True Menace

    Happy New Year!

    Isn’t a sizable segment of the Western world, people who really ought to know better, disappointed that Edward Snowden failed being crowned Time Magazine’s Man of the Year? After all, isn’t he some kind of hero!? Frankly, the impish part of me almost wishes that laurel had clamped around Snowden’s brow just to make Henry Luce spin in his grave.

    Why not? Luce’s Time bestowed the honor on Hitler, Stalin and Pierre Laval, so obviously sterling character isn’t a prerequisite. But for better or worse, those recipients were compelling figures whose actions propelled great chunks of history.

    Besides, that coronet is just as empty as Eddie’s skull.

    The problem with our Eddie is he’s a traitor. Like Jonathan Pollard, another dubious herald who only looks worthy in a funhouse mirror. Can a man honestly serve himself and two other masters? Isn’t that too much conflict and deception? At least Pollard’s treachery can be mitigated. Not by much. Though every little bit helps, yes?

    No such wiggle room for Eddie, though. If there’s a scale, then he’s the lowest sort of traitor. He betrayed us. Eddie’s a provocateur whose faulty reasoning may imperil those he claims his disclosures intended helping.

    Moreover, Eddie swore an oath. He gave his word, thereby gaining our trust. Cynical as we popularly believe ourselves, giving one’s word still means plenty.  

    The same uproar-creating beans Eddie spilled have also sharpened the sticks and spears of those elements dedicated to disrupting our lives. His misguided rectitude endangers us all. 

    At the end of 2013, Eddie’s Russian handlers let their new bobo take a valedictory public relations lap. From Moscow in his best indecorous Charlie Sheen manner, Eddie declared himself a “winner.” If the contest consisted of nurturing consternation, creating confusion and fomenting conflict then, yes, Eddie is a winner.

   The hollow prize for his simplistic striving is an empty bag. Paper or plastic, he can receive the sack at any US Embassy. No doubt personnel there are ready to let him have it.

    Personally disappointing than surprising is the mob of purported journalists lapping up and parroting Eddie’s every dismal utterance. Of course journalism today feeds off and gorges our time’s superficiality. Before newsgathering and publication merely clotted space between paying ads and PSAs, decent efforts and lengths were extended towards development and verification before release.

     Nothing like the risk of a crippling libel suit and subsequent groveling retraction to promote ass-covering proof. And while there’s always been plenty of noble-sounding blather regarding the public’s right to know, just because something occurs doesn’t necessarily make its wide knowledge vital.

    The fawning behind Eddie’s disclosures makes emotionalism the profession’s new objectivity.

     Misapplied virtues like “bravery” and “conscientiousness” would have people mistake Eddie as a stalwart rather than a turncoat. All his celebrity lacks are silly hyperventilating girls swooning with his every appearance and mumble. Maybe in some precincts he does enjoy that adulation.

     Eddie’s supporters, dupes really, insist he’s acted nobly. Look, there’s nothing noble about drawing self-satisfaction by putting untold numbers of innocent people in harm’s way. Isn’t that self-aggrandizement?

     Rather than sanctify Eddie, let’s see him clearly. A high school dropout further burdened by immature insecurities, he’s that precocious manchild whose callowness prevents him from sifting beneath events’ surfaces. Neither is nuance his strong point. He’s that smart (smart, not clever) facile teen whose inexperience lets him misinterpret our adult world.

     There are plenty of wonderful dramas whose themes deal with the above short-sightedness. I guess as our society becomes less literate and fully distracted through devices that separate us from our intellect, slow contemplation succumbs to fast-twitch judgments. Too bad Code Writing for Dummies™ enthralled an impressionable Eddie instead of any classic by revered antique Greeks.

     Throughout the avalanche of support for Eddie, one clear fact has been brilliantly obscured. America’s intelligence community’s activities are legal. They are also seamy and unseemly. Yet legal nonetheless.

     Have we forgotten how America agreed to this exchange? If there is any criminality, it emerges from our willingly allowing it to happen.

    Right after the attacks, the same people today vilifying [hated alphabet agency or despised acronym here] clamored for safeguard at any price. Safety, not freedom or whatever other words make sunshine patriots reflexively drool, was paramount. We only wanted our complacency restored as well as rain hellfire and avenge the September victims by killing as many savages as possible. Preferably in distant dusty regions swarming with slouching humans we detest – when we regard them at all. That most of the targeted were blameless for shredding our false invulnerability didn’t matter.

    Fearful and uncertain Americans made two basic pleas to government.

    First, we all insisted waking up with our behinds still attached to the rest of us. If doing this infringed upon a few Constitutional rights, so be it. At least the resulting inconveniences should further lessen already miniscule chances of a repeat catastrophic attack.

     Second, Americans demanded scalps be nailed on the door! The imagery is apt. That’s a western allegory. One rooted in the Middle East but transposed here:

    One day a cowboy hears his young son bawling. The father sees a snake has bitten his boy. Furious, the wrangler sets out to track and kill the bloodsucker. But instead of only hunting down the offending serpent, he smashes the heads of all he crosses. Why? Because should the cowboy have been satisfied just killing the snake with a bloody mouth … or all the snakes he could find?

     At the start of the 21st century that was our national thinking. So much for any honest resolve to soberly deliberate and protect American values nonsense. Time had come to update and refine Churchill’s or Orwell’s “… rough men stand ready …” maxim.

     One of the two eminences is credited with the statement. Whether either said it remains questionable. If apocryphal, then one or the other should’ve said it.

    Fright gave Americans the invasive provisions which chafe many today. Oh, the intrusions didn’t begin with such vast and deep aims. In fact plenty of clear-sighted observers bucked beseeching “Save us at any cost, Satan!” measures by prophesizing how outwardly sound shielding actions would ultimately core the Fourth Amendment.

    Okay. Here we are. When is fear ever conducive to rational thinking? After clamoring for them, we received our demands. With the urgency having subsided, we’re free to bitch about what we got. Let’s hope this ingratitude doesn’t establish itself as our new normal.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on where readers stand on spying, eavesdropping, ravenous data mining, warrantless searches, extralegal seizures, the whole raft of KGB/Stasi hijinks which have mollified or outraged us were debated then approved through open legislative process.

    So much for tuning in C-Span to watch how sausage is made.  C-Span. Reality TV that really matters.