If published reports describing the alleged source of tens of thousands of Afghan war logs to WikiLeads are true, then WikiLeaks founder and convicted computer hacker Julian Assange appears to have found a truly kindred spirit. The Wall Street Journal describes the suspected leaker, Pfc. Bradley Manning, in terms that suggest the twenty-one year old soldier is not just short in stature, but small-minded as well. Manning seems like just the kind of self-absorbed, inflated individual that would appeal to guy like Assange, who has spent the better part of his adult life redefining self-aggrandizement and self-righteous arrogance. Were not the consequences of the leaks so serious, the most fitting punishment for both would be to take them out to the woodshed. Since that’s not possible, we can only hope that Assange and Manning – or whomever Assange’s source is ultimately determined to be – are at least forced to take a time-out for several years in a federal prison.
Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held Assange’s feet to the fire and we should demand that the administration continue to turn up the heat on the Australian rabble-rouser. “Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his sources are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier, or that of an Afghan family,” Mullen said.
Assange is a prime example of that peculiarly unique product of Western, democratic institutions: a genius so blinded by his own brilliance that he sees nothing wrong with tearing down the society that grants him the freedom to exercise his arrogance, while remaining blissfully oblivious to the fact that his actions lend aid and comfort to an enemy who would not long tolerate his very existence. We’ve seen Assange’s sort throughout history. General Benedict Arnold was arguably the most gifted field commander of the American Revolution, but his wounded pride and monumental ego led him to betray the cause to which he was supposedly devoted. Bobby Fisher was perhaps the most original mind ever to sit astride a chess board, but he was consumed by self-loathing of his Jewish heritage. Intellectuals, or perhaps “pseudo intellectuals” is the better term, like Tom Hayden couldn’t see the forest for the trees during the Vietnam era. Both America and the Vietnamese people paid the price. Assange is of the same breed and it should come as no surprise that he is pals with Daniel Ellsberg, the infamous “Pentagon Papers” whistle-blower.