There has been a lot of talk lately about the “dangerous” predicament in which Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has put the American public. First, Assange published thousands of war logs from the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan earlier this year. It was said that the publication of this top secret information would leave troops vulnerable and “put the lives of Americans at risk.” Yet, no casualties directly linked to the information in the logs have been reported.
Most recently, Assange has been publishing and will continue to publish the 250,000 diplomatic cables leaked to him by an anonymous source. It has been said that this, as well, will put lives at risk and is considered to be “reckless” and “dangerous.” It is too soon to tell, but the grave danger is still to be seen.
The reality is, the American public has been living in a state of fear for nearly a decade. Ever since the Twin Towers were struck in 2001, it’s hard to escape the looming idea that we could suffer another devastating attack on our soil again at any time. Homeland Security has its color coded terror threat rating system and, with the most recent installation of body scanners at the airport, it isn’t a surprise that most people would rather stick their heads in the sand, fearing a hostile world, than to know the truth — which apparently isn’t as damaging as we thought.
Though we have embraced the information age fervently, too much information is considered a threat to national security. It would seem that a government for the people and by the people needs to be sheltered from the terrible storm raging beyond our borders. But Assange has proved that not only is knowledge power, it is also refreshing.
With the publication of the diplomatic cables came enlightening information about North Korea. Most people know by now that North Korea attacked South Korea last week without justification, killing four people. For years, North Korea has been a perceived threat with its cache of nuclear weapons and the possibility of sharing its nuclear technology with terrorist organizations. For the average person, North Korea would seem to be something to fear. But thanks to Wikileaks and the release of those diplomatic cables, our fear can finally begin to subside.
It is no secret that China is North Korea’s ally and the United States is South Korea’s. According to these cables, China, however, is losing patience with North Korea. Senior officials in Beijing even referred to North Korea as a “spoiled child.” And with just a few words that were supposed to remain top secret, the fact that China may not be willing to support North Korea in the future, the American public can have a little peace.
While political pundits, including Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, declare that organizations such as Wikileaks could cause irreparable damage, living in fear is getting tiresome. It is easy to keep using such a card when our wounds from 9/11 are so slow to heal, but we must remember — it wasn’t the release of top secret information that led to the breach of security that day. We may agree that some governmental documents should remain a secret, but those who want to hurt us most don’t need to go to Wikileaks to figure out how to do it.