You can fight for freedom, but you can’t write about it

By Duganz

Our always helpful federal government has taken a huge jump into the book burning business.

In an effort to help sales of Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer’s new memoir Operation Dark Heart, and give a decent one-two to the First Amendment, the feds bought 9,500 copies of the first run of the book. That leaves 500 copies available. The government sites security concerns, and so the book now includes these riveting lines in new printings:

“Here I was in Afghanistan (redaction) My job: to run the Defense Intelligence Agency’s operations out of (redaction) the hub for U.S. operations in country.”


Nice to know we’re so free. I mean, the government burns books, but not every copy. Freedom marches on!

Hopefully in the future Uncle Sam will only burn literary disasters that deserve it.

  1. Very bad form. The usual practice in this country is for information never to be available at all. That way extreme measures like this are unnecessary and we can still pretend that we don’t censor.

  2. JC

    I hope he got list price. That’d be about a quarter million. Stimulus comes in many forms…

    What’s really ridiculous, is that an unredacted version will inevitably surface, and all that info will get out. WHich leads me to believe that they were trying to make an example out of Shaffer. While the censoring is bad enough, warning other authors in advance with their treatment of Shaffer is pretty draconian.

    Glad we still got Wikileaks!

  3. What does it tell us that Wikileaks is hiding out in Sweden?

    I tend to agree – as any Christian will tell you, attempts at censorship create desire to see what is censored. That is the only thing that made the Last Temptation of Christ even mildly interesting.

  4. CFS

    I bet it was a well crafted publicity stunt crafted in the example of Terry Jones so that the Lt Col. could sell more books.

  5. Moorcat

    One of the hardest things to do in this country is balance information release with keeping some information classified. Having worked on Nuclear Subs, I certainly didn’t want the operating perameters of my submarine blasted all over the internet. There are many similar situations I could give you but the idea remains the same.. how do you keep sensitive information safe while allowing unsensitive information to be accessed by the general public. More importantly, where do you draw the line?

    The basis for oversight is to ensure that the line gets drawn for the safety of the people involved. If this individual leaked sensitive information (more importantly, information that could get people killed), I am glad they censured it. I will leave it to powers with a lot more information than I have to determine what should and should not be released.

    • The Polish Wolf

      Yeah, leaked information has its purpose, but frankly I think it can generally wait until our folks are out of harm’s way. I agree with JC though – the information will still get out and will get online, and all this embarrassing fiasco will be for naught. What I worry about WikiLeaks is not that it will put information in the hands of terrorists; I imagine they have the information already. But it will put information in the hands of anyone in Afghanistan with a grudge and within distance of a cybercafe, and while that doesn’t really endanger our soldiers it could well endanger our friends.

      That said, I’ve not seen a documented case of that happening, so perhaps the info is not as sensitive as all that.

      • CFS

        If you are worried about things endangering our service men, worry less about wikileaks, and ore about psychopaths that use their military service to murder civilians and private contractors operating outside of the law. Those are the types of abuses that engender more hatred among the people we are trying to “liberate” then a couple hundred thousand military documents that most people will never spend the time looking at.

        • The Polish Wolf

          Or be able to read, them being in English and all…I agree with you, that’s why I noted that its not been documented that anyone is using wikileaks to target our troops or our allies.

          I don’t really know how we thought that we weren’t going to get psychopaths in the military, given who Iraq forced us to accept to keep up our troop strength. I just hope that we show the world that we are serious about eliminating these crimes.

          • CFS

            War has always attracts those with violent tendencies… We will never eliminate war as an excuse to indulge in the darker side of human nature. The stresses that war places on men’s minds is often too much for even “well adjusted” and “mentally stable” persons to take.

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