Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Whispered Security Updates

The following (emphasis added) was lifted from an anonymous comment to Bubbleheads blog The Stupid Shall Be Punished today discussing "Downing Street Memos":

"No one who served in submarines should ever have to be disabused over transparency in government. How can there have been so many secrets on boats that many in the crew never knew where they were going, where they had been, or what had really been done? Limited secrecy from the public is necessary precisely because we have an open society, which envelopes both our self-avowed enemies and still undisclosed enemies. Surely, there are more state secrets regardless of administration, than there were operational secrets on any one boat. The variable is how we trust a given administration to react to knowledge before them. Sitting on his hands is not the current president's policy, thank God. The strategy for winning the war on Islamic terror has not and should not be shared with any public. We will be dosed, one campaign at a time. Iraq may well be the last invasion, but it will depend on what Islamic radicals decide. The price they will have to pay to attack America again is becoming clearer to them and the rest of muslim world. Our winning hand is non-combative, but we would never have gotten to the point of playing it without first demonstrating Bush's pre-emptive defense doctrine (as often as it takes) and waiting for the muslim world to take a responsible position (how long depends on them). "

This brought back a flood of memories. The writer, in my opinion, is correct about security and compartmentalized secrecy. We lived in a James Bond environment where at times we might know Bond's true identity, at times we would not, and sometimes we were outright deceived (you figured that out later, didn't you?). Most of us are still fine with rationale for compelling secrecy. Some lifelong civilians, however, accept no inconvenience whatever, particularly one as abstract as security. For such voters (D-US), subliminal advertising banned in grocery stores has been replaced with propaganda droned by politicians demanding transparency in government (those, D-US who do not release their own military or tax records, for instance). Well, there are still upper echelon secrets whispered only to those who really need to know. Ask yourself, do you get the president's daily intelligence briefing? Well then, you are probably not on the even shorter list of whispered, security "updates" either.


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