WikiLeaks – Right or Wrong?
When does full disclosure undermine our government and society? Where’s the balance between openness and effectiveness?
YES, THIS is (mostly) a blog about health matters, but every once in awhile I need to spout off about something unrelated to health; unless you’re willing to stick issues associated with politics, policy and good governance into a category called, “Health of the Nation”.
Let this post be so considered.
Today, the online exposé of “truth”, WikiLeaks, will publish very sensitive, secret information that the US government is, appropriately, sweating bullets over.
There is always an uncomfortable balance between secrecy and openness in a democracy. Often this teeter tottering happens beyond the glare of public scrutiny, but now in the age of the Internet we have WikiLeaks.
I agree with the government’s position that people will regard the “candid and often incomplete information” that is “not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy” as policy, as decisive, as fully representative of the US position. And, accordingly, they will inappropriately judge and react. And both people and our interests will be harmed. (More on this here.)
The last 10+ years amply demonstrate how reactive our population is to sound bites and pieces of inflammatory language. Too many of us do not study issues, but bash our heads against headlines.
That said, it would be a good thing for all governments to know that they cannot be nefarious, that people are watching and will shine the light on torture, warmongering, ecological devastation, hypocrisy and corruption!
Again, where’s the fulcrum that will hold it all in balance?
Given WikiLeaks access to sensitive, potentially life threatening information, it, and its media partners, have a duty to purge documents of information that compromise the lives of people, while at the same time expose intended or established policy and actions that comprise the very ideals (often shouted through the largest megaphone) of this and other countries.
My 2 cents. What’s yours? Weigh in at the Comments section below.