Apparently some folks were upset by my suggestion yesterday that it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if Julian Assange were to find a small caliber bullet in his cranial cavity. I say "apparently" because, if this post from Mediaite is any indication, it's really hard to tell when these people are actually exercised about something. I had always wondered what Rush meant when he referred to "the two-inch crowd"; now I know.
We also got quite a lot of scolding-disapproval mail, such as this one from a Canadian who apparently (seriously) "has a background in tree planting":
Date: December 1, 2010 4:31:42 PM EST
Subject: Serious issue
Lexington_Concord's suggestion that Assange ought to be assassinated
is inflamatory and does little to advance debate about this serious
issue. Assassination is a crime and encouraging assination is ...
"my preferred course of action would for Assange to find a small
caliber round in the back of his head."
From: Steve Roman <[email protected]>
Date: December 1, 2010 7:57:40 PM EST
Subject: Just wondering
...how an anti-American piece of s*** like lexington_concord gets a public forum.
The unspoken assumption behind the impotent carping of our illiterate two-inch crowd friends is that suggesting that Assange should be killed in order to prevent further devastating leaks of sensitive information is beyond the pale. Reasonable people should of course not discuss it in polite company.
This position, of course is completely contrary to the history of the law of war, wherein spies were typically subject to summary execution along with pirates. The Hague Conventions of 1907 (Article 31) declared that if you happened to be able to catch a spy alive, you were supposed to give them a trial before executing them; however, nothing contained therein indicated that the trial had to be anything more than a field military tribunal. This tribunal could be limited to the issue of whether the person you caught was, in fact, guilty of the espionage in question. Of course, if you have to kill the spy to prevent ongoing espionage, well, them's the breaks.
A "spy" is defined under the same conventions as one who "acting clandestinely or on false pretences,  obtains or endeavours to obtain information in the zone of operations of a belligerent, with the intention of communicating it to the hostile party." This, of course, is a textbook explanation of what Assange has done, during the course of paying Manning (and perhaps others) to illegally and clandestinely obtain information on America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and communicate them to any and all hostile parties with access to the Internet. And from all indication (based on his own words and promises) he intends to continue doing it for as long as he can escape prosecution for being a rapist. Therefore, if we can catch him alive, then I suppose he must be given a field tribunal of some sort - it's not all bad, though, because that will give us the opportunity to kill him in a way less painless than a small-caliber round to the back of the head. Of course, I'd certainly never suggest torturing him to death - perish the thought. If the bastard runs, forcing us to kill him, well, they shoot horses, don't they?
I guess that the main point here is that, intricacies of arcane international law aside, what sort of person is horrified by the idea of killing someonewho is hellbent on exposing our most vital national secrets until, you know, we force him to stop? Personally, my first instinct was to suggest that we should not only kill him, but also gibbet him in the new Cowboys stadium and charge people for tickets to view the body so we could also knock down the deficit. It seems facially obvious to me that the survival of any country depends on the keeping of certain secrets, and it follows therefrom that Manning should and must be made an example of. In other words, the mindset of "Hey, you can't suggest that we should kill someone who's endangering our soldiers and every diplomatic relation we have!" is as alien to me as the one that suggests that the Black Eyed Peas produce music that isn't complete rubbish.
I have to admit that it's indicative of something that the very people who were horrified by my post tend to be the sort of people who are the first to whine about "epistemic closure" and conservatives not being open minded enough. Apparently to them, no idea should be out of bounds, except the idea that anti-American spies should be put to death in order to prevent them from harming this country. The last 24 hours have taught me that these people exist; they have not taught me that I should regard them as anything other than people who, at heart, root for the defeat of America.
As a side note, I have been informed that some exceptionally ignorant people are referring to Pfc. Bradley Manning as a "whistleblower." Folks, if Bradley Manning is a whistleblower, so was Aldrich Ames. The word "spy" has a meaning, it is applicable to an identifiable class of people (including both Ames and Manning) and it is an insult to "whistleblowers" to associate them with this filth. The willingness of some to use "whistleblower" as applied to Manning is just further evidence that to some people, anyone who harms America's military can't possibly be anything other than a hero.