by Jacob G. Hornberger
Washington Times conservative columnist Jeffrey T. Kuhner, who serves as president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a conservative organization, has a simple solution to the WikiLeaks controversy: Assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Good old conservatives. Kuhner’s Washington Times op-ed today reminds us on why ousting liberals from power and replacing them with conservatives doesn’t gain anything for Americans, at least insofar as freedom is concerned. As I have long pointed out, conservatives’ hatred of civil liberties is as deeply seated as liberal hatred for economic liberty, and Kuhner’s op-ed is just the latest example of that phenomenon.
What’s Kuhner’s basis for calling for the assassination of Assange? That Assange is a terrorist! According to Kuhner, we don’t need no stinking trial to establish that Assange has broken some law. Everyone already knows he’s a terrorist — well, at least every conservative knows it. And as every conservative also knows, the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist.
Why does Kuhner consider Assange to be a terrorist? Because WikiLeaks published secret U.S. government information that had been given to WikiLeaks by some third party.
What about the New York Times, which, like WikiLeaks, also published the information? Is Kuhner calling for the assassination of the owners, reporters, and editorial staff of the New York Times? Nope. But hey, give him time. After they kill Assange, there is no telling where the blood lust could go.
After all, what did WikiLeaks do that is different than what the New York Times has done? Neither organization stole the material. Both organizations simply received the material from a third party. Both organizations simply published it. If it’s okay to target the principals of Wikileaks for assassination, why not the principals of the New York Times?
The way I figure it is: If the government can’t protect its secrets, that’s just tough for the government. Unfortunately, however, we live in a society in which no one, especially those in government, wants to take personal responsibility for his screw-ups and instead always want to blame them on a scapegoat.
Hey, Kuhner: How about calling on the federal officials who failed to protect their secrets to fall on their swords rather than call on the government to murder Assange? Wouldn’t that be placing responsibility where it belongs?
Don’t hold your breath. Holding up the concept of personal responsibility to both conservatives and liberals is like holding up a cross to a vampire.
Reflecting longtime conservative disdain for civil liberties, Kuhner bluntly writes, “At this point, we are beyond indictments and courts. The damage has been done… Kill him.”
In other words, no Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eight Amendments to the Constitution. You know, the document that conservatives always claim to love and revere. No more indictments, jury trials, criminal defense lawyers, federal judges, cross examination of witnesses, presumption of innocence, sentencing hearings, and appeals.
Why, not even any more kangaroo military tribunals, indefinite detentions, kidnapping, rendition, torture, and formal executions. Just think: Obama can close Gitmo and just kill all the terrorists in the world.
And why all the secrecy? It’s all about the federal government’s imperialist foreign policy, the policy that statists have come to revere — the invasions, occupations, regime-change operations, foreign aid, foreign manipulations, secret prison camps, torture operations, kidnapping and rendition, assassinations, and, of course, the much-vaunted “war on terrorism” — that is, the war on those who have the temerity to resist the Empire — or reveal its horrors. How can the Empire continue to torture, kill, and brutalize people overseas effectively and efficiently if its policies and practices aren’t kept secret?
Kuhner writes, “For example, the cables cache reveals that the United States is working closely with Yemen's dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in launching drone strikes against local al Qaeda bases.”
Did you catch that? “Working closely with Yemen’s dictator.” Kuhner doesn’t even see the irony in his statement, which only goes to show the moral decadence of the conservative movement. Working with a dictator? Yeah, like the way the U.S. government worked with Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, Joseph Stalin, Augusto Pinochet, Pervez Musharrif, and a host of other dictators.
Why, I’ll bet that Kuhner even thinks it was a wonderful thing when the conservative Reagan administration was supporting violent Muslim extremists in Afghanistan, including Osama bin Laden, when it was the Soviet Union that was doing the occupying of Afghanistan. Hey, who ever said that morality wasn’t relative?
No, Kuhner, the time has not come to assassinate Julian Assange. The time has come for the American people to kill the imperialist, militarist foreign policy that statists, both conservative and liberal, have foisted upon our country, along with all the moral decadence that policy has wrought. The time has come for the American people to reject statism in all its ugly, decadent manifestations and for Americans to embrace the libertarian vision of individual liberty, free markets, civil liberties, and a limited-government constitutional republic.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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