Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nationally Secured, Secrecy...?

The permanent association of National Security with a high level of secrecy, discussed by Garry Wills in the book Bomb Power, enticed me to take deep consideration of the effects of executive secrecy on American Democracy. In the United States we elect officials to represent us through the Democratic Process. It is our responsibility to choose the candidate who we feel would best represent our views in their presidency. The process then seems to be lost in the delegation of responsibility as an American presidential candidate to reveal ones true intentions and policy to the citizens. This high level of secrecy which has been accepted as a part of American Culture is what allows this perversion of politics to exist.

How can Americans be expected to elect officials to represent them when we are kept in the dark on the most important issues? Daniel Patrick Moynihan offers one explanation in his book Secrecy: The American Experience, that “policy is often disabled by the withholding of information from knowledgeable critics” in order to benefit the country in the long-term. In reference to Garry Wills book, in Chapter 2 “The Oppie Machine” is recounted. “The Oppie Machine” offers a perfect example of Moynihan’s idea of keeping knowledgeable critics in the dark. Teller and Strauss worked to strip Oppenheimer of his security clearance to discredit him in order to continue with their plans for the hydrogen bomb because he was in opposition to the creation of the “intrinsically immoral” weapon. If a long-term cause is justifiable, I don’t think that it should ever be necessary to go to great lengths in order to prevent someone in opposition from having further knowledge of the cause. Secrecy is not what this country was built upon in the constitution and it is not what it should subsist on in modern society. 

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