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Russian Justice

It's not unusual for conservatives to lambaste Putin's Russia for its authoritarian backsliding. Just today, Jamie Fly excoriates the Obama administration's New START treaty on the grounds that, among other things, we really should be pressing Russia on human rights instead. So naturally, conservatives were horrified when authoritarian Russia made a not so subtle threat at WikiLeaks:

So far Russia has had no official response. But on Wednesday, an official at the Center for Information Security of the FSB, Russia’s secret police, gave a warning to WikiLeaks that showed none of the tact of the U.S. reply to the Iraq revelations. “It’s essential to remember that given the will and the relevant orders, [WikiLeaks] can be made inaccessible forever,” the anonymous official told the independent Russian news website LifeNews.

An outrage! Take it away, Charles Krauthammer:

We are at war - a hot war in Afghanistan where six Americans were killed just this past Monday, and a shadowy world war where enemies from Yemen to Portland, Ore., are planning holy terror. Franklin Roosevelt had German saboteurs tried by military tribunal and executed. Assange has done more damage to the United States than all six of those Germans combined. Putting U.S. secrets on the Internet, a medium of universal dissemination new in human history, requires a reconceptualization of sabotage and espionage - and the laws to punish and prevent them. Where is the Justice Department?

And where are the intelligence agencies on which we lavish $80 billion a year? Assange has gone missing. Well, he's no cave-dwelling jihadi ascetic. Find him. Start with every five-star hotel in England and work your way down.

Want to prevent this from happening again? Let the world see a man who can't sleep in the same bed on consecutive nights, who fears the long arm of American justice. I'm not advocating that we bring out of retirement the KGB proxy who, on a London street, killed a Bulgarian dissident with a poisoned umbrella tip. But it would be nice if people like Assange were made to worry every time they go out in the rain.

So is this what we mean by American exceptionalism: being a tad less ruthless than the KGB?