I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.
Robert E Lee
Conan: A man should have brave enemies so he can remember them after he slays them
King Conan #7 Sept 1981
When it comes to Edward Snowden there are a lot of conflicting opinions out there and mixed feelings The best example I can think of was expressed by my friend Tabitha Hale:
I wish I liked Ed Snowden more. I’m not sure I trust him.
— Tabitha Hale (@TabithaHale) June 10, 2013
Because in our current society we tend to look at feelings and personalize things, this is the question that has become front and center, so lets look at the four basic choices on how people feel about Snowden.
1. Edward Snowden is a dishonorable traitor who exposed the NSA programs because he wishes to hurt America and aid our enemies and/or his friends or be rewarded. (He is Julius Rosenburg)
2. Edward Snowden is a dishonorable fanatic who exposed the NSA programs because he believes it is a danger to the freedoms of the United States and it’s people and must be stopped no matter what happens to him. ( He is Scott Roeder)
3. Edward Snowden is a Noble character who exposed the NSA programs because he believes it is a danger to the freedoms of the United States no matter what the risk to him. (He is Brutus)
4. Edward Snowden is a Noble character who exposed the NSA programs because he wishes to hurt America and aid our enemies and/or his friends or be rewarded. (He is Rommel )
Since we don’t know what he actually thinks and do not have enough evidence to support any of those opinions yet the choice you make will likely depend on where you stand.
If you priority is the war on terror or one of the authorities, you likely are going with #1. Very clear cut he’s a dirty traitor trying to bring us down. He can be rejected and hated. Pretty easy.
If you are a person who mistrusts government power, a conservative, you likely are going to go with #2. You many not like these programs and believe they are an abuse of federal power or even immoral, but this is still treason. The ends do not and can not justify the means! The rule of law has to trump this and Snowden needs to be punished severely to discourage this type of thing in the future.
If you are a pure libertarian, you almost certainly go with #3. He is a brave character who gave up his life livelihood and his whole world in order to protect us from a nefarious government. It would have been every easy to say or do nothing but instead he stepped forward no matter the risk. To you this guy is a hero.
I suspect Obama political loyalists will choose #4. You respect his as a brave guy. If he had done this under George Bush you would call him friend or hero and cheering with the libertarians. But this guy’s actions have real potential to damage THE ONE™. and to his administrations political future. He’s just another enemy that needs defeating or problem to be solved.
I almost certainly fall between 1 and 2. My gut says the program is wrong, I need to know more about it before I’m positive but no matter how he feels about the program and believes he has done a noble thing, I’m just not going to justify or excuse this kind of illegality or treason
Before you pick a number consider the basic facts in evidence that are not in dispute:
Edward Snowden violated federal law and his oath.
Edward Snowden leaked a highly classified security program
Edward Snowden fled to a Communist Country our single biggest rival/enemy
No matter what you think of the NSA Prism programs, Mr. Snowden’s motivations or even the necessity of the exposure of this scandal, these facts are not in dispute and I suggest people be very careful before declaring him Horatius at the Bridge.
Update: Jackie Wellfounder gives good advice
I think at this point, we need to remain objective and wait for the facts to present themselves. I have a feeling this story has a lot more evolving to do yet.
And Legal Insurrection and another name to the story
The interview with Bill Binney is interesting because it does, in fact, parallel much of what is revealed in the interview with Edward Snowden. Both interviews were directed and produced by Laura Poitras.
Pay attention to the last sentence in his piece
Interestingly, one of the last frames in Laura Poitras’ video interview with Bill Binney thanks, among others, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.
Update 2: Removed the word “you” from the last sentence, sounded AWFUL.
Update 3: I have to disagree with Captain Ed here:
Snowden’s $500 ended up doing nothing in the long run. He would have done us all a favor — including himself — if he’d used the money for subscriptions to the Guardian and Washington Post and sent the leak to Paul, Udall, and/or Wyden.
By supporting the candidate most likely to stop these abuses he was doing things the right way, trying to support candidates who would stop this program without acting dishonorably. The question becomes, if he had leaked this to Paul or Udall or Wyden, would they have exposed it or no?