Nowadays it is fashionable to call members of the American armed forces heroes. Times have changed because just a few decades ago many were called baby-killers. Neither term is particularly accurate however when either is deemed chic utterance it connotes an attending and fashionable collective mindset of the time.
"Baby-killers" was popular in the sixties among Vietnam demonstrators. Thankfully that war was ended in the seventies through the indefatigable efforts of youthful protestors expressing aversions to the slaughter of brown people for riches. Young whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg played a crucial role by facilitating involuntary transparency of distasteful facts theretofore hidden by authorities. These days he is generally considered a true national hero but only because back then astute society still held power enough to bludgeon the military-industrial complex back into ultimate submission. Were NDAA 2012 in Nixon's hands things might be different.
Since those days enormously well-funded warmongering endeavors have resulted in popular means of dissent being legislated away and prevalent collective mindsets being orchestrated to equate US uniforms with heroism—underscoring the unwarranted military-industrial influence in society which Ike foresaw in 1961. Volunteering to don uniforms in the cause of unchallenged empire is rarely perceived worldwide to be heroism. It is however globally recognized to pay well.
Irrespective of clothing remarkable individuals occasionally undertake valiant sacrificial efforts on behalf of freedom, equality, and justice. From the ill fated efforts of Daniel Shay's rag-tag army to the current solitary efforts of ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden, principled individuals sometimes arise putting common good above selfish interests while broadcasting covert truths at huge potential risk.
Modern governments everywhere are purveyors of privilege inherently fearing truth. Traders in privilege are characterized by incremental corruption and escalating deceit so escalating secrecy is required as well. Welcome to this world filled with paranoid State officials who recognize that newer technologies portend unstoppable discoveries with attending losses of secrecy. Worldwide powers-that-be are in denial that probably they rule on borrowed time.
Right now under the guise of defeating terrorism, stopgap measures appear desperately to focus on eventually declaring the use of all goods and services to be unlawful by other than authorized entities and personnel. Nevertheless legislation is inconsequential to militants spawned by perceived injustices like the inevitable results of deceitful foreign policy. Involuntary transparency eventually is likely to destroy the status quo and ultimately dictate benign foreign activities with more humane behavior however short-lived.
Modern China perhaps has recognized this since their currently effective international approach appears to adequately reward resource owners as they have done in parts of Africa. The west still orchestrates in secret elitism where China may be wisely and popularly embracing. Any need for intense secrecy is no asset.
By revealing NSA secrets Edward Snowden became a hero even before saying this to Glenn Greenwald: "I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under." He is now in Hong Kong for a short reprieve, hoping to escape constant surveillance. Nonetheless it is human nature that incrementally corrupts all known forms of government to the point of abject oppression.