Monday, June 17, 2013

Don't Find Snowden Guilty Before Trial...

I really must comment on the unholy number of pundits and politicians calling Edward Snowden a "traitor" before he has had his chance for a day in court.
The only honest answer is: It is too soon to tell.
The American people need to know what is going on before we can decide who to blame. Perhaps President Obama is at fault, and Snowden a hero of civil disobedience?
In my opinion, it is manifestly un-American to prejudge such a case before the defendant has had his day in court.
From what we know so far, Snowden was not motivated by a desire to help enemies of the United States, rather to call the attention of the American public to what he believed was unconstitutional (and therefore illegal, even if sanctioned by law) behavior by the NSA in violation of at least the First and Fourth Amendments in the Bill of Rights. He may have been naive, he may have been misguided, he may have broken his signed pledge of employment--or he may have been right. But nothing presented so far in any way suggests he is guilty of espionage--especially since his target audience was the American People.
The public right to know is a bedrock of democracy.
Without it, a representative democracy such as ours cannot function. Checks and balances become meaningless. Which is why the press had been seen as a "Fourth Estate" designed to keep the other three branches in check and balanced when they overreached.
To see Dick Cheney poke his cowardly head out from his undisclosed location--after he presided over 9/11, the worst attack on the US since Pearl Harbor, and then failed to defeat either Bin Laden or Al Qaeda despite eight years of warfare and trillions of dollars spent on his cronies (including appointing his daughter as head of US Public Relations in the State Department, at a time when the job required a professional with unimpeachable credibility)--is beyond irony. (BTW, Cheney also lost the Vietnam War.)
If anyone should be tried for treason, it might be Bush, Cheney, and the entire GOP establishment who literally let Al Qaeda get away with murder--and smeared the name of American democracy around the world by institutionalizing torture and concentration camps to no measurable effect. Every time I'm patted down or scanned at an airport, I think: "This is another small victory for Al Qaeda." Of course, Booz Allen has made a lot of money for its partners (and lost the Global War on Terror in the meantime). But I guess Booz is too big to is Dick Cheney--and Barack Obama.
Unfortunately, instead of changing course, the Obama administration transformed the Bush Doctrine of Islamist appeasement into an Obama Doctrine of Islamist collaboration.
Rather than Osama Bin Laden as capo di tutti cappi for worldwide Islamist fundamentalism, Obama seemed to take pride in that role, bumping off his minor rival...then giving a green light to Islamist takeovers across the Arab world. How anyone with a conscience could justify this policy in the name of human rights or democracy has been difficult to understand, but perhaps no one in the Obama administration has a conscience.
At this point, Vladimir Putin looks more humane than any American leader. A sad commentary.
Luckily, Edward Snowden does seem to have a conscience. Perhaps because he did not graduate from college and so was spared the Kool-aid of moral relativism and sophistry that has come to be called "higher education" in the United States since the arrival of Political Correctness. Snowden says he acted out of conscience, let us test that sentiment.
Perhaps he was wrong, perhaps he was right, but he deserves at the very least the decency of a trial and a defense before sentence is pronounced.
The rabid foaming of the mouth of the mad-dog Republican leadership of Boehner, McConnell and Cheney serves only to provide political cover for a corrupt and suspect administration that should be thoroughly investigated. Like Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden could bring down an administration through his courageous actions to call public attention to the historical record. If the GOP were a normal party, it would bring down the Obama administration over NSA spying on ordinary Americans and its support for Islamist terrorists--in Boston, in Syria, in Libya, in Chechnya and around the world.
Ironically, American dissidents like Snowden are now fleeing to China for freedom of speech, so degraded have our media, courts, and politics become by Bush and Obama administration policies.
Given the pathetic reaction in America to Snowden's stand, at this point, it seems that unless Rand Paul somehow becomes President in 2016, the USA may no longer remain either the land of the free, nor the home of the brave.