CSotD: US Security and Insecurity

Walt Handelsman isn’t the only cartoonist to depict little kids as the source of the recent security leak, and it’s important to note two things:

One is that the leaker, Jack Teixeira, was arrested just about the time this cartoon first appeared, a photo-finish that means Handelsman knew only that the leak had come from a gaming site.

The other is that exaggeration is part of cartooning, and the fact is that the information was being passed around by gamers. Many gamers are young men, not little kids, but the access factor is worth commenting on: Kids do get to see what is happening on these sites.

Which, BTW, is something parents should be aware of, since the sites can also be racist, homophobic, sexist and generally filled with sewage, but, then, the parents who will hear this already know it and the others are beyond reach.

And to complete that sermonette, it has always been the case that keeping your kids out of media sewers has only a limited protective effect, since they will have friends who roll in the stuff.

But I digress.

Steve Breen (Creators) came in after the (alleged) leaker had been identified, and the accusation in his cartoon is slightly muted: He notes both Teixeira’s youth and his status as a Guardsman rather than a fully fledged Air Force member to suggest what Clay Jones says aloud:

I’m not sure it’s entirely fair, but I’m pretty sure it’s not entirely unfair, either.

To start with, 21 isn’t all that young for military members, as Vietnam vets remember all too well: We were sending them into combat at 19 while Barry McGuire sang “You’re old enough to kill, but not for voting” and Redgum summed up the lasting impact of the horrors to which 19-year-olds had been exposed.

The solution was to let them vote, a partial victory based on the theory that, while 18-year-olds may have the maturity and judgment necessary to vote, if you let young people get too old, they won’t want to run towards machine guns anymore.

It is reasonable to ask if we allow too many people too much access to top secret material, but I’ve heard several veterans of some standing explain the reality: Most of the documentation prepared by senior officers was prepared by low-ranking, young staffers.

Which is one of those things that makes sense as soon as you hear it: Unless you envision colonels and generals sitting at keyboards hammering out memos, you’ve got to recognize that low-level people need to, and do routinely, have access.

As for Teixeira’s specific qualifications and screening, those same wise veterans observed that the armed forces mirror the overall population. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t tighten things up, but it does suggest that no system is perfect in an imperfect world.

Jimmy Margulies (KFS) provides the so-what, which is that anyone who was shocked to learn we spy on our allies is a mooncalf. Of course we do, we always have, and they spy on us, too, and always have.

While there was significant damage in these leaks, it’s doubtful they revealed much that both our allies and our enemies didn’t already know, though the details can reveal sources that endanger specific lives and seal off future intel.

Similar to when Donald Trump cheerfully gave Russian officials top secret information about an Israeli operation, the difference being that Trump was better positioned than Teixeira to indulge a compulsion to show off and to demonstrate a complete lack of mature judgment.

Seriously. As president, you can do that stuff. Once you leave office, well, we’re gonna see.

But airmen can’t do it, either in service or after.

Juxtaposition of the Day

I like this pair, admittedly, because I have never liked Clarence Thomas’s sense of privilege, a revulsion that goes back to his confirmation, when he was chosen to replace Thurgood Marshall for reasons you didn’t have to be suspicious about because they were as open as could be without someone coming right out and saying, “We’ll nominate another negro, but not a troublemaker this time.”

It would be like replacing a feminist who championed women’s medical autonomy with a militantly anti-choice handmaid so you could say, “Look! We nominated another girl!”

The swap might have passed unremarked if, when asked to respond to reasonable and well-documented examples of sexual harassment, he had simply apologized and said he meant no harm and was now happily married. Instead, he pulled out the race card and complained of “a high-tech lynching.”

It wasn’t his politics or even his boorish behavior towards women. It was his wanting to have it both ways, his galling pretense that race was not an issue with his supporters but was one with his opponents.

And here we are again, with Thomas behaving with the insouciant glee mocked in Matson’s cartoon and the jaw-dropping lack of self-awareness demonstrated by Horsey.

Put it to the test, Clarence. You’re 74. That’s more than a respectable age at which to retire, and I’m sure you’ve got a comfortable pension lined up.

Drop off the bench and let us know how often you’re invited to tour Indonesia.

I double dare you.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Rogers cites Monty Python, mocking the casual attitude with which Republicans accept the fact that guns are now the leading cost of death among young people, and the vacuous way they send thoughts and prayers in place of acting to stem the slaughter.

Meanwhile, Lester accuses the media of blaming the ready availability of guns, not the grim rise in psychotic killers, and has the reporter ask “Why’d you do it?”

I don’t know. Why not ask Ralph Yarl, who was shot in the head because he went to an address on 115 Street instead of 115th Terrace to pick up his little brothers?

He might answer, if he recovers, so it makes more sense than to ask Kaylin Gillis, who won’t answer, having been shot and killed as her friends turned around in a gunowner’s driveway.

And we have no idea yet who to ask at that Sweet 16 Birthday Party in Alabama, but I know four kids who won’t reply.

For my part, I’ll ask this: Why does it seem that the people who want to stop the flow of fentanyl do not also want to stop the flow of guns?

5 thoughts on “CSotD: US Security and Insecurity

  1. As a computer troubleshooter, I could read every byte of traffic. There was some terrible stuff. Customers had no idea I could do so and I never thought about leaking anything.

  2. When it comes to shooting first ‘without’ asking questions, I’m pulling out the so-called dreaded “D” word describing these people….deplorable

    1. “For my part, I’ll ask this: Why does it seem that the people who want to stop the flow of fentanyl do not also want to stop the flow of guns?”

      Trite answer: Fentanyl doesn’t have its own Constitutional Amendment.

      I believe as long as there is a Second Amendment, its proponents believe they don’t have to justify gun ownership.

  3. Would love to know what Lester thinks should be done with the giant black drippy shadow; because as much as wingnuts like to make sure everyone’s good and scared about the obvious-looking “murderer” from central casting, it appears that the giant drippy shadow is more likely to be a random old fart paranoid about “those people” on his property. Or a jealous ex-husband. Or an unsupervised child. Or a drunk who feels like showing off. Or a disgruntled teenager going through their “angry at the world” phase. Or some idiot who didn’t know how to holster his open-carry toy while he’s checking out at Wal-Mart.

    What’s the common denominator? Well, gee whiz, it seems to be easy access to a gun. Asking a murderer how and where he got his murder weapon is a pretty fair question even if the murderer is a mud puddle.

    I don’t want to overturn the 2nd amendment, but for the love of God could these nimrods stop treating deadly weapons like f%**~ing toys?

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