WikiLeaks: making us question if ignorance IS bliss

// Posted by on 02/22/2012 (8:29 PM)

After watching “Why We Fight” I began to think about our country’s sense of nationalism. On a daily basis we criticize the motives of those who run the media and we check our sources to verify the facts; however, we rarely do this with our government. For the most part, as Americans, we accept what our nation’s leaders tell us to be the truth. Recently, more and more people have begun to investigate these truths. Insiders within these agencies have begun to come forth as well, as we see in the documentary, revealing to us that not everything we are told is true. Oftentimes the government misleads us and censors information to promote and internal agenda – especially when it comes to war.

In 2010 WikiLeaks became a sensation as several highly confidential, federal documents were released to the public. Some of these files revealed sensitive information regarding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, theWar in Iraq and the Afghan War Diary from the War in Afghanistan. A video released from a raid in Baghdad by the Apache helicopter fleet, which was titled “Collateral Murder”, received a lot of attention to the killing going on abroad. In the video I attached Stephen Colbert interviews Julian Assange about the video.

Colbert spends much of the interview asking Assange about his views regarding freedoms of speech. He chastises Assange saying that he has brought to light things that make American’s sad, reminding him of the phrase “ignorance is bliss”. Assange continues to say that several people were upset by the video from it’s title alone; however, 90% of the site’s visitors did not even watch the video. They accepted its content based on the title. This is indicative, to me at least, of our willingness to accept what is put before us. Even when we are being confronted with an alternative truth we do not take the time to investigate the lies that we have been formerly fed – we just accept the counterargument on face value (only 10% of us take the time to watch the Apache video and evaluate the evidence for example).

Americans have been raised to see our country as the land of the free and the home of the brave. If we fight go to fight a war it is because we are defending freedom and liberty – we do not ask questions because liberty is calling. If you do go against the grain you are considered unpatriotic and disrespectful of the founders who fought for your freedoms. While I do not believe that everything our country stands for is a farce I do believe that documentaries like “Why We Fight” and sources like WikiLeaks are necessary because they shed light on the questions we should begin asking.

Only limited amounts of information are released by the government and delivered to us by the media. By the time it reaches our ears it has been manipulated and dissected so many times it is hard to know the truth. Oftentimes we are told censored pieces of the truth for our protection and safety, but when is the line crossed and censorship becomes an issue of power and control? It all comes back to the main question of who has the power to speak and be heard. Oftentimes it is the government and as the power at hand they can control what message is fed to the mass public. As Americans we need to begin to ask more questions and try to reveal more of the truths.

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Kelsey said...

Couldn’t agree with you more! After watching that documentary I really began to wonder how we ended up going to Iraq in the first place. I was in fourth grade when 9/11 happened and Osama Bin Laden’s face was all over the news in the weeks that followed. But the next thing I knew we were going to war with Iraq. As a nine year old I was asking my dad why we were going after this guy, Saddam Hussein, when Osama Bin Laden was the one who bombed us? How is it no one spoke up? No one asked the questions that needed to be asked? Phylicia’s post also sheds light on this problem. We are fed PG news and no one challenges it. I can only imagine how frustrated people from the Vietnam War era must be. We know now that the government was blatantly lying to us and yet our vigilance is no better than it was back then.
I don’t know what it will take to change this but we find ourselves in a revolutionary time period. Protests are rampant across the Middle East and Europe, if our government continues to lie to its citizens and give us the PG version of things then I wouldn’t be surprised to find the people of this country starting a little rebellion of their own.

// 02/25/2012 at 1:38 pm

Tommy said...

I think part of the problem comes from that fact that we, as Americans, expect a great deal of the government and news media, especially when it concerns our right to information. Floating around the internet today, accompanied by a picture of the twin towers on 9/11, is a letter by a canadian woman about the current war on terror. While the letter itself (link below) appears to be fake, or at least re-written several times over the years from varying perspectives, the sentiment seems to be relatively accurate. One of the lines of the letter reads “I’ll care when the Canadian media stops pretending that their freedom of speech on stories is more important than the lives of the soldiers on the ground or their families waiting at home to hear about them when something happens.” Although she is speaking about the Canadian media, I think it applies to out own media as well. I think people are becoming more and more willing to sacrifice”protection and safety” for information. I also think that this is partly to due with the rise of social media, where first-hand accounts are available in real-time. Furthermore, I think this relationship is cyclical, and now that some information is being made more readily available thanks to social media, Americans are expecting the news media to catch-up and stop censoring the news.—must-read.html

// 02/28/2012 at 3:19 pm