Thomas L. Friedman in his New York Times column suggests that Edward Snowden made a bad first impression and “deserves a chance to make a second impression — that he truly is a whistle-blower, not a traitor.” The first impression Snowden made is that he is a “traitor”, Friedman suggests, because “he dumped his data and fled to countries that are hostile to us and to the very principles he espoused.”
Are China or Russia hostile to you? It is evident that the government most hostile to us is the U.S. government, including the NSA’s illegal invasions of our privacy that Snowden exposed. Friedman doesn’t consider that Snowden is certainly no traitor, since the “data” that he “dumped” reveals that he fled from a government that is hostile to us and to the principles he espoused.
It is this same hostile government that Friedman would have Snowden return to prove that he is a whistleblower — as though any more proof was needed than the nature of the information he leaked and the government abuses it shed light on. Snowden must return to the U.S., “make his case and face his accusers. It would mean risking a lengthy jail term, but also trusting the fair-mindedness of the American people, who, I believe, will not allow an authentic whistle-blower to be unfairly punished.”
Friedman’s initial impression of Snowden that he is a “traitor” doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the “fair-mindedness of the American people” — at least not in those high priests of the state religion whose job it is to tell the sheeple what to they are supposed to think, like suggesting to us that Snowden’s unwillingness to face the full prosecutorial might and fury of the U.S. government for the sin of exposing its lawlessness somehow proves that he is not only not a whistleblower, but a “traitor”.
Edward Snowden is not merely a whistleblower. He is a hero. The man sacrificed everything to courageously stand on a principle that the government is not above the law, that Americans need to be aware of the government’s crimes against them, that such lawlessness is not acceptable and must be stopped. Friedman would have him carry his own cross, too.
Snowden, unlike Friedman, is not a moral and intellectual coward, a high priest of the state religion whose voice in the media serves only to excuse and attempt to justify the extreme lawlessness of the U.S. government.