OK... I've said before that we need more shame in America - that's a little shorthand for a sense of public and peer pressure that encourages good or virtous behavior.
For instance, having babies out of wedlock is wrong; divorce is to be avoided; lying is bad; so is cursing, bullying, subterfuge, manipulation, whining, or quitting. These used to be things frowned on, not encouraged.
Today, they are glorified in our everyday lives through TV shows, magazines, books, movies, etc.
The standard of 'if it feels good, do it' has so penetrated the American culture, that it seems kids today know little else.
This trend of slipping standards is nothing new. Sociologists have been sounding the alarm about the end of American civilization since the 60s. They look at previous examples of great and powerful civilizations that ended in a wimper and see our culture heading down the same path. It happened with the Egyptians; it happened with the Greeks; the Romans; a arguement could be made that it's happening to the English (I don't agree with that arguement - it's too soon to say). Maybe it's inevitable. Maybe it's just another example of life's cycles... but it is still frustrating.
Now here we are. Today, we have a few knuckleheads (or maybe just one) somewhere in our own government that have taken it upon themselves to leak a vital, important, effective, secret process that helps our nation track and (eventually) kill people who are determined to attack us. And one of the country's top newspapers prints the story.
Let's break this down: One day, a guy wakes up in the morning. At some level, he says to himself, "Today, I'm going to tell to the world about this secret." So he goes and contacts another guy and the Times (how much other media did he reach out to, I wonder?).
OK, now this other guy gets told, makes notes, etc. He wakes up the the next morning and says to himself, "Boy, this is a great secret process that seems really effective in catching our enemies. But, it seems like it could be used on me, and I wouldn't want people to know how many times I get money from my mother..." So he decides - and this is his very best idea - to write it up.
Next, this guy goes to another guy - his boss. He tells his boss about it. His boss' very best idea is to say something along the lines of, "sounds good - go for it."
This boss-guy then goes to his boss and says something along the lines of, "Boy, do we have a great story coming up, guys! It's about a secret process the government is using to catch terrorists." And in some way, the boss-boss says, "sounds good - run with it."
The boss goes back to the one guy and tells him to run with it - which he is already doing. But now he has the official blessings of his superiors; and at some level, he says, "I going to really stick it to these government guys!"
So that guy goes back to the first guy and they go back and forth getting the whole story. The first guy is the belle-of-the-ball and feeling all important. The next guy is like a hungry dog at an unattended picnic spread taking in as much as he can, while he can. And the boss feels good knowing that one of his people is 'on the case!'
Eventually, the guy is done. He has his story written and proofed. He turns it in. The boss looks at it and sees a scoop. He probably forwards a copy to his boss. That guy reads it and is pleased at the work.
The government gets wind of the story (probably because the writer wanted to get a quote from them - that'll really stick 'em good!) The government says, "Hey, that's a secret we're still using. Don't publish it, m'kay?"
So the next morning, the very best idea is to publish that story. That's their very best idea - the best one. So that's what they do. It's not like the thing was accidently printed. It wasn't something that just fell onto the page or was stuck to the backside of some op-ed. A number of people worked really hard to make this story go.
Now the process is now dead. Other people and governments that counted on discretion in order to participate in this process are gone. Terrorists are able to find out what they were doing and change their operations accordingly and now, Americans will die for it.
The government knucklehead (or -heads) has his story printed - it's been a week and I bet he's still giddy. And some of our guys are shot dead.
The writer is a media darling. And some of our guys get their legs ripped from their bodies in an IED.
The boss and the boss' boss are basking in the heady glow of fame. And some of our guys get kidnapped and decapitated.
I bet there's a book deal in the works. And I bet right now, one of our guys is about to be nabbed and tortured.
So, good job guy. You've made it so much easier to get money to the savages attacking us. You've made it harder to track and catch their leaders. I bet you woke up this morning with an overwhelming sense of energy and power. Meantime, some of our guys didn't wake up at all.
Throughout this whole process I have to wonder if any of the decisionmakers really though out whether or not publishing the story was right. I strongly suspect all they saw was an exclusive, and that the right-ness was never an issue on the table much less discussed.
See, this helping-out-the-other-side thing has a name: 'treason.' It's a big ugly word with big ugly consequenses. But that seems to be another thing lacking in our culture today... certainly in our media culture - ugly consequenses.
The government recognizes this has has decided to take the extraordinary step to ... waggle their finger at the fact that a story was written without saying who it was that did it. What is this, kindergarten?
In my world, the decision tree that allowed the story to print would lose their livelihood at the least. As a newspaper, a public trust was violated in that the paper went out of its way help harm (kill) our own people. They went out of their way to help an enemy that has sworn to kill us all... including them. These guys do not deserve the public trust. Their actions have shown (again) that in fact, they don't want it. Let's oblige them.
The next thing I'd do is have the government interrogate the writer to find the leak. I would indict and try the leaker for treason and, if found guilty, invoke the death penalty. (I would consider a 20yr sentence in a federal facility if the accused co-operated)
This is an ugly scenario. But while these guys are going aroung feeling really good about themselves, we are in a war for our survival.
This conflict isn't a border dispute. It is a struggle not just to end our lives but to eliminate even the memory of our stories, our sensibilities, our humor, our passion, our ingenuity, our productivity ... us all.
Treason: it's ugly, it's disgraceful, it's nasty, heinous and often murderous. It's what this is; and the people involved should be treated like the scum they are so desperate to aid.