Tonawanda News

Columns

July 31, 2013

DUVALL: A second look at national security debate

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — I find less sympathy for Snowden, though his name invokes a literary reference that so neatly encapsulates our present quandary the first time I heard it I thought it was made up. (In Joseph Heller’s razor-sharp military satire “Catch-22” a soldier named Snowden dies, prompting the book’s protagonist to thwart his commanders’ orders and save his own hide.)

I’ll stop short of the most extreme elements in the argument over national security and state secrets. I don’t think Manning or Snowden (the non-fictional one, at least) are heroes. They aren’t martyrs. They knew what they were doing was illegal if not immoral and that it would put more American lives at risk.

There’s a reason things like videos of bombing raids are generally kept classified for many years — so it doesn’t hand a recruiting tool to our enemies.

In Manning’s case, the question is whether the U.S. military and diplomatic corps has been as forthcoming as it should be in describing why and how we wage war. One wonders if a Pfc. Manning had come along prior to the Iraqi invasion and released information contradicting the drum beat to war whether we would have averted a tragic and costly blunder.

In Snowden’s case, it isn’t about the information that’s been collected but whether it ever should have been collected in the first place given Americans never knew the full details on our government’s domestic spying programs.

My essential take is this: Manning’s WikiLeaks case served the greater good in opening Americans’ eyes to how we wage war. Make no mistake: His actions had real-world consequences that endangered men and women serving in various capacities and publication of those documents probably resulted in setbacks fighting terrorists. As far as the overall impact I think the former outweighs the latter.

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    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

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    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

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    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014