Wikileaks and transparent government

Cicero asks:

So is the Wikileaks expose nothing more than an embarrassment?

It should be. One of the essential prerequisites for any functioning democracy is an informed citizenry – we should know what our elected representatives are saying and doing and we should be able to respond to that information. While there is value in keeping the detail of some conversations (temporarily) confidential, we should be able to assume that the the broad thrust of those conversations is consistent with publicly stated positions.

If, in other words, the Western democracies are in a healthy state, Cablegate will lead to a few days of interest and several mildly embarrassing headlines but nothing we didn’t already know – or couldn’t have reasonably guessed.

If that’s not the case, however, we should remember that it’s not the messenger that deserves to be shot.