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Sun Aug 18, 2013, 04:49 PM

Are Manning and Snowden patriots? That depends on what we do next.

The spying is all about power and perpetual war. The all-knowing, all-powerful State.

By Andrew J. Bacevich

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/are-manning-and-snowden-patriots-that-depends-on-what-we-do-next/2013/08/16/2ee445e4-0376-11e3-88d6-d5795fab4637_story.html

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Wars — either actual hostilities or crises fostering the perception of imminent danger — facilitate this process. War exalts, elevates and sanctifies the state. Writing almost a century ago, journalist Randolph Bourne put the matter succinctly: “War is the health of the state.” Among citizens, war induces herd-like subservience. “A people at war,” Bourne wrote, “become in the most literal sense obedient, respectful, trustful children again, full of that naive faith in the all-wisdom and all-power of the adult who takes care of them.”

Bourne’s observation captures an essential theme of recent U.S. history. Before the Good War gave way to the Cold War and then to the open-ended Global War on Terror, the nation’s capital was a third-rate Southern city charged with printing currency and issuing Social Security checks. Several decades of war and quasi-war transformed it into today’s center of the universe. Washington demanded deference, and Americans fell into the habit of offering it. In matters of national security, they became if not obedient, at least compliant, taking cues from authorities who operated behind a wall of secrecy and claimed expertise in anticipating and deflecting threats.

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Critics and outsiders are not privy to the state’s superior knowledge; they are incapable of evaluating alleged threats. Here is the mechanism that confers status on insiders: the control of secrets. Their ownership of secrets puts them in the know. It also insulates them from accountability and renders them impervious to criticism.

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To understand this is to appreciate the importance of what Manning and Snowden have done and why their actions have produced panic in Washington. Here is irrefutable evidence of dissent penetrating the machine’s deepest recesses. Thanks to a couple of tech-savvy malcontents, anyone with access to the Internet now knows what only insiders were supposed to know.

By taking technology that the state employs to manufacture secrets and using it to make state secrecy impossible, they put the machine itself at risk. Forget al-Qaeda. Forget Iran’s nuclear program. Forget the rise of China. Manning and Snowden confront Washington with something far more worrisome. They threaten the power the state had carefully accrued amid recurring wars and the incessant preparation for war. In effect, they place in jeopardy the state’s very authority — while inviting the American people to consider the possibility that less militaristic and more democratic approaches to national security might exist.

In the eyes of the state, Manning and Snowden — and others who may carry on their work — can never be other than traitors. Whether the country eventually views them as patriots depends on what Americans do with the opportunity these two men have handed us.

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Published: August 16

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.”

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More at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/are-manning-and-snowden-patriots-that-depends-on-what-we-do-next/2013/08/16/2ee445e4-0376-11e3-88d6-d5795fab4637_story.html

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Response to chimpymustgo (Original post)


Response to Name removed (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 05:02 PM

2. "Clearly American Patriots. They have sacrificed their freedom, their families

possibly their futures to expose the corruption in our government.

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Response to chimpymustgo (Original post)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 08:07 PM

3. Snowden is a CRIMINAL - he has openly and publicly admitted that he committed crimes.


So, NO he is not a patriot.



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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 08:17 PM

4. How do you feel about Oliver North? Just curious. nt

 

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 08:24 PM

6. In my opinion, North is a criminal and should have gone to prison.


I think it is disgraceful that he is on TV.

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #6)

Mon Aug 19, 2013, 07:48 AM

7. Please tell us your opinion about Harriet Tubman, slave escaping criminal.

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 18, 2013, 08:20 PM

5. Harriett Tubman was a criminal - and aided and abetted criminal slaves escaping from their owners.

MLK was a criminal.

Nelson Mandela was a criminal.

Heroes, all - as is Snowden.

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