27 June 2006

When it comes to Democrats regaining power, no life is too precious

We all know that journalists think they know better.  In his interview on Hugh Hewitt’s show yesterday, Doyle McManus downplayed any significant harm that may have been done by his paper by exposing our govenrment’s use of SWIFT.  Hewitt asked:  “Is it possible now that whoever was familiar with what Hambali [i.e., the mastermind/financier of the Bali bombing] did, those terrorists in Southeast Asia, could just simply reverse engineer his financing, and figure out what they shouldn't do now?”  McManus said, “Well, I suppose it's possible, except in effect, what we're talking about here is the simple question of whether international banking transmissions are monitored. And one of the perplexing parts of this story is that the Treasury Department has said you know, everybody knew that. We said that we were aggressively looking for the transactions, looking for the financial flows, doing everything we could to monitor where the money was going.”  So, since we’ve always known that our government was looking for financial transactions involving known or suspected terrorists, it’s okay for the story of how we were doing that to be made public.

One continuing argument I have with certain of my friends and family is whether it’s possible to really over think something.  I am on the negative side.  Be that as it may, it occurs to me that quite possibly that here is a journalist who in his haste not to over think something neglected to think about something in the appropriate way.  Journalists’ failure is a failure to think in terms of what is called operational security.  (This wikipedia aricle is also fairly informative.)  McManus believes that revealing what he believes is a minor detail is of no great consequence.  Of course, that raises the question: If it is such an inconsequential detail, then why run the story?  The answer depends on for whom one believes the story is inconsequential.  To McManus and others (and in their professional judgment) the detail is inconsequential for terrorists, but not for Americans.  In other words, McManus and his fellow travelers have decided that the SWIFT program is a greater danger to Americans than it is to terrorists.  And therefore Americans must be warned about it even at the expense of warning terrorists.

But whether the how is important or not, one important thing to remember about fighting a war is a simple OpSec principle.  That principle is: Don’t not give the enemy any—anyANY!!!—information, no matter how unimportant you may think it is.  (I should note that later in the same interview McManus acknowledged “these stories filled in some…important details, about how [the Treasury Department is monitoring financial transactions]” [italics mine].)  As George Washington said: “Even minutiae should have a place in our collection, for things of a seemingly trifling nature, when enjoined with others of a more serious cast, may lead to valuable conclusion” (italics mine).  Minutiae is the seemingly insignificant detail.  Clearly, if “minutiae” can help us, it can help the enemy.  That’s why we try to keep even “minutiae” from him.  Thank you NYT and others for giving the enemy “minutiae” which he may not previously have had.  Despite your apraisal of the value of this “minutiae” you—we all—may be surprised to learn what can be done with the seemingly insignificant.

The lesson here is this, and it’s nothing we don’t already know.  The left, and their servitor media, believe that The President of the United States is a greater threat to us and our liberties than all the terrorists in the world put together.  What is ironic is that the same media—among other people, of course—who ask how many more of our troops have to die in “The President’s War” don’t seem to be too concerned for how many of our troops will have to die in their war against the President.  For one of the other questions Hewitt asked McManus was this:  “Given that you're okay with the possibility that this might have helped the terrorists, and might have hurt our counter-terrorism, and damaged the program, are you losing any sleep over the possibility, Doyle McManus, that some terrorists will get away and kill as a result of these stories?”

McManus responded: “I'm not okay with the possibility, Mr. Hewitt. I think that possibility has to be measured against the possibility that the federal government has expanded its intrusive powers of surveillance and investigation without sufficient oversight and safeguards. If we want to ignore the balancing question here, well, then, we could grant the federal government license in the war against terrorists to do anything at all. I know you're not suggesting that. No one serious has suggested that. But I think it's also unfair to suggest that those of us involved in these stories decided that we were simply okay with letting the terrorists know any secrets it wants.”

First he says he’s not okay with the possiblity.  Then he says that the possiblity has to be weighed against some other possibility, namely that the federal government has expanded certain of its intrusive powers.  Well clearly, and by his own admission, those two possibilites were weighed against each other and the decision to run the story and possibly harm troops was made.  So despite his assertion to the contrary he really is okay with, and not losing any sleep over, the possibility that some terrorists will get away and kill more of our troops as a result of these stories.  In others words, the possibility of troops being killed is an acceptable possibility when compared to the possibility  that the federal government may expand some of its powers.  So, when he said he’s not okay with the possiblity he was lying.  He’s okay with it.  Oh, he’s not, to use his phraseology “simply” okay with it, but he is conditionally okay with with letting the terrorists know any secrets they want:  He acknowledged the possibility that some terrorists will get away and kill as a result of these stories, and then embraced that possibility by printing the story.

It’s interesting to note that the collateral damage that journalists (and probably any and all liberal-leftists) are willing to accept is that collateral damage which consists of dead Amercans.  Let’s all remember that, the next time one of these sphincter wipes asks how many more Americans have to die in Iraq, or anywhere else.

Oh, yeah.  It’s also interesting to note the irony in all this concern for the expansion of federal power.  I don’t remember this same concern, from this sort, when President Clinton and his wife were planning the federal take-over of one-seventh of our gross national product.  It is also ironic that the greatest expansion of federal power took place under the direction, and with the blessings of the same left that now pretends to be troubled by an increase in federal power.  We see the truth, even if they think we are too stupid to do.

And that truth is this:  They don’t really mind increases in federal power.  No way.  They just want to be the ones who have all that federal power.  By their fruits you shall know them.

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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 22 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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