Ellsberg: traitor, with an explanation. That is, he illegally disclosed classified document, with a subjective belief he was acting in the best interests of the country. The problem is that people with security clearances don’t get to make that determination independently; they are generally obligated to keep secret what they agreed to keep secret.
Novak: traitor, with an explanation. That is, he illegally disclosed classified document, with a subjective belief he was acting in the best interests of the country. The problem is that people with security clearances don’t get to make that determination independently; they are generally obligated to keep secret what they agreed to keep secret. And in his case, it may be that his disclosure was not the first – that is, he “disclosed” something that was already public.
I don’t think either of them deserve harsh censure, but neither would I call either of them heroes.
You can see from his reply. He defines “patriot” and “traitor” not in terms of love or betrayal of country or ideals, but only in terms of compliance with the technicalities of a particular law. Morality is not a consideration for him, and there is no evidence that he even knows what it is. Only the letter of the lawbooks and the current policy pronouncements of the Republican National Committee and the Vatican matter to him. He has no independent thought of his own except when trying to craft Gotchas like the one here.
I’ve asked him a number of times and have never received a reply, even the No that the evidence would support; maybe you can try instead if you like: “Is there or is there not such a thing as the spirit of the law, distinct from the letter of the law?”
All beliefs are subjective. In this case, he’s using it as a way to avoid facts he finds inconvenient, even if they’re at the heart of this latest of Gotcha attempt.
But okay, let’s try it your way: “What part of ‘lie’ or ‘war’ is a fucking belief?”
Pfft. Silly partisan details. Trifling. If you think Novak was wrong you simply must consider Ellsberg equally so, or else you must volunteer to bathe Novak’s deceased scrotum with rose oil (mixed with tears from your mourning). The two situations are clearly equivalent enough for that.
As a general matter, I want the soldiers in our military to always follow orders, but if the order is to slaughter an entire village of women and children or to stack naked prisoners like cordwood, I’m not going to label them traitors because they refuse.
The American public had a right to know how the war in Vietnam was being conducted and that the government was being dishonest with them. The public had no reason to know that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative.
When Ellsberg dies Bricker can start a Scumbag of Freedom thread or somesuch. Right now all he’s doing is deflecting and redirecting.
Novak was a traitor who outed an American spy out of spite. It was a dispicable and traitorous thing to do. He was no one’s pawn. He was a willing participant in a ruse to discredit a critic of the Bush administration. May he rot in hell.
Can we agree that neither made his decision in a vacuum; rather each had time to consider whether what he was doing was indeed in the best interests the country?
Can we agree that we’ve had ample time to consider whether their respective assessments were correct, and if they weren’t, whether the mistake was borne of ignorance or negligence OR whether it was simply motivated by malice?
If so, then what would you say of each?
Was Elsberg acting in the best interest of the country? Why or why not?
If not, was his mistake born of ignorance or negligence or was it no mistake at all but intentional and malicious?
Same questions re Novack
Well, doing things wrong doesn’t hurt your reputation. Being found out hurts your reputation.
Well, for one thing, we had a population of 225 million, and North Vietnam had a population of 16 million. Even taking into account our desire not to bring the Soviets in, we outclassed North Vietnam economically and militarily in every category. And also, South Vietnam didn’t fall until after we pulled out and then refused to aid them. If the US had stayed in there indefinitely, I don’t think there’s any way North Vietnam would have been able to take South Vietnam over. Of course, I don’t think the US or South Vietnam would have been able to take North Vietnam over either, because of, like I said, the Soviets, but I think it’s possible that some sort of peace could be worked out maintaining the status quo ante, like what happened in Korea.
Anyway, that’s sort of off the point. I don’t think either Ellsberg or Novak were traitors, although Ellsberg broke the law, and Novak quite possibly did so (although I don’t know…does a journalist have an obligation not to reveal classified information given to him? I don’t think he does…it would be the leaker who broke the law, wouldn’t it?)
I’m not deflecting or redirecting. I’m trying to discover what criteria are used in your definition of “traitor.”
On the basic question, you’ve got a pretty clear winner. Did Novak disclose classified information? Yes. (Assuming we don’t get bogged down in the “previously public” business, that is). So if that’s your definition, it’s hard to argue with, and I accept it.
But I suspect it isn’t. I suspect it’s more than that, and this is why I ask about Ellsberg. If you respond that Ellsberg is ALSO a traitor, then you’re on solid ground and there’s very little I can argue with you about. But if you believe that Ellsberg is a hero and Novak a traitor, then it’s clear to me that there’s something beyond objective criteria at work here.
I am, in other words, entitled to explore what makes a “traitor” without either deflecting or redirecting.
OK. Plame’s outing prevented her from getting the truth out about faulty intelligence that justified the war, correct? Well, actually she got the truth out, but nobody believed her. In your view, that was because she was outed, I guess?
It endangered her, and the White House did that because they were pissed at her, but nobody believed it anyway. The drumbeats of war and all. We’d have still gone to war on faulty intelligence whether we knew Plame’s name or not.
I really don’t think Novak thought he was protecting faulty intelligence when he outed Plame. He shouldn’t have, anyway, but he wasn’t, I don’t think, trying to keep us in a war he opposed publicly. And I don’t think outing her was what kept the truth from being recognized anyway.
I will join in if anyone wants to bring up the hypocrisy of his calling Mark Felt, aka Deep Throat, a ‘traitor.’
Etc. Apparently I have to ask you to define “winning”. Would that be an occupation of some kind? Elimination of all insurgent activities against us? We’d still be there.
With no popularly-supported government, and the one that was there thoroughly corrupt, it was only our presence that delayed its fall as long as it did. The bulk of SV was already lost before we “refused to aid them”, as you might or might not know. As soon as Nixon tried to “Vietnamize” the war, SV was doomed. The Thieu regime had no power to inspire patriotism; the Hanoi regime that had been fighting off foreign invaders for most of a century did.
The article cited did not mention Ellsberg. The OP did not. It was an instant Hi-jack.
Novak got completely away with outing a working CIA agent in the newspaper. I am sure the CIA equivalents around the world quickly examined every person who had contact with her. I am sure they investigated her "employer’ which was really a CIA front. Novak should have been toasted.