Like most people who get too close to government, our David Gewirtz thinks Wikileaks is the worst thing evah.
Frankly they haven't told me anything I didn't suspect before. War is hell. Innocents die. There is no such thing as a bloodless bloodbath. We all get blood on our hands when we choose to go to war.
Even David Gewirtz does. Even I do. Even you do.
Efforts to whitewash war, and decisions made during war, begin even before the war starts and continue on to infinity. Just last night I watched a PBS show about Stalingrad, offering new evidence that Stalin lied about his strategy after-the-fact and that a tank battle outside the city, not hard fighting in the city center, turned the tide.
In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, the key question remains the one John Kerry asked and which Bruce Springsteen made eloquent. Who will be the last to die for a mistake. Pretending it was less than that, or just that, that our decisions don't result in atrocity, is a disservice to history and our children.
Truth is a natural disinfectant. It is necessary if democracies are not to become autocracies. But war is a natural infection agent. It poisons everyone it touches, not just its supporters but those who, by second or third hand, would keep its truths hidden.
I have covered this medium since 1985. It is the greatest force for truth -- even hard truth -- we have ever known.
Closing Wikileaks and executing Julian Assange won't change this. Hundreds of such sites will follow it, each with its own agenda. Files will be leaked to the darknet and find their way out in unexpected ways.
The only cure for Wikileaks is to eliminate this medium. The only cure for this light is a return to the darkness.
David would have you think Wikileaks is a bug that must be squashed. I disagree. It's a feature that must be protected, whatever the cost.
Part of that cost is people like Eric Burns and programs like Firesheep. Self-appointed self-righteous protectors of liberty will always cause damage. Some people aren't as kindhearted as David and I.
Part of that cost is that operational details will leak out and good guys will be killed. I don't deny that. Freedom is just as blunt an instrument as war, in its way.
But the bottom line is this. Open source and the Internet ride on a basic assumption about human nature. Most of us are decent. The success of this medium is proof that assumption remains true.
Now if we can just protect that truth from its friends.