Todayís Strategypage.com has an interesting post by Harold Hutchinson. (Post dated March 7, 2006.) The post discusses a recent decision by a Federal judge which forced the release of the names of more than 500 detainees currently being held at Gitmo. The court case was brought by the Associated Press in order to force the DoD to comply with a Freedom of Information request that they had filed.
Hutchinson says that the decision is a great victory for our terrorist enemy in the Global War on Terror, and compares it to the Axis powers in WWII learning that their codes had been broken by the Allies.
I donít know enough about the intelligence gathered through interrogations at Gitmo to know if Hutchinsonís assessment of the damage to our efforts is hyperbole or not, but it is certain that one point he made in his short essay is correct. The release of this information will put the lives of those who cooperated in the capture of the detainees at risk. Not only that but, knowing something about the feud mentality of most terrorists, the lives of their families will also be in jeopardy.
Letís be very clear about this. Innocent people will probably die.
Most of the major US news organizations recently refused to print the Danish cartoons lampooning Mohammed which had sparked riots across the world. The reason given for withholding information vital to a full understanding of current events was a concern for showing the proper respect to Islam. Many pundits, myself included, rejected that claim and speculated that the people who made this decision were motivated out of fear. They simply didnít want to become the target of retaliation.
The concern for safety goes out the window when the lives at risk are of faceless foreigners living far away. So an entire family might be dragged from their house and shot to death in the street? Maybe the AP can get some pictures!
A free press is absolutely necessary for a free society. People who seek to make journalism a career usually claim that they are motivated by the highest of ideals. Their rhetoric isnít supported by their actions.