"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jun 10, 2013

Contrast

Not knowing enough about Edward Snowden to do more than check the spelling of his name, I will nonetheless steal a moment to consider his distinction from our other, more notorious leaker of government secrets, Bradley Manning.

Before I do that for the six readers I have left (finally, I'm back where I belong), here's a redirection towards Tarzie. It's worth a read.

For mine own, I think it's worth noting that the professional security state operator, Snowden, who is an alum of both the CIA and the NSA as well as a private contractor, showed far greater understanding of the system in which he chose to play his hand, than young Mr. Manning.

This is not, you would understand, a critique of Bradley Manning. Manning is no dummy, and I reject the notion that he was a misguided naïf, on the evidence. But, Manning did what he did without seeking egress from that system. He played his hand while betting his life.

He risked everything while he was still at risk.

Snowden, it would appear, was far more sanguine to how the network operates. By the time he decided to go public with his name, he was safely ensconced in the embrace of the Middle Kingdom, where efforts to "extract" him will come up against the rough reality of "international incidents."

As a matter of temperament, this recommends Snowden to me. He was clever enough to have an escape plan. For all that I appreciate his apparent skill in striking a blow at empire, I trust him less for having been smart about it. This is the mistrust that comes from recognizing a player of high stakes games for what he is.

We can admire his gamble, and the consequences of it, but it would be smart to remember that unlike Manning, Snowden's was the gambit of someone who knows how to adapt to and exist within a predatory environment.

This isn't a moral judgment against Snowden, who I don't know, or a backhanded swipe against Manning, whom I've also never met. But, on the surface and at examination, these are different men. And it costs nothing to keep that in mind.

3 comments:

Jim H. said...

Well-tuned remarks. Analysis spot on. Trap door in place? Check.

I'm trying to figure out what, if anything, we actually learned from Snowden. This all sounds like old news to me. WIRED magazine has been on it. As have a ton of on-line folk and other civil libertarian types.

[Pleased to be among the six.]

Jack Crow said...

Thanks, Jim. I listened to the interview with Snowden when I was writing it. He seems even tempered and measured in his responses, but that only means that he knows how to keep his cool in a mostly favorable environment.

I think that what he did isn't really all that revelatory. His leaks verified an open secret. They establish scope. They've made some of our liberal friends take positions they weren't taking five years ago.

As for the rest, too soon to tell.

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