Resolving conflicts peacefully
I want to add my 2 cents to the Bradley Manning debate.
Bradley Manning leaked more than 250,000 diplomatic cables.
Diplomacy is used to resolve conflicts between states peacefully.
It prevents disputes from escalating into war.
By leaking the cables Bradley Manning compromised this way of conflict resolution because diplomats can not be sure that the conversation stays confidential, they will therefor be more hesitant to speak freely and thus the efficiency of diplomacy as a means of preventing war is compromised.
The right to know
Didn’t the public have the right to know what was in these cables?
No it did not.
Contrary to the human rights violations that he revealed, I don’t think the public had the right to know what was in these cables.
Transparancy by a government is a good thing, but to much transparancy can hinder a government in representing it’s citizens properly.
US relations with both allied and non-allied nations were damaged by the leaks because the cables contained specific allegations of corruption, and criticism by US embassy staff of their host governments.
Think of it as gossip among private citizens: if you send your friend Alex a text message saying that Michael really annoys you now and than, you do not intend Michael to find out about this statement.
As long as he doesn’t, nothing is wrong. You and Michael get along just fine and the statement you made to Alex is of little importance. You like Michael but he just annoys you sometimes.
However, If Alex’ sister, who saw the text message that you sent to Alex, reveals to Michael what you said, your friendship might be in danger. And naturally you would probably be hesitant to trust Alex again with statements like that.
There is no reason for the public to have to know the content of these cables, especially if the price to pay for this transparamcy is damaged relations with other nations, in that case it is even against public interest to know.
I think Bradley manning is wrongfully treated by the US because of the conditions he is being held in, but the leaking of the diplomatic cables compromises the efficiency of diplomacy and thereby promotes war.
Will diplomacy ever be the same?