. Soon after we discovered that Wall Street and our friendly neighborgood bankers are nothing but shysters, we discover that the hayseeds in oporational command are just that. Now perhaps, we’ll learn that an uneducated country cannot stand up even to North Korea, which our dear Mr. Betz cannot conceive of as a subtle Chinese-Russian proxy. We are indeed a dying empire. I only feel sad for the kids, those innocents who have to inherit what we let come into being: a nation run by the lowest common denominator.

    • Michael says:

      Father Bernard, who did my confirmation into the Catholic faith back in University paraphrased some other wise sage when he said “If you can find a perfect faith, convert. But know when you do, you make it imperfect.” Perhaps there isn’t anything nice to say about the IC or DoD or DoS. The power of WikiLeaks is that soon we are likely to see what the competition is all about too. The files from the old Soviet Union/Eastern Bloc show a system rife with corruption, drunkenness and incompetence held together by nepotism and cruelty. Me thinks your comment isn’t unique about America, but is rather a depressing indict of governance itself. In that regard, you might be right.

  8. DE Teodoru says:

    It is Ed, especially when Sunshine Patriots who think “ain’t my kid going to war” allow a guy who did a PhD thesis on Vietnam to repeat all the major errors.

    Apply to the SURGEon the same consequences one would employ on a failed physician and see how much better the US military gets to be.

  9. “Man, sorry for this long post. Are you still there or did you get stuck at Hermione’s underpants?”

    It was my pleasure to stryggle through it, best write-up of the Assange event I have read to date.

    Of course the cat is out the bag now, and there will be a multitude of different xxxleaks sites, with different editorial policies, some good and some bad.

    I am happy to encourage a culture of transparancy but that should be used responsibly and judiciously, so for that reason i won’t be sorry to see the back of wikileaks or assange.

    Merry xmas

    JBT

  10. it’s a delight to see you reference our 1996 “advent of netwar” study. i’d add that we may have done better getting at cultural dimensions in our 2001 follow-up study: “networks and netwars” (.pdfs downloadable at rand.org).

    wikileaks and related activities do indeed provide a phenomenal expression of social netwar. it’s still far from unfolded, full of ironies, contradictions, and paradoxes, shifting shape as one then another keen observer has a go at it.

    many observers have focused mainly on the phenomenon’s implications for institutions that depend on hierarchies: states, corporations. myself, i’d like to see more about the implications for the rise of organizations that depend on network forms in civil-society sectors, esp ones that favor transparency. it’s still early to be sure about such implications.

  11. DE Teodoru says:

    Imagine, Mr. Betz, a surgeon who leaves in your belly sponges, fails to clip arteries and does not coagulate skin bleeders. Yet, he did a wonderful job of incredibly quickly reaching the tumor.

    Please, sir, place the standards you would demand of a surgeon whose masked face is the last thing you see before going under from anesthesia. Would you think the “great” SURGEon of Iraq and Afghanistan meets those standards? What in the strategic level Woodward’s “wikileaks” in his books and the tactical Wikileaks of DoD and DoS low-level documents we were presented gives you that confidence?

    Lastly, would you allow submission of your biological kids to what your compatriot kids who patriotically enlisted are subjected to under Petraeus as consequence of their military deployment?

    I so want my adopted country to succeed, but the clinical picture bodes a dark prognosis. Do you know something I don’t know?

  12. Berserker says:

    “…Assange is a creep and a self-centred predator, which was also kind of obvious a priori.”

    Well, give him a knighthood then, like Mick Jagger.

    Sorry, that’s Sir Mick.

    • Michael says:

      Give it time—Mr. Assange’s libidinous nature has only reached ‘icky’ it hasn’t yet reached ‘epic’. To impress the Royals will require a lot more effort.

  13. Madhu says:

    Interesting and wide-ranging post!

    Because I never can think in a straight-line, the whole thing reminds me of:

    All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages.

    Not only will everyone have 15 minutes of fame, but everyone will have to be ready for their close-up, too, Mr. DeMille.

    Oh good grief. See what you people have done to me?

  14. Madhu says:

    Er, off-topic, but: who is the online masters in War Studies suitable for? What sort of time committment is involved?

