The Douchebag of Liberty has passed on.

Benedict Arnold was not a traitor. He was outraged (OUTRAGED!) that America engaged the assistance of France. Who are we closer to today, England or France? He recognized that the colonies were intensely aligned with England, and his foresight has been justified (oh, except for that pesky skirmish around 1812).

Just out of curiosity, are there any ‘obligations’ for people like Novak that come into possession of classified information without the appropriate clearance? Are they obligated to keep it secret?

For example, if Obama’s secret backer in China accidentally mailed his classified real Kenyan birth certificate to me rather than the White House, am I breaking any laws or being traitorous if I scan a copy of it and forward it via email to everybody I know?

I’d say the failure of duty was more profound in the Ellsberg case, since he held a security clearance himself. Novak was just a journalist.

For the purposes of this discussion, sure. I think Ellsberg had considerably more time to reflect than Novak, but I agree no one was facing a decision that required instant response.


Ellsberg was acting in what he saw as the best interests of the country. But it’s not a given that his actions were in fact in the best interests of the country.

As a representative democracy, ultimate sovereignty resides with the people. But it’s not axoimatic to say that the people must be consulted about and approve every tactic and strategy used, especially during war or in foreign policy. Roosevelt lied to get the United States into the war in Europe. He felt it was in the best interests of the country to be in that war, and he was right. But if a 1938 version of Daniel Ellsberg had exposed Roosevelt’s lies, that pre-Ellsberg fellow would undoubtedly have felt he was doing the right thing.

If we were to learn now that somebody attempted to expose secret government plans to violate the Neutrality Act in the 1930s, we would probably look upon such an attempt with disdain, because we now generally accept that our entry into the war in Europe was a good thing. We now similarly look upon our involvement in Vietnam as a bad thing. But it’s impossible, and dangerous, to infer license to individuals to act as though they had time machines and could know the consequences of their actions.

Ellsberg’s actions were well-intentioned but wrong.

Novak fits in the same general category. He sought to rebut the accusation of administration negligence in sending a former Clinton White House aide with no track record in intelligence and no experience in Niger on a fact-finding mission to Africa. He did so (presumably) because he believed the truth of the matter was that Wilson had been sent because of his wife, and that this gave critical context to the story.

How can you exalt one guy for following his conscience over the rules while blaming another guy for doing the same thing?

So, Novak: well-intentioned but wrong.

As the Elizabethan poet commented:

*Treason doth never prosper. What’s the reason?
For when it prospers none dare call it treason.

There will be no meeting of the minds on this: your man is a traitor, my man is a patriot inspired by the noblest of motives, your man bad, my man good, and so on and so forth.

The comparison with Ellsberg was interesting and the responses illuminating.

Whatever. People on both sides of the Atlantic saw him as a traitor - he had few friends in England. Polite company there wouldn’t tolerate someone who had sold out his countrymen.

Well, I actually didn’t make that argument. I said we shouldn’t get bogged down in it, and for the purposes of this discussion I accept that Novak was the first to breah the secret.

I can see why Bricker is doing his best roundabout Douchbag defense dance. It’s actually a tribute to Novak. Just like the traitor pulled Plame out of Rove’s ass to punish Wilson, Brick has pulled Ellsberg out of his ass to discipline the OP for daring to call Novak a traitor.

Do you think Bricker has been waiting to pull that particular turd out of his ass ever since he learned Novak had cancer?

Well, if winning the war -> exoneration of traitorousness, then Ellsberg was a traitor.

But winning a war does not necessarily exonerate traitorous behavior. In practice it does, because it’s always a condition of the peace treaty. Nobody would agree to an end of war where all the victorious instigators were to be tried for treason.

No, I don’t. I think **Bricker **is a man of a deeply conservative bent who is being slowly dragged leftward by his own reason and experience.

And, of course, the influence of certain witty and erudite posters who shall remain nameless…

Well you did slip it in there twice, so I just wanted to see if you were debating honestly or doing an homage to our dear, departed DBoL.

You know, I hear a spot opened up at the American Douchebag League. Have you ever considered a career in disingenuous partisan dickery?

Wrong. We would ignore that inconveniently-truthful somebody as much as possible, and rationalize away our acceptance of a lie based on the success of the war. Cf. the Spanish-American War. But we would NOT call this person a traitor.

The “you can’t know the consequences” argument is a rationalization for refusal to act at all. One can make a pretty good estimate, based on one’s faith that we as a people will continue to believe in truth and honor, as to what course of action will be applauded by our descendents, though. Ellsberg thought it through as much as it was possible to think through. To say his actions were “wrong” is to place the letter of the law above all other considerations whatever. While that may be clear to you, it is not so clear to the moral world.

Now you’re just fucking lying. He sought to divert public attention from the fact, which he knew, that the Niger yellowcake stuff was false, a fact which Wilson was trying to expose. It was NOT due to his belief about who should have been sent.

You’re really not better than this, are you?

You “presume” his motivations but know Ellsberg’s. The facts support neither.

And you fucking know it.

No fair. If you ask him directly, he will answer you directly. That puts him head and shoulders above the standards set by the real down-home partisan dicks.

Bricker’s not disingenuous. His brain really works like that.

It’s frustrating if you’re a normal person, who believes that in the pit, you put your own opinion/belief in a post by default. Bricker doesn’t. He was born to be a lawyer. His brain really wants to pick apart any argument that supports somebody else’s belief, and searches for precedents that are analogous in order to instruct his questioning.

It doesn’t occur to him to post his own position, or perhaps to even have his own position, unless he is explicitly asked for it.

I don’t wish brain cancer on anyone. But I will say better Bob Novak than most other people.

I still remember a comment he made on Crossfire, telling a high school girl into athletics that she was acting unlady like and only playing sports to appease feminists. A real class act.

He truly belongs in Hell.

Don’t worry. No one notices you won’t respond to the question I asked. Keep dodging and weaving. You’re doing great!

I thought that argument would muddy the waters, and, frankly, I don’t believe it myself. So I mentioned it for the sake of completeness, and am willing to defend it on a theoretical basis, but I don’t buy into it myself.

Well, for one thing, he needs to do it with style, grace, wit, and/or charm.

Which rules out Novak, but leaves some wiggle-room for Henry Kissinger.