Diana West

I am still working out why I watch the high dudgeon sparked by Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks dump of a quarter-million State Department cables that has given rise to the most heated, bloodthirsty chorus I have ever heard in Washington, notably from conservatives, and feel strangely numb.

I observe the fits over "sovereignty" lost, and note that some of the same people find such emotion in bad taste when the prompt is our unsecured, non-sovereign border. I hear the arguments that our national security is hanging by a computer keystroke, and note the fecklessness of a U.S. government that hides from us, the people, its own confirmation that North Korea supplies Iran with Russian-made nuclear-capable missiles; China transfers weapons materiel to Iran (despite Hillary Clinton's pathetic entreaties); Iran honeycombs Iraq; Syria supports Hezbollah; Pakistan prevents the United States from securing its nuclear materials; Saudis continue to provide mainstay support to al-Qaida (despite pie-faced denials come from Saudi-supplicating U.S. administrations). Everything good citizens need to know, in short, to see through the dumbed-down, G-rated ("G" for government), official narrative, all "engagement" and "outreach," to throw the ineffectual bums out -- all of them -- and start from scratch.

But what we're supposed to see in Assange's Internet release of thousands of "classified," mainly non-sensational, if often embarrassing, documents (something journalists usually call a scoop in the singular) is an act of "terrorism," say Republican leaders, with Assange himself, as Sarah Palin would have it, playing the part of Osama bin Laden. Weirdly, I don't recall bin Laden himself inspiring as many public calls for "execution." Nor did the arrests of the notorious traitors CIA analyst Aldrich Ames in 1994 or FBI agent Robert Hanssen in 2001 ratchet up a fury approaching the emotional pitch over Assange that has drowned out all other news this week, including the murder of six American trainers by an Afghan "policeman."


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).