    • just love this argument. Saddam kielld and tortured his own people so that justifies us going over to kill and torture some more? There is documented evidence of war crimes and everyone wants to shoot the messenger. Go after Assange, go after this kid who served his country like the asshole 3lSakaMostr0 did by calling him a fag. When we call the admin to the carpet we are told we are disrespecting the troops, you pro torture people skip the admin and dis troops directly

  15. Madhu says:

    The leaks provide no comfort at all to conspiracists hoping they’d reveal the sinister machinations of some dark master.

    Eh. Conspiracists will find something. A comma placed wrong, a paragraph not indented. Conspiracists see what they want to see.

    Human beings will do everything under the sun to resist a truth they don’t want to acknowledge. Conspiracist and non-conspiracist alike.

    Now. Shall I leave the blog stage left, or stage right, for the present act?

  16. tequila says:

    If anything, Wikileaks shows the continued importance of the mainstream media in the gatekeeper role. Wikileaks has been around for a long time – only when they began releasing PFC Manning’s files to large newspapers like the NYTIMES and the GUARDIAN did they catch on as a massive media phenomenon. Compare the relative reaction to their independently-released doc dump about the Iraq War, complete with Apache gun camera footage, to the latest dump (which went first to the aforementioned newspapers) of relatively innocuous State Department documents. In this case, Wikileaks couldn’t even get the documents out on their own on time – almost everyone got the information secondhand, through newspaper websites.

  17. domnuledoctor says:

    Bravo “tequila”! Given how much the US Gov has screwed up since Cold War (where it didn’t do so great) one can hardly deem the content of the Wikileak cables of much strategic value, nor too informative. The DoS channel, through which works most of our external shadow reach, has proven to be both very often MISinformative and indiscriminant garbage sweeping vacuum cleaner. Thus, the polarization of America is reflected in our media bias, as is its economic survival desperation for “scoops.” Wikileaks has done little to “bring us together.” It is hard to imagine how an unreading public can be made to read scoops. But advertising is still back half a century and may well invest initial funds into this new “hybrid” Internet media for a while as it offers a means of capturing personal data on browsers for marketing purposes. Nevertheless, visual media still trumps written media and the fate of NYTimes, WashPo, etc. is a foregone conclusion. It is hard to imagine how the “PRINT” media will survive using video scoops!!

    Wikileaks is also a Vietnam War Era idea when there was a draft and people were personally involved. Consequently, going to the media today does little for the media and nothing for the reader. Instead, the reader of the Wikileaks product falls victim to GOV’s acquired image as a garbage collector without a bag, spewing the garbage feeding our intel agencies. Devoid of context, it is useless and the media spin in no way makes it more attention trapping. Foreign secret info is the coin of the realm in Wash DC but not in the rest of the nation. Without a draft, foreign affairs tidbits do not feed the media nor Wikileaks. Nevertheless, for people who keep up in depth with issues, one thing is clear: “classification” is stamped on “info” to give it value and power in the narrow realm of GOV or to cover-up incredible imbecility. Americans have an aversion to past tense so they won’t pay for such enlightenment. There’s no Oprah Phenomenon in Wikileaks!

    Years from now, Wikileaks will be what FRUS was for Cold War academics, a chance to say, “I told you so.” But for now, Wikileaks is useful only to expose the mediocrity of mind that runs through the Defense and State Depts—no news there! Our GOV bureaucracies live as if the US will never fail because of their incompetence while in the meantime it is an exquisite place to play bureaucratic power and wealth games with corporations dependent on looting the public tax Treasury.

    We are indeed afforded an insight into how status, wealth and even the paying of the WashDC suburban mortgage secures the daily bread of about half of America’s work force, dependent on GOV paying the salaries. Wikileaks is useful to anyone trying to appreciate the mediocre weak mortar between the bricks that make up the American GOV Tower of Babble. It just takes a lot more background to read the tea leaves than some thought. In that respect, the media thinks it has found a raison d’etre as guide thanks to Wikileaks. Alas, there are too many US officials who in a bar or in bed, after a few drinks, leak a lot more than what Wikileaks provides. So far, Wikileaks has yet to be as effective a true story-teller as Seymour Hersh, for example.

  18. DE Teodoru says:

    Well, we’re now learning what the 4-stars did with their times. A lot of combat/library colonels must be wondering if they shouldn’t just look for a waiter job because “defense” is going to get exsanguinated in America’s self-defense!

    Chinese won us so it could only a Petraeus-type PhD who worries about Beijing picking up where alQaeda left off!

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