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July 27, 2010


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An alternate possibility is that he started off as an idealist (Information wants to be free and all that) and then got addicted to the rush of his espionage pet-project. Then a bit like the car thieves you mentioned this time last week, couldn't resist getting a bigger high by telling people about it.

Either way, he doesn't look very heroic at the end of this. I'm just glad it didn't turn out to be a leak in the Wikileaks processs that got him fingered. The Americans are right that undermining the confidentiality of it's sources would deal a heavy blow to Wikileaks.


I agree about this leak- and the points you make about Manning apply to Assange too. Vastly overinflated sense of their own importance. And as far as 'revelations' go- civilians sometimes get killed by mistake, the military don't broadcast everything they do- who on earth didn't know that already??
(also from the quotes you have there Manning is clearly too stupid to be working in Intelligence)

I can't agree about the Pentagon Papers. Perhaps the public did need to know -although most of them at the time apparently ignored the whole thing - but it wasn't Ellsberg's decision to make. And the recent documentary about him seemed to me to make pretty clear that he's the same sort of personality as the current leakers. ("look at me! aren't I noble!")


The thing that amazes me is that so many people were able to read and digest 90,000 pages in only a matter of hours and form an opinion about the value of the documents.

(While 10,000 of the 90,000 pages were made available to select newspapers a while ago, that leaves 80,000 pages...)


From what little I've read, Manning is something of a tragic hero - hubristic, caught up in something way bigger than he is, trying vainly to understand it, and trying vainly to do what he thinks is right.

As for the documents, it's a sign of how tame they are that the story has so quickly become about the leak itself rather than what is leaked.


Mostly agree with you and your commenters (good point, Scott) but I also think it's possible for people to do the right thing out of the wrong motivation. If Ellsberg, for instance, was the same sort of hubristic vain type, the upshot of his release of the documents was still important to the public and American society as a whole.

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That's great, I never thought about Nostradamus in the OR (Insights from Eugene Litvak at IHI) like that before.

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