Bradley Manning

Bradley ManningBefore, I start I want to acknowledge that Bradley Manning has much bigger attachments than most people and that includes me. He is one of the few people in the world that have been willing to make a huge personal sacrifice to do what they think is right.

Carol Burnett once said that Comedy is Tragedy plus Time. I think a corollary of that might be A Hero is a Traitor plus Time. Maybe you don’t think Bradley Manning  is a hero – although I think he is – and the judge has already ruled that he is not a traitor by throwing out the charge of  Aiding the Enemy, and it is still too early to look at Manning and see reality through the fog of our own preconceptions, but he has exposed to light a dark part of our National Character.

Today, most people think that Daniel Ellsberg, if not a hero, was a patriot and a positive contributor to our collective history.  But, that is now. In January of 1973, he was thought a traitor by the government and brought to trail under the Espionage Act as well as charges of theft and conspiracy. He would have gone to jail for up to 115 years if the judge hadn’t thrown out the case because of government misconduct. That is much less likely to happen in the military court where Manning is being tried.

What Ellsberg did do was embarrass the United States – or, more accurately, the Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy Administrations, or, even more accurately, powerful, people in those administrations – by showing, in Ellsberg’s words, that the [Nixon and] Johnson Administrations had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance. Bradley Manning has done pretty much of the same thing only with alot more documents.

Among  91,731 other classified documents, Manning gave WikiLeaks videos of an American helicopter airstrike in Baghdad in 2007 and an airstrike in Granai, Afghanistan in 2009. Both airstrikes were most likely accidents and both were classified. The 2007 airstrike was  was against a journalist and two other men who were Reuters employees carrying cameras (the helicopter then fired on a van that stopped to help). The 2009 airstrike killed somewhere between 86–147 Afghan civilians (depending on who is counting).

We don’t like to admit that we kill journalists or civilians in our  hygienic wars and, when we do kill them, it often gets covered up. To kill journalists or civilians is embarrassing. I don’t think that making wars and killing seem civilized and controllable is in the best interest of the United States and I don’t think that the guy who exposes these cover-ups  should be put in jail.

Democracy is doomed without informed citizens, says Robert Meeropola, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg’s son, and I believe he is right. That is where I disagree with the Obama Administration. Maybe I don’t disagree with Obama himself, maybe he really does still believe in the transparency that he ran on. Maybe his administration is going after Manning only because they think they have no political choice, or, maybe they are only trying to cover their asses. I hope Obama still believes in transparency, but I don’t know and have no way of knowing, so I can only hope.


2 thoughts on “Bradley Manning

  1. Personally, I believe the best way to understand what one believes is to look at their actions, not what they say, or what you want them to believe. I am very concerned – actually, frightened – with what is going on at all branches of our government. I don’t think anyone understands the constitution any more, including Obama. Or they have all turned a blind eye for political expediency. In the end, no matter who the politician is, whether president, senator or congressman, democrat or republican, they are all there just to serve the wealthy and corporations – it’s just a matter of degrees. Talk is cheap. The majority of the actions taken, and particularly the big ones, are at the expense of the middle class, the poor and the disenfranchised. Financial institutions are back to their old games, with slaps on the wrist. Obama wants to appoint more Clinton era retreads that were involved in deregulation. Nothing is being done to end poverty or improve affordable education. There is just too much money that is too deeply coursing through EVERY politician’s veins, and I fear it is too late to cut it off.

  2. I wish I could disagree with you more, Vern, but I can’t. I may not be as cynical – or, maybe, I am more cynical – but my bottom line is pretty much the same as yours. I don’t think that the president, senators and congressmen are all there just to serve the wealthy and corporations, I think that they are there to get reelected and serving the wealthy and corporations is just a byproduct.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *