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What Enemy?
March 3, 2011 7:15 AM   Subscribe

The U.S. Army has brought 22 new charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Among the new charges is an Article 104 offence of 'aiding the enemy' that carries a potential death sentence. Yet neither the original charges nor the new charges identify the enemy to which the US military is referring. (previously)

Related :
PayPal recently froze the account of couragetoresist.org for their support of Bradley Manning.
posted by jeffburdges (223 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think the enemy is us.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:17 AM on March 3, 2011 [53 favorites]


Daniel Ellsberg, whatever his intentions, gave aid and comfort to the enemy, and under those circumstances, that is inexcusable. After all, he is putting himself above the president of the United States, above the Congress, above our whole system of government, when he says in effect that he would determine what should be made public.Richard Nixon

posted by Joe Beese at 7:19 AM on March 3, 2011 [47 favorites]


Bradley Manning: The Forgotten Man
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:21 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I think the enemy is us.

Pretty much. Or the vague usage of a loaded word such as "enemy" is employed so the Obama administration can plug what it sees as a legal loophole that allows information to escape and invite scrutiny. Trying to leak information to increase public awareness and maybe spark reform measures? Nah, you're trying to help Al Qaeda.

I'm still a bit incredulous about how they're supposedly not letting Manning exercise in his cell.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:21 AM on March 3, 2011


that carries a potential death sentence

The prosecution has stated they will not ask for/seek the death penalty. I guess the judge could decide to choose it anyway?
posted by mikepop at 7:22 AM on March 3, 2011


> I guess the judge could decide to choose it anyway?

Yes, if the statute is worded to allow or encourage it as in this one, then yes.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:25 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


When no one can tell who the enemy is, it means you are the enemy.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:25 AM on March 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


There is a blog for the defense at armycourtmartialdefense.info which has some lovely gems.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:26 AM on March 3, 2011


Do military court martial trials accept amicus briefs?
posted by mattbucher at 7:26 AM on March 3, 2011


Do military court martial trials accept amicus briefs?

At least sometimes, apparently.
posted by jedicus at 7:29 AM on March 3, 2011


[[ The prosecution has stated they will not ask for/seek the death penalty. I guess the judge could decide to choose it anyway? ]]

Yes, if the statute is worded to allow or encourage it as in this one, then yes.


And nothing gives the state more leverage over the accused than the death penalty.

If they're that desperate to break him, why not just waterboard him 183 times? I hear that works.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:29 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least they've bothered to think of some charges, which is more than you can say for certain Gitmo residents.

I hope he gets a fair trail, but I do think a trial is the right place for him. If you take a job that demands a certain level of confidentiality from you, there should rightly be consequences for breaking it. But, like, a big fine or some heavy lifting, not death...
posted by londonmark at 7:29 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He'd probably be safe if he was a civilian like Ellsberg
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 7:30 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a real possibility that Adrian Lamo's evidence against Bradley Manning was entirely forged. Julius Rosenberg was executed based upon forged evidence even though he was likely spying for the Russians.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:32 AM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Do military charges like this normally state who the enemy is? Are they required to?
posted by zarq at 7:33 AM on March 3, 2011


A conviction and execution would really be the cap on our rapid decent into a de facto police state.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:33 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Manning was a soldier when he committed treason (releasing copious quantities of classified intelligence into the internet and thus indiscriminately to the whole world, including to America's enemies). Naturally, the Army is responding harshly and wants to make an example. I have no problem with that.
posted by knoyers at 7:33 AM on March 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Joe Beese - That quote really says it all. Ellsberg and Manning both acted as enemies of the US government. Not the government as abstract entity that we learn about in civics books, but the government as manifested in a specific moment of time at which they both exposed embarrassing private information about it

As Nixon says by omission, they did not act as enemies of the American people. And there ought to be something we as Americans can do to stop this travesty of justice. Leaking those cables was an just act, whatever the legality
posted by crayz at 7:35 AM on March 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


The prosecution has stated they will not ask for/seek the death penalty.

At least not until they get Assange extradited from Sweden.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:36 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I disagree with the argument that his actions constitute treason, and I think the "aid and comfort" to the enemy is way too far. But this case cannot be compared to Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg was a civilian; what Manning is accused of doing would be a crime under military law no matter what you think of Ellsberg.
posted by spaltavian at 7:37 AM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ellsberg was a civilian; what Manning is accused of doing would be a crime under military law no matter what you think of Ellsberg.

Civilian whistleblowers have also been marked for destruction.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:40 AM on March 3, 2011


The New York Times has made the specific charges available as an 8 page PDF.
posted by zarq at 7:40 AM on March 3, 2011


I believe that Manning did violate his obligations as a soldier. However, I have a great deal of sympathy for him, and I would want President Obama to pardon him. I don't expect that to happen, but it would be the ideal resolution from my perspective. Manning is guiilty of a crime, but he had good motives for what he did.
posted by grizzled at 7:41 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"the Army is responding harshly and wants to make an example. I have no problem with that.
posted"

Yeah, see, you should have a problem with that. The army should be seeking justice not be engaged in "making an example." The two are certainly not the same. The former is the way a civilized, intelligent, fair, well-meaning, sincere institution handles it's affairs. Of course you are free to believe that the army need not embrace any, or even most, of those adjectives. I would be very alarmed by such a stance.
posted by oddman at 7:42 AM on March 3, 2011 [16 favorites]


Joe Beese: If they're that desperate to break him, why not just waterboard him 183 times? I hear that works.

I know exactly what you mean, and I feel exactly the same way that you do, but this isn't funny at all to me and just makes me even sadder.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:45 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese Civilian whistleblowers have also been marked for destruction.

Did you read my comment? Your post makes no sense as a response to mine. Obvously, I don't think Ellsberg did anything illegal, and anyone with a passing knowledge of the Nixon years knows what the government has done to "get" whistleblowers. Again, I don't think you can compare Ellsberg's situation to Manning's. Ellsberg was under no obligation to protect government secrets.
posted by spaltavian at 7:45 AM on March 3, 2011


paisley henosis: I know exactly what you mean, and I feel exactly the same way that you do, but this isn't funny at all to me and just makes me even sadder.

Was he trying to be funny?

oddman: The former is the way a civilized, intelligent, fair, well-meaning, sincere institution handles it's affairs.

Since when has the US military been any of those things? "Well-meaning"? Are you kidding?
posted by blucevalo at 7:49 AM on March 3, 2011


Again, I don't think you can compare Ellsberg's situation to Manning's.

I can, and have.

If you're not persuaded, you're not persuaded.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:50 AM on March 3, 2011


Do military charges like this normally state who the enemy is? Are they required to?

The charges might not have to, but assuming it's anything like a regular criminal proceeding (and I admit I don't know anything about how courts martial work), then an identifiable enemy would have to be proven as an element of the offense.

For reference, the relevant part of Article 104 reads "Any person who ... (2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly; shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial or military commission may direct."

Notice the "indirectly" part. That accounts for the fact that the cables went through WikiLeaks rather than directly to, say, the Taliban or Iraqi insurgents.

"Enemy" is defined pretty broadly, although not in the UCMJ itself. "[T]he meaning of the term "enemy" ... has evolved into a concept which embraces not only organized forces of the enemy in time of war but any hostile body which forcibly seeks to defeat any military mission assigned to our armed forces, regardless of whether a state of belligerency exists or not." U.S. v. Monday, 36 C.M.R. 711 (1966).
posted by jedicus at 7:54 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Ellsberg was under no obligation to protect government secrets.

I think this is incorrect. He was an analyst with a high level clearance. He was definitely doing something that was technically illegal by photocopying all those documents.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:54 AM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ellsberg was under no obligation to protect government secrets.

And I say every human being, no matter what their nationality or occupation, is under more obligation to the rest of the their countrymen and the world to do the right thing than they are to protect their government's secrets. When those secrets contain information on acts of injustice and corruption committed by both our government and many other governments and corporations around the world, the public at large deserve to be aware of that.

The ethical thing for any person who discovered that information, whatever the situation, would be to release it. Which is what Bradley Manning did

So I really don't care, as an American, what specific laws he violated. He did the right thing and any American ought to be demanding his immediate release, via a pardon, act of Congress, jury nullification - whatever route is most effective. It should be a political issue of the American left if they/we have any principles that supercede "law and order"
posted by crayz at 7:55 AM on March 3, 2011 [24 favorites]


Manning was a soldier when he committed treason (releasing copious quantities of classified intelligence into the internet and thus indiscriminately to the whole world, including to America's enemies). Naturally, the Army is responding harshly and wants to make an example. I have no problem with that.

1- Allegged to have committed specific crimes related to providing information but not actual treason.
2-The entire public evidence of this treason are some AOL chat logs provided by a convicted felon and known fabulist. Logs which can be forged and edited with alll the skills of someone using windows notepad.
3-there is a suspect list of 3 million other people who had nearly identical access to these documents.
4-The military and state department have yet to show actual harm (other than embarrassment) from the release of this information. In fact it has resulted in the collapse of two dictatorships and advanced on of our key strategic goals, the democratization of the middle east.

How this ads up to more than a slap on the wrist is mind boggling.
posted by humanfont at 7:56 AM on March 3, 2011 [35 favorites]


Identification of a specific "enemy" is unnecessary for most of these charges, because 18 USC 793 also makes it illegal to release classified information that the accused has "reason to believe ...[will be] used to the injury of the United States."

As for the UCMJ treason charge, Art. 99 defines the term "enemy" in the elements:
"(b) Enemy. “Enemy” includes organized forces of the enemy in time of war, any hostile body that our forces may be opposing, such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades, and includes civilians as well as members of military organizations. “Enemy” is not restricted to the enemy government or its armed forces. All the citizens of one belligerent are enemies of the government and all the citizens of the other." Al Qaeda, armed rebels, or other non-state entities with which the USA is actively engaged in conflict would all qualify.

But I think that the government will have a hell of time arguing that his attempt to disseminate this data widely on the internet for the purposes of making it public satisfies the knowledge element of the law. Maybe it's just me.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:57 AM on March 3, 2011


I have this bleak feeling that Manning's story is going to end badly; at this point I don't see him ever getting any thing that really looks like justice or fairness in his lifetime.

However, I also strongly suspect that history will eventually remember him as a patriot and a martyr, whether he meant to be or not.
posted by quin at 7:57 AM on March 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


It would probably be too much to hope for Scooter Libby to be next, wouldn't it?
posted by at by at 7:59 AM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


....the enemy (wink, wink) (nudge, nudge).
posted by blue_beetle at 7:59 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Manning took an oath in the military and he betrayed it. Damn straight he should be brought up on charges and there's no way in hell that Obama should or will pardon him.

This doesn't mean the military should be behaving like assholes, but pardon him? slap on the wrist? They're going to throw the book at him and that's completely understandable.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:01 AM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


spaltavian: “Ellsberg was a civilian; what Manning is accused of doing would be a crime under military law no matter what you think of Ellsberg.”

This points up a major problem with US military law: it's frequently unjust.
posted by koeselitz at 8:01 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


blucevalo: Was he trying to be funny?

I'm pretty sure he wasn't advocating torture.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:01 AM on March 3, 2011


Was he trying to be funny?

At least ironic, which used to mean something.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:01 AM on March 3, 2011


PayPal recently froze the account of couragetoresist.org for their support of Bradley Manning.

But then, in the face of mounting criticism, gave it second-thoughts and unfroze the account.
posted by humannaire at 8:03 AM on March 3, 2011


I have this bleak feeling that Manning's story is going to end badly

Yes, because those of us who believe what he did was an act of conscience, and therefore brave and understandable if not entirely excusable (and I'm sure there are a few such people in the military and in the Obama administration in a position to influence the course of events), are going to remain predictably silent as the institutions of our government throw the proverbial book at Manning.
posted by killdevil at 8:08 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do military charges like this normally state who the enemy is? Are they required to?
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on March 3


"Aiding the enemy" is a phrase in the statute. Specifically:

"Any person who—

(1) aids, or attempts to aid, the enemy with arms, ammunition, supplies, money, or other things; or

(2) without proper authority, knowingly harbors or protects or gives intelligence to or communicates or corresponds with or holds any intercourse with the enemy, either directly or indirectly"

The relevant elements are:
"(4) Giving intelligence to the enemy.

(a) That the accused, without proper authority, knowingly gave intelligence information to the enemy; and

(b) That the intelligence information was true, or implied the truth, at least in part. "

His defense has to rigidly define "enemy" in suc a way that it isn't wikileaks.

I think the enemy is us.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:17 AM on March 3


I don't know what this means. I never gave classified information to anyone who wasn't authorized to get it, and I never attempted to collect classified information that I wasn't authorized to have. Bradley Manning did both of those things.

I don't really understand the desire to lionize this guy or to immediately embark upon his apologetics. If you live in the US and you believe in representative democracy, then you have to believe that the government is representing your interests by keeping certain things secret, even is somethings out of context seem troubling. Your government decided to fight a war, right? You voted for either guy, both of who said they would continue to fight the war. And then you are appalled that the army covered up killing a bunch of non-combatants out of fear that it would undermine support for the war you voted for? If that is the kind of thing that puts you off war, maybe you shouldn't have voted for either guy who supported the war. And allow me to remind you that in the last war where we were clearly the "good guys", we carpet-bombed German cities, with the specific intention of killing civilians, and then we dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. If you don't like how the sausage is made, maybe you shouldn't order the sausage.

If on the other hand you believe that the government is corrupt or a tool of undemocratic forces and that leaking this information is heroic (even though none of the leaked info proves this), then why aren't you taking more radical action? If you think the government is oppressing you, then shouldn't you do something about it, simply out of self interest if not collective interest? The government of Egypt was far more ruthless and oppressive than the US is, and those people took to the streets. What the hell are you doing to cast off the yoke of Obama's oppression? Being sarcastic? Writing one-liners?

Grow up. If you serve in the army in the middle of a war where your fellow soldiers are counting on you to keep classified info secret so they don't get killed trying to do their duty, and then you leak it to a narcissistic jackass with an agenda that runs contrary to the orders you swore to obey, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that if you don't get dragged out and shot behind the motor pool, you at least deserve to have the shit kicked out of you before you're thrown into solitary for the rest of your life.

It's the Army, not the Peace Corps.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:09 AM on March 3, 2011 [32 favorites]


Yeah, see, you should have a problem with that. The army should be seeking justice not be engaged in "making an example." The two are certainly not the same. The former is the way a civilized, intelligent, fair, well-meaning, sincere institution handles it's affairs. Of course you are free to believe that the army need not embrace any, or even most, of those adjectives. I would be very alarmed by such a stance.
posted by oddman at 7:42 AM on March 3


All prosecutions are meant to discourage other potential criminals and to make an example, as well as to dispense justice and prevent criminals from continuing in their crimes.

It is only natural that the most infamous, outrageous and publicized crimes are going to be more of an "example" than others.

If the Army wants to make an example of Manning, that goal is not incompatible with the Army being civilized (which it is, in the sense of being an element of a civilization), well-meaning (in its way) and sincere. As for fairness, I think that Manning fairly deserves a life sentence, if he is guilty of what he is accused of, since the crime is deliberately exposing vast amounts of national intelligence to everyone, including the most dangerous, and doing so while serving a soldier.

The fact that soldiers have different laws applied to them is not unfair or wrong. There has always been a separate military discipline and law, not just in the U.S. military but in all militaries so far as I am aware. We have an all-volunteer army.

Manning joined the Army, knew about military law, and stabbed the Army in the eye and the country in the back.

4-The military and state department have yet to show actual harm (other than embarrassment) from the release of this information. In fact it has resulted in the collapse of two dictatorships and advanced on of our key strategic goals, the democratization of the middle east.

Putting questions of whether Manning's guilt has yet been proven to the general public, a lack of harm (which is arguable, as is the extent to which WikiLeaks is directly responsible for the revolts) does not expunge the crime of giving national security secrets to the world.

Moreover, the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia probably do not benefit American interests, although the revolution in Libya certainly does.

American soldiers are supposed to serve American interests.
posted by knoyers at 8:17 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


His defense has to rigidly define "enemy" in suc a way that it isn't wikileaks.

No, his defense has to rigidly define "enemy" in such a way as to exclude everyone who indirectly recevied the information from wikileaks. Wikileaks doesn't have to be the enemy, just the channel for the information indirectly as the UCMJ says.

Also the government has to prove that it was "knowingly". The defense could go with a "He was stupid defense."
posted by Jahaza at 8:18 AM on March 3, 2011


This points up a major problem with US military law: it's frequently unjust.
posted by koeselitz at 11:01 AM on March 3


Holy crap, do you realize how absurd this sounds? Military law is unjust? But rolling tanks into the middle of another country without its permission and blowing things up and killing people is just? The entire function of the military exists outside of the notion of justice. The entire apparatus is predicated on people sublimating their individuality and identity to the function they serve within that apparatus.

What Manning may very well have been an act of conscience. But individual conscience is not a thing that exists in the military. Otherwise, how could you reliably expect anyone to follow orders? "Go take that enemy bunker." "No way, those people aren't my enemies, I don't even know them!"

The military is not a society; it is a machine. The soldiers are not people; they are components. If a machine part stops working, you tear it out and throw it away and replace it with one that works.

That's what happened with Manning. They tore him out, and this is how they are throwing him into the garbare. And don't kid yourself that he was not immediately replaced with a soldier "of conscience"who is keeping all new horrific shit secret.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:19 AM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you live in the US and you believe in representative democracy, then you have to believe that the government is representing your interests by keeping certain things secret, even is somethings out of context seem troubling

we have a plutocracy that pretends to be a representative democracy

If on the other hand you believe that the government is corrupt or a tool of undemocratic forces and that leaking this information is heroic (even though none of the leaked info proves this), then why aren't you taking more radical action?

it's not the right time for that - more people must be convinced that something is wrong before one starts taking radical action - which, if you convince enough people, may not be necessary anyway

besides, you really don't think that if we were to take "radical action" we'd be stupid enough to brag about it here, do you?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:21 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]



No, his defense has to rigidly define "enemy" in such a way as to exclude everyone who indirectly recevied the information from wikileaks. Wikileaks doesn't have to be the enemy, just the channel for the information indirectly as the UCMJ says.

Also the government has to prove that it was "knowingly". The defense could go with a "He was stupid defense."
posted by Jahaza at 11:18 AM on March 3


Wrong. First, knowingly simply means the information wasn't given accidentally or that he was tricked (e.g. if Assange posed as another officer to get it, or he emailed it to wikileaks by accident).

More importantly, unlike the Ellsberg case, where the NYT is the press, Wikileaks isn't. Assange is on record prior to the leak as being against the war and wanting to do what he could to interfere with it. In both the case of the NYT in Ellsberg case and Wikileaks, the enemy got the info. The difference is that the US press isn't the enemy, depiste what Nixon says. Wikileaks, on the other hand, could easily be characterized as an entity whose purpose is to interfere with the conduct of US military operations, i.e. an "enemy"
posted by Pastabagel at 8:25 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you live in the US and you believe in representative democracy, then you have to believe that the government is representing your interests by keeping certain things secret, even is somethings out of context seem troubling. [. . .] If you think the government is oppressing you, then shouldn't you do something about it, simply out of self interest if not collective interest? The government of Egypt was far more ruthless and oppressive than the US is, and those people took to the streets.

That's a false dichotomy, barely a step above, "If you don't like it go to Russia." If we are to police the government with our vote, we need to have some fucking sense of what it's doing. That includes a dose of realism about how the war is going -- to put it somewhat euphemistically.

Your view appears to be that the public should have just known without being told that we were killing kids and covering it up. If they're naive about this, well, they get what they deserve, and so do the shepherd boys in Afghanistan, just cuz.

No.

People need to be reminded that that great adventure they voted for in "the Middle East" (wherever that is) is having nasty, brutal consequences. That's the only way our representative democracy can work; how can you believe in representative democracy otherwise? Is the consent of the governed to be based on what Pentagon psy-ops tells them? Do you believe that?

if you don't get dragged out and shot behind the motor pool, you at least deserve to have the shit kicked out of you before you're thrown into solitary for the rest of your life.

A guy reveals a covered-up massacre of civilians; for this he deserves immediate death or a lifetime of alienating torture. Because of? Loyalty to the enterprise of killing more people, on false premises, with the consent of a public fed false information?

Dick Cheney's frat brothers would be more compassionate.

Your macho posturing is disgusting. You're putting your own authority and knowledge above the right here. You want to be the jaded tough guy. You want to berate Metafilter (America) for not knowing what war, the Army, etc., is about. You are knowing; we are naive. Beautiful. And all you had to do was endorse torture and mass death. Good show.
posted by grobstein at 8:27 AM on March 3, 2011 [70 favorites]


"There are two kinds of patriotism -- monarchical patriotism and republican patriotism. In the one case the government and the king may rightfully furnish you their notions of patriotism; in the other, neither the government nor the entire nation is privileged to dictate to any individual what the form of his patriotism shall be.

The gospel of the monarchical patriotism is: "The King can do no wrong." We have adopted it with all its servility, with an unimportant change in the wording: "Our country, right or wrong!" We have thrown away the most valuable asset we had:-- the individual's right to oppose both flag and country when he (just he, by himself) believed them to be in the wrong. We have thrown it away; and with it all that was really respectable about that grotesque and laughable word, Patriotism."

— Mark Twain
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:29 AM on March 3, 2011 [24 favorites]


Man...I support what Manning did...but he also knew the rules. I mean he was a soldier in the US Army and he let out all sorts of information for classified info for publication. That's treason.

The game is the game; same as it ever was.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:35 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would seem that "growing up" involves being able to accept the slaughter of innocent people half way around the world in the name of having tidy information management systems. Great.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 AM on March 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


There isn't any reason for 'radical action' in a functional democracy like the U.S. Instead, you simply change people's minds, which includes sarcastic one-liners.

As humanfont notes, Adrian Lamo looks like exactly the sort to forge chat logs, either to please his handlers or for self-agrandizement. And that's your "reasonable doubt" right there, well unless the prosecution produces more credible evidence.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:38 AM on March 3, 2011


besides, you really don't think that if we were to take "radical action" we'd be stupid enough to brag about it here, do you?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:21 AM on March 3


The Egyptians "bragged" about it on Facebook and Twitter.

And I don't think anyone is stupid, I simply don't think anyone actually thinks it's that bad as they like to say. Talk to me when oil is $200 a barrel, and we'll discuss the horrific shit the American people are comfortable having their government keep secret from them.

A lot of people haven't really grasped the import of the events in the middle east. You can't snark and grumble on message boards indefinitely. You voted out the Texan WASP oil-money cowboy who started the wars and voted in a black guy with a muslim father and an Arabic middle name who is happily fighting those same wars. If you see corrpution, or plutocracy, or whatever other clever word people use when they want to dissemble and defer action, well, what precisely are you waiting for? The election of a President to declare his horse queen? For both the perpetually victimized left and the perpetually offended right, it is officially put up or shut up time. Both ideologies are hollow, and every point one of them score is a hollow victory.

The way you pull of Egypt here is really simple--just get a lot of people not to vote. The moment the turnout drops below 50%, all manner of non-violent civil disobedience will immediately and directly follow.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:41 AM on March 3, 2011


If on the other hand you believe that the government is corrupt or a tool of undemocratic forces and that leaking this information is heroic (even though none of the leaked info proves this)

The leaked info proves that my government - my motherfucking government - gave my motherfucking money to DynCorp to buy child sex slaves and then tried to cover that up.

So you know what, can we put aside - temporarily, you understand - all this talk about sausages and the hoo-rah dulce et decorum business - just for a moment, so I can ask a question? And not even specifically to you. Anyone can answer this.

How much of your money are you okay with having spent by other people to buy child sex slaves? More to the point, if you were in a situation where you could release that information, how much of your money would need to be spent on child sex slaves by other people before you said "Fuck this, people need to know about this shit?"

Numerical figure. Doesn't have to be a whole number. It can be a fraction. It can be a decimal. Just some number. You can even ballpark it.

I'll even add my info as a data point here. Actually in a perfect world the number would be a negative one, such that I somehow get paid and there are fewer instances of kids becoming sex slaves. But since I doubt that's going to happen, I'll say: Zero. I am okay with having no amount of my money but zero spent on dancing boys who are then auctioned off as sex slaves.

American soldiers are supposed to serve American interests.

Another game we will play is how kindly I can answer this.

I agree. American soldiers are supposed to serve American interests. American interests are not what the government tells us they are. I'm all for a certain degree of moral latitude but look, CHILD MOTHERFUCKING SEX SLAVES. Hillary Clinton signing off on espionage up to and including stealing credit card numbers. "Serving American interests" would be throwing the people involved in jail and issuing sincere apologies to everyone affected.

And by the people involved I do not mean Bradley Manning. It's nauseating enough when the people in power know full well they will get away with epiglottis-fucking the American people and slap down any challenge to the horrors they're producing. It's the veiny cherry on that hemorrhoid sundae when someone actually rushes to the defense of our poor beleaguered power-mad asshole ruling class. Fuck that, and fuck them. Bradley Manning swore an oath and on the day he found out exactly who he swore that oath to, it stopped meaning anything. I won't defend his arrest any more than I would defend the My Lai Massacre. Oaths are words. That's all they are.

Do not, for a second, buy the lie that American interests have anything in the slightest to do with American government. Understand this: THEY ARE NOT OUR BOSSES. THEY ARE OUR SERVANTS. We have trusted them with the keys to this country and they are using that immense power to commit the unthinkable.

You can support the people committing the unthinkable or you can support the guy who undertook great personal risk to let the American public know about it. If you choose to do the former then that's your wheelhouse but allow me to set the terms of my own participation in this discussion: I will not consider any responses which do not address how much of your money is okay to spend on child sex slaves. Get that one out of the way first and we'll talk.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:43 AM on March 3, 2011 [53 favorites]


I hope he gets a fair trail,

If reports of isolation/treatment are to be believed - Mr. Manning is undergoing the psychosis associated with sensory deprivation and lack of contact with people. There may not be a "man" to have a trial over

I'm far more interested in seeing a discussion about what the Constitution has to say about how one defines "enemy". As in 'hey, don't you need that part of the Constitution where Congress drafts and approves a Declaration of War to have an actual enemy?' Or is being an 'enemy' nothing more than not following the Constitution - on the low bar side of an argument.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:49 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald was on Democracy Now this morning talking about Manning's case.
posted by homunculus at 8:51 AM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


The way you pull of Egypt here is really simple--just get a lot of people not to vote. The moment the turnout drops below 50%, all manner of non-violent civil disobedience will immediately and directly follow.

Voter turnout in the 1996 election was 49%. I don't recall any really serious civil disobedience between then and 1999, but I might have forgotten something.
posted by cmonkey at 8:51 AM on March 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Egyptians "bragged" about it on Facebook and Twitter.

is holding demonstrations in the streets really radical in the american context? - i don't believe so

And I don't think anyone is stupid, I simply don't think anyone actually thinks it's that bad as they like to say.

then why call for radical action? - we seem to be agreed that it's not the right time for that

If you see corrpution, or plutocracy, or whatever other clever word people use when they want to dissemble and defer action, well, what precisely are you waiting for?

a more informed and motivated populace, of course - and sniping at those who are attempting to communicate on message boards is counterproductive to that goal

The way you pull of Egypt here is really simple--just get a lot of people not to vote.

by that logic, every school district in the country should be occupied by angry protesters

The moment the turnout drops below 50%, all manner of non-violent civil disobedience will immediately and directly follow.

by people too apathetic to go to a voting booth and draw circles on a piece of paper?

no, i'm not getting this
posted by pyramid termite at 8:54 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Understand this: THEY ARE NOT OUR BOSSES. THEY ARE OUR SERVANTS. We have trusted them with the keys to this country and they are using that immense power to commit the unthinkable.

Too many people understand the first bit (servants) but not the second (power abuse). It's the complacency of patriotism (if that's not abusing the word). You love your country, you think you've got a pretty great system going on here, and you think that voting for everything from the president (kind of) to your high school caretaker (ok, not quite) is demonstration of that brilliant system. It's not. You have a responsibility to monitor the system, judge your representatives, and hold them to account — that's how you know you've got a system you can be proud of, when you can hold people to account for their abuses.
posted by londonmark at 8:56 AM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's about fucking time. Can you say, "Test Case"? Sure, you can. TTFN
posted by Ardiril at 8:56 AM on March 3, 2011


A guy reveals a covered-up massacre of civilians; for this he deserves immediate death or a lifetime of alienating torture. Because of? Loyalty to the enterprise of killing more people, on false premises, with the consent of a public fed false information?

Yes, because they told him when he signed up that if he revealed information to the enemy, the punishment would be death. He knew this and did it anyway. The UCMJ is not a secret.

Secondly, my position is not that the American people "should have known" of the brutality and its their fault for not. My position is that the American people knew this would happen before they went into Iraq, because they already know that it always happens. It's you who didn't know this.

Your position is "People need to be reminded that that great adventure they voted for in "the Middle East" (wherever that is) is having nasty, brutal consequences." You collectively are the only one's surprised by these "consequences." You are saying that the people are ignorant and need to be reminded, not me.

So now the story is out and has been out. The people have been duly reminded. It was reported on TV and everywhere else. And nothing happened. Nothing at all. Whose thesis do you think that supports?

This is going to sound stupid, but think about it for a second: the whole of postmodern philosophy is predicated on the assumption that we confuse media, images, and symbols for reality. Our media for decades have portrayed war, even American wars, as brutal, injust, and unethical. No one makes heroic war movies anymore. Everyone has seen Apocalypse Now, Platoon, The Hurt Locker, etc. If this is the image of war people have in their heads, why do you think they need to be "reminded" of a reality that Hollywood has shown them over and over?

This isn't even new. We burned villages to save villages in Vietnam. But that's also what Sherman did in the civil war. He literally burned his way South to save the South for the Union. It was the climax of Gone With The Wind, one of the most popular movies ever.

Everyone already knows that war is brutal and horrible. That's why no one was moved to do anything when they were shown evidence of specific brutality.

My point to hte "Metafilter community" as you put it is that you need to internalize this reality: the American people knew the war would be brutal before it started, and they willingly endorsed it anyway. What are you going to do about that?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:02 AM on March 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Holy crap, do you realize how absurd this sounds? Military law is unjust? But rolling tanks into the middle of another country without its permission and blowing things up and killing people is just? The entire function of the military exists outside of the notion of justice. The entire apparatus is predicated on people sublimating their individuality and identity to the function they serve within that apparatus."

Let's not get too close to, "I vas only followingk orderz," there. We recognize plenty of times when it's wrong to follow orders, and soldiers are required to refuse unconstitutional orders.
posted by klangklangston at 9:04 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I generally believe that people who engage in civil disobedience should be willing to live with the penalty, but most civil disobedience doesn't carry the death penalty.

Also, I watched the recent Phil Ochs documentary (There But For Fortune) and it was extremely depressing to watch someone, I think it was Jello Biafra, recasting Ochs' songs for the present day by changing the names and basically nothing else. "But I've grown older and wiser / And that's why I'm turning you in" indeed.
posted by immlass at 9:04 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


rough ashlar: If reports of isolation/treatment are to be believed - Mr. Manning is undergoing the psychosis associated with sensory deprivation and lack of contact with people. There may not be a "man" to have a trial over.

I thinks this is what bothers me most about this case. I don't really blame the military for prosecuting him, but they've systematically and deliberately destroyed his mind before the trial has even begun. He won't be able to participate rigorously in his own defense, and even if he wins at the trial, he's going to be broken at best and insane at worst. The military wanted to make sure they got their revenge regardless of the result at trial.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:05 AM on March 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


> What are you going to do about that?

Why are you telling people to shut up like that? You're making a ton of assumptions about what readers here know and what they don't know, and further why they would want to discuss this.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:06 AM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I generally believe that people who engage in civil disobedience should be willing to live with the penalty, but most civil disobedience doesn't carry the death penalty.

This is an appealing position. But even if they should be willing to live with the penalty, that does not mean we should actually visit the penalty upon them.
posted by grobstein at 9:07 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you've not yet checked it out, Democracy Now's phone interview with Glenn Greenwald posted by homunculus is informative.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:08 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


My point to hte "Metafilter community" as you put it is that you need to internalize this reality: the American people knew the war would be brutal before it started, and they willingly endorsed it anyway. What are you going to do about that?

what do you think we should do?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:08 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


A country can be said to be "unified" when the goals and obligations of it's constituent groups align with each other and with the nation at large.

There once was a time in America, for example, when one's obligations as (say) a husband, father and loyal citizen aligned with ones obligations to the broader nation or polis.

Nations fall apart and collapse when the goals and obligations of it's constituent groups becomes too divergent; for example when the government encourages racial or ethnic conflict within it's borders or when a minority population demands it's own homeland and so forth.

A wild example might be if the government required all parents to murder their firstborn child. Suddenly, your goals and obligations as a parent and as a human being diverge from that of the nation, and the result is resistance and revolution.

What we are seeing here is that Bradley Manning has differing goals and obligations: to himself, to his family, to the Army, to the nation and to humanity. The US government pit him in a position where he had to choose between his duty to his country or his duty to humanity.

Not many people care about him right now because very few of us have had to make a similar decision. I think, however, that may be changing over the next few years. As the US government grows increasingly desperate to retain control over it's empire and it's own people, many of us will be asked to choose between our loyalty to country or our loyalty to humanity, or to our families, or to our ethical principles or even our faith. The US government is slowly becoming a totalitarian government in the truest sense of the word -- it's desiring to extract total obedience and loyalty from it's citizens, even under pain of death.

Our country is falling apart. Soon it will be time to choose.
posted by Avenger at 9:12 AM on March 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why don't they just sentence him to promises of generous VA health benefits and be done with it?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:12 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


" the American people knew the war would be brutal before it started, and they willingly endorsed it anyway."

The American people were told that Hussein was about to nuke us and that we'd be greeted as liberators. Certainly, plenty of folks didn't buy that line, but it's a little disingenuous to pretend that American support was for a brutal, pointless war.
posted by klangklangston at 9:12 AM on March 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


So... He was expecting a medal or something?
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on March 3, 2011


He WILL get a medal. Just not from the current american regime.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:24 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Voter turnout in the 1996 election was 49%. I don't recall any really serious civil disobedience between then and 1999, but I might have forgotten something.
posted by cmonkey at 11:51 AM on March 3


Sigh. And were all of the other 51% even eligible to vote? Because without looking I'm betting your number includes all kinds of people who couldn't vote even if they were of age, like noncitizens, felons, etc.

So let me be scientifically precise: when the percentage of the population that is eligible to vote in a given Presidential election falls below 50%, the period immediately following will be marked by large scale acts of civil disobedience.

Certainly, plenty of folks didn't buy that line, but it's a little disingenuous to pretend that American support was for a brutal, pointless war.
posted by klangklangston at 12:12 PM on March 3


I never said they knew it was pointless, I said they knew it was going to be brutal.

Let's distill this to the essence. Most Americans are in possession of most of the same facts. The error underlying statements like "Americans need to be reminded" or "wake up sheeple" (and admittedly I've said the same kids of things in the past in other contexts) is that what the yneed to be reminded of is invariably something they already knew.

Where people diverege is how they internalize or synthesize those facts. If what I think is true, that Americans know war is brutal and endorsed two wars anyway, then this knowing endorsement is a symptom of a greater pathology.

Why did they want the wars? Whatever the reason is, if you are of the opinion that brutal wars are bad, you can either you can either convince them that the reason is not worth brutalizing innocent Iraqis (good luck with that one) or you can convince them that they can achieve the same result without a brutal war.

But running around shouting "no it really is more brutal then you thought" is just making an assumption about their idea of brutality that is probably wrong and also you are assuming that they will give a shit, which history has shown they will not.

If the wars end "early", it will be because of economics, not conscience.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:29 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Grow up. If you serve in the army in the middle of a war where your fellow soldiers are counting on you to keep classified info secret so they don't get killed trying to do their duty, and then you leak it to a narcissistic jackass with an agenda that runs contrary to the orders you swore to obey, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that if you don't get dragged out and shot behind the motor pool, you at least deserve to have the shit kicked out of you before you're thrown into solitary for the rest of your life.

Are you volunteering to challenge Manning to a fair fight? Or did you just want to cheer from the sidelines as four other soldiers hold down his limbs and a fifth kicks him in the testicles?

Sadly, your kind of sneering contempt for the rights of anyone inconvenient to the empire, far from being "out on a limb", is now the broad mainstream of American discourse. And even more sadly, that insures that the soldiers whose safety you so piously and misleadingly evoke will continue to die on the errands of butchers.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:31 AM on March 3, 2011 [13 favorites]



So... He was expecting a medal or something?


Wow, everyone keeps saying this. Good blow off I guess, but it misses the point entirely.

I's not about what Manning expects. And it's not about what American military law considers to be an appropriate punishment.

It's about what external third parties think is an appropriate response to his actions. That's a totally different thing.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:32 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pastabagel: " If you don't like how the sausage is made, maybe you shouldn't order the sausage."

Huh? I've been saying for years that the sausage is made unethically from little puppy dogs, but half of everyone out there was going "THE SAUSAGE IS ACTUALLY VEGAN, JUST AS LONG AS WE HOPE REAL HARD" and putting sausage bumper stickers on their hybrid SUVs while the other half was going "FUCK YOU EGGHEAD, I LIKE EATING PUPPIES".
posted by dunkadunc at 9:33 AM on March 3, 2011 [8 favorites]




Pastabagel: " If you don't like how the sausage is made, maybe you shouldn't order the sausage."


Some people aren't in it for the sausage, they want to burn down the sausage factory.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:34 AM on March 3, 2011


Pastelbagel: So, the Bush Administration can:

1) Forge intelligence to lead us into war
2) Feed the forged intelligence to the New York Times
3) Hold up that copy of the New York Times as evidence on Sunday morning talk shows that they are right
4) Expose CIA assets that are married to outspoken enemies of the war
5) Lie outright on national television about the connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein
6) Short sell the cost of the war (50 billion) the length of the war (months, not years!)
7) Escape all of this criminal behavior without even having to go on record about it

And Bradley Manning is the one who deserves to rot in prison for betraying the men and women who have died during the war?

Your priorities and values are really, really fucked up. Thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis aren't dead because Bradley Manning allegedly leaked information to anyone. This is the most glaring example of shooting the messenger that I can think of.
posted by notion at 9:35 AM on March 3, 2011 [35 favorites]


I think that accepting Bradly Manning treatment on the basis of "it is LAW!" is analogous to accepting the treatment of Black civil rights protestors. They broke the law, and therefor it is acceptable that they were treated the way they were (dogs, water cannons, etc). It also validate inquisitorial actions by the church. Galileo broke church law, therefor the churches actions were acceptable regardless of the morality or veracity of the law-breakers. I know this is essentialist, but I feel that Law should should humanity, not the other way around.

Is exposing the documentary of war crimes more deserving of punishment than the war crimes? I do not think so but clearly that is the American perspective because money>law>humans.

If you don't like how the sausage is made, maybe you shouldn't order the sausage."

Why are you threatening to call the health department on my sausages!? Yeah, it's pink in the middle and the juices are running pink but fuck you I'm serving it to the elementary school classroom anyway.
posted by fuq at 9:36 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ethics of Mannings actions aside, has nobody paused to consider why Manning even had access to that information in the first place?

If anybody needs to be on trial, it's the people who let a Pfc. gain access to that many sensitive documents.
posted by schmod at 9:39 AM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


If that is the kind of thing that puts you off war, maybe you shouldn't have voted for either guy who supported the war. . . . If on the other hand you believe that the government is corrupt or a tool of undemocratic forces and that leaking this information is heroic (even though none of the leaked info proves this), then why aren't you taking more radical action? If you think the government is oppressing you, then shouldn't you do something about it, simply out of self interest if not collective interest?

Not voting in the U.S. is a counterproductive method of protest. By analogy, neither major candidate supported same sex marriage but voting for Obama was more likely to bring about same sex marriage than voting for McCain, and there were minor candidates who did support same sex marriage. Obama won, and continued pressure from interest groups that supported him have been effective. He shouldn't have had to be pressured at all, but he, unlike McCain, was at least persuadable on the issue. If it had been a close election (like 2000, the great counterexample to the idea that not voting is an effective protest), that would have been worth voting for Obama over McCain even if the candidates would have been exactly alike in all other respects.

I don't see how voting is incompatible with radical action like, say, street protests or general strikes. In fact, there is an attempt to initiate recall elections for enough Republican representatives in WI to swing the balance of power so that the protesters' goals can be realized.
posted by Marty Marx at 9:39 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


the American people knew this would happen before they went into Iraq, because they already know that it always happens.

the American people knew the war would be brutal before it started, and they willingly endorsed it anyway

Absolutely not. How many people do you think are aware of the gruesome realities of the first Gulf war? There's a huge amount of money and effort spent specifically on ensuring people do not find out the gruesome shit "the good guys" do to win a war. Even when it comes to light, there's a huge amount of effort spent discrediting it or the messengers. Look at the first Gulf war. Do you think people are generally aware of the Highway of Death? About armored bulldozer burying Iraqi troops alive so no trace remained for journalists to report on? No, because people like Dick Cheney don't want you to know that. For them it's imperative that people not know the brutality committed by their own side or else it becomes difficult to for people to condone. It is sold as a black-and-white, good-vs-bad narrative. I'd wager a fair amount of Americans believed that American troops would indeed be greeted as liberators, and completely bought the staged toppling of the Saddam statue. They're told about precision smart bombs and surgical strikes. They did not know this would happen because they didn't and don't want to know. Manning and Wikileaks brought undeniable evidence of the effects of modern warfare out for all to see. It is information that's critical to an engaged citizen in a democracy in order to understand their country's place in the world and how it should behave.
posted by Hoopo at 9:49 AM on March 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


Well, this is certainaly a civilised and mature debate. Did I miss anything?
posted by dougrayrankin at 9:55 AM on March 3, 2011


If anybody needs to be on trial, it's the people who let a Pfc. gain access to that many sensitive documents.

I expect they thought the whole "fuck around with them and you'll go to jail for the rest of your life" thing mean something.
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on March 3, 2011


Not to derail the thread, but the Highway of Death was common knowledge at the time. IIRC, the photos of the destruction were on the front page of the NY Times, appeared on television and in the news magazines, and the scale of it shocked almost everyone - from the American public to the allies in the coalition - and led to the ground campaign being shortened so the United States wouldn't be perceived as a bully.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:57 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, FM, I'll play. I want $0 spent on sex slaves. Anyone who spends that money should go to jail.

What you seem to want is exactly the same power structure with much more ethical people installed in it. That will never work. I'm not rushing to the defense of the power mad ruling class, as you put it, I'm pointing out that it's ridiculous to accuse the people ruling the country of being power mad assholes when the system is structure so that only power mad assholes get the positions of power.

I am glad the info that Manning leaked got out. That information is very important and useful. But Manning should also be punished for leaking it because breaking a rule when you subjectively think it's really important, even if you are right, is no way for the rest of us to allow our military to operate.

Every little bit of corruption you can find in those documents is not new. It is not evidence of a growing trend of corruption. Thomas Jefferson, one of the greatest Americans, cheated on his wife by having sex with his slaves. Not sex slaves, mind you, regular slaves who were suddenly conscripted into sex slave duty. Are you comfortable with that? His face is on the nickel, by the way. We describe his enlightened system of government "Jeffersonian democracy". It's called enlightened because the lighter people can fuck the darker people and make them work fro free, I guess.

You want a representatvie democracy at a time when technology can show us everything that has always been wrong with representative democracy. But doesn't that same techonology obviate the need for the "representative part"? Why do I need a representative to represent me, when technology allows us to become educated about laws, and vote on them ourselves. If we need a proxy to "do the thinking for us" there are interest groups and think tanks to summarize the facts and posit consequences.

Why now allow the American people to vote directly on war, or taxes, instead of 535 people we all agree none of us can trust. Because it doesn't work like that? The way it works is sex slaves and Senate debates. You can't have the latter without the former.

I'm all for letting the system fall apart, but maybe give some thought to what would replace it.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:02 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The military wanted to make sure they got their revenge regardless of the result at trial.

You may not do the time, but you will ride the ride
posted by rough ashlar at 10:08 AM on March 3, 2011


What you seem to want is exactly the same power structure with much more ethical people installed in it. That will never work.

Really? Why?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:10 AM on March 3, 2011


American soldiers are supposed to serve American interests.

And yet, Ollie North.

(Also, they're supposed to serve the constitution, and since the US led the Nurenberg trials, the US has cheerfully put soldiers to death for serving national interests that are considered immoral.)
posted by rodgerd at 10:11 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


and since the US led the Nurenberg trials
wrong.
posted by clavdivs at 10:18 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not following your argument w/r/t Jefferson, but your understanding of representative democracy is strange. It doesn't exist just for people to "do our thinking for us" and let us wallow in ignorance, it's because it's ludicrously cumbersome and tedious and impractical to have a national referendum on every single bill. All that increased access to information does to representative democracy is put another check on our representatives--it is much harder for them to bullshit us in light of increased access to information, and people remain able to hold them accountable for poor decisions done in their name.
posted by Hoopo at 10:24 AM on March 3, 2011


Ethics of Mannings actions aside, has nobody paused to consider why Manning even had access to that information in the first place?

If anybody needs to be on trial, it's the people who let a Pfc. gain access to that many sensitive documents.
The fact that numerous warning signs that Manning was unfit for security clearance aside, you seem to imply two things:

1. That there is a specific number of documents that someone can be trusted with - with the obvious corollary that giving someone access to more than that set number will make them divulge all they know.

2. A Pfc. with security clearance is somehow more of a risk than any other given person with security clearance.

I cannot say I agree with either of those two propositions.
posted by dougrayrankin at 10:41 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]



What you seem to want is exactly the same power structure with much more ethical people installed in it. That will never work.

Really? Why?


because there is evidence that power wieded through the existing political structures leads to corruption. Its not a matter of choosing ethical people, as the longer anyone serves in office, the greater the probability that they succumb to the pressures to accept corruption/influence into their decision making.
posted by pucklermuskau at 10:43 AM on March 3, 2011



I am glad the info that Manning leaked got out. That information is very important and useful. But Manning should also be punished for leaking it because breaking a rule when you subjectively think it's really important, even if you are right, is no way for the rest of us to allow our military to operate.



Assuming it could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt (see above for reasons why this is not likely so) that he leaked this information, then his punishment (for he did brake the law) should be equal to the crime; traditionally this is how laws are changed, by unjust laws (or applications of laws) being challenged in court.

Pre trial solitary? Being sent psychotic by isolation? Punishable by Death?

This isn't your vaunted rule of law, Pastabagel, this is state sponsored revenge and torture and a lesson to all to not fuck with the military because we are the biggest bully on the block.
posted by lalochezia at 10:47 AM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Just saying I'm rather appalled at the people favoriting Pastabagel's posts here. I also don't think this thread should become about Pastabagel.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:54 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


klangklangston: "Let's not get too close to, "I vas only followingk orderz," there. We recognize plenty of times when it's wrong to follow orders, and soldiers are required to refuse unconstitutional orders."

There's a big difference between being a refusenik and providing classified information that could aid the enemy. Big difference.
posted by falameufilho at 10:56 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know what, I don't even want them to be replaced with someone more ethical. I want them replaced with someone who is absolutely white-knuckle terrified that they will be found out if they step out of line in an egregious way. I want people who believe there is a strong chance they will be held accountable and who allow that to govern their actions.

I have no hope that the country can ever be served by ethical people.

I don't think it's impossible for them to be scared shitless instead.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:03 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


fuq: "I think that accepting Bradly Manning treatment on the basis of "it is LAW!" is analogous to accepting the treatment of Black civil rights protestors. They broke the law, and therefor it is acceptable that they were treated the way they were (dogs, water cannons, etc). "

This is actually a horrible analogy, because military law only applies to those who explicitly joined the military (you need to explicitly opt-in), while the Jim Crow laws applied to all blacks in its jurisdiction (you can only opt out, and the only way to do this is by packing your shit and leaving, which is not a viable option for most).

"It also validate inquisitorial actions by the church. Galileo broke church law, therefor the churches actions were acceptable regardless of the morality or veracity of the law-breakers. I know this is essentialist, but I feel that Law should should humanity, not the other way around."

That took place in 1610. Not even the Catholic Church still thinks those laws made any sense.
posted by falameufilho at 11:17 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just saying I'm rather appalled at the people favoriting Pastabagel's posts here.

Are you bothered by the fact that people agree with his opinion? This is kind of a dickheaded thing to say.
posted by falameufilho at 11:21 AM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Just saying I'm rather appalled at the people favoriting Pastabagel's posts here.

Then you're really going to hate me, because I'll come right out and say it: I agree with him.

By the way, I use favorites as bookmarks. Doesn't mean I agree, at all. Maybe others do that too.
posted by cribcage at 11:23 AM on March 3, 2011


Grow up. If you serve in the army in the middle of a war where your fellow soldiers are counting on you to keep classified info secret so they don't get killed trying to do their duty, and then you leak it to a narcissistic jackass with an agenda that runs contrary to the orders you swore to obey, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that if you don't get dragged out and shot behind the motor pool, you at least deserve to have the shit kicked out of you before you're thrown into solitary for the rest of your life.

Just for the record: shooting someone without due process, beating them up to satisfy your own bloodlust for revenge, or jailing someone for the rest of their lives to punish them as an "example" has nothing at all to do with growing up. Resorting to violence and scapegoating is usually the lowest form of maturity for a given situation.
posted by notion at 11:25 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree with him.

i can't, because it seems to me that he hasn't really been specific enough about what he thinks should be done as opposed to what we are doing - or not doing
posted by pyramid termite at 11:27 AM on March 3, 2011


It is funny how freaked out people get when an individual actually exercises their freedom of will. How terrible and distrustful we are when the first thing we imagine will happen when people act according to their own opinion of justice is anarchy and much suffering.

"Of great rulers the subjects do not notice the existence.
To lesser ones people are attached; they praise them.
Still lesser ones people fear, and the meanest ones people despise.
For it is said: 'If your faith be insufficient, verily, you will receive no faith.'
How reluctantly the great rulers considered their words!
Merit they accomplished; deeds they performed; and the hundred families thought: 'We are independent.' "

The story of Western civilization is the story of subjugating our inner monster, of controlling our presumed darker natures, of burying the furies underneath the city, and unless we do so we will never have a civilization. We ought to at least consider alternatives on how to have and maintain a civil society because our current method isn't looking robust or particularly long-lasting to me. Recall Pax Romana? that lasted 200 years, we consider it a high point of western civilization that there wasn't a major war for 200 year. Recently there was an FTP about the last American WWI soldier passing away, and from any trajectory, not considering our current one, we are extremely unlikely to pass the next 60 years without another major war-- and yeah i'm not counting the korean war, vietnam, actions in south america and iran, iraq I, afghanistan, iraq II, because that isn't what we are measuring.

A state may be ruled by (measures of) correction; weapons of
war may be used with crafty dexterity; (but) the kingdom is made one's
own (only) by freedom from action and purpose.

How do I know that it is so? By these facts:--In the kingdom the
multiplication of prohibitive enactments increases the poverty of the
people; the more implements to add to their profit that the people
have, the greater disorder is there in the state and clan; the more
acts of crafty dexterity that men possess, the more do strange
contrivances appear; the more display there is of legislation, the
more thieves and robbers there are.

Therefore a sage has said, 'I will do nothing (of purpose), and the
people will be transformed of themselves; I will be fond of keeping
still, and the people will of themselves become correct. I will take
no trouble about it, and the people will of themselves become rich; I
will manifest no ambition, and the people will of themselves attain to
the primitive simplicity.'

posted by Shit Parade at 11:29 AM on March 3, 2011


It is funny how freaked out people get when an individual actually exercises their freedom of will. How terrible and distrustful we are when the first thing we imagine will happen when people act according to their own opinion of justice is anarchy and much suffering.

tl;dr
He exercised free will when freely entering into a contract to keep the secrets of the state, and he freely agreed to be bound by military law. These things people keep overlooking.
posted by dougrayrankin at 11:32 AM on March 3, 2011


> I also don't think this thread should become about Pastabagel.

That relentless soapboxing is obnoxious, yes, but you can skip over posts.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:36 AM on March 3, 2011


He exercised free will when freely entering into a contract to keep the secrets of the state, and he freely agreed to be bound by military law. These things people keep overlooking.

A quick question for dougrayrankin and others who share this opinion, is there any single state secret he could have exposed where you would feel punishing him for the revelation was unjust? This is a serious question; I am trying to get a hold on whether this is as truly black and white to the supporters of his punishment as it seems to be.
posted by batou_ at 11:36 AM on March 3, 2011


If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Manning took an oath in the military and he betrayed it. Damn straight he should be brought up on charges and there's no way in hell that Obama should or will pardon him.

Right now we have sentence first trial later. He's spent 9 months in near solitary confinement based on chat logs produced by a world class bullshitter. Among was locked up in May and has finnaly been charged as of yesterday. Where is the right to a speedy trial? Where is the presumption of innocence? Right now the governments case looks incredibly weak. I say this as someone who has publically decried the actions by wikileaks and whomever gave them the documents. I hope the goverent has more evidence and a stronger case than this. Right now it looks like US tax payers will be footing the bill for an expensive mess in the courts with no resolution for decades. How does that help us?
posted by humanfont at 11:37 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want them replaced with someone who is absolutely white-knuckle terrified that they will be found out if they step out of line in an egregious way.

We'll discover warp drives before that happens.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:37 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


A quick question for dougrayrankin and others who share this opinion, is there any single state secret he could have exposed where you would feel punishing him for the revelation was unjust? This is a serious question; I am trying to get a hold on whether this is as truly black and white to the supporters of his punishment as it seems to be.
I personally don't presume the right to decide what punishment (if any) would be suitable. I merely wish people would defend a man for breaking a contract and lying in the same breath they berate a government for doing the same.
posted by dougrayrankin at 11:41 AM on March 3, 2011


I agree. I guess I'm trying to ballpark how much more likely one thing is than the other: A person in office who does the right thing because it's the right thing to do, or a person in office who does the right thing because they're afraid of what will happen if they don't.

But to be clear I have no expectation that either will happen anytime before, oh I don't know, the heat death of the universe.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:41 AM on March 3, 2011


*wouldn't
posted by dougrayrankin at 11:41 AM on March 3, 2011


Are you bothered by the fact that people agree with his opinion?

To whatever extent those favorites indicate that there are people here who also express their politics through fantasies of physical torture and execution: Yeah, that bothers me quite a bit.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:41 AM on March 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


falameuflho, you do have a point. While it is sad to see Manning face these consequences for actions that many of us are glad that he took, he either knew or should have known the risks of what he was doing. That many of us think he's a hero doesn't mean he should be pardoned; the rules governing the military are there for a reason and like most rules can't just be applied only when it's convenient. A conviction by the military doesn't diminish his contribution, if anything it highlights his bravery.

is there any single state secret he could have exposed where you would feel punishing him for the revelation was unjust

The point is the allegation that some of the information he leaked may have put soldiers at risk. I have no idea if this allegation is true, but that's why those rules are there. You can't selectively apply them. I find the whole thing tragic.
posted by Hoopo at 11:41 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seconding batou_'s question. Is there some point where this blind affinity for loyalty and violence stops? Would anyone salivating at the thought of Bradley Manning's execution or life imprisonment have said the same thing about the military that disregarded orders from Mubarak to fire on their own people?

I can just imagine: "While it's probably unjust and reprehensible to kill these demonstrators, I cannot disregard my oaths of loyalty to Mubarak in good conscience. If the military doesn't carry out orders without thinking about them, the military doesn't work. Bombs away."
posted by notion at 11:43 AM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


and he freely agreed to be bound by military law.

Part of that was to uphold the Constitution.

So exactly WHAT is a soldier to do when there are, what they feel, are violations of the Constitution?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:45 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He exercised free will when freely entering into a contract to keep the secrets of the state, and he freely agreed to be bound by military law. These things people keep overlooking.

He also took an oath to defend as protect the constitution of the United States and agreed to disobey unlawful orders in the interests of protecting that constitution. None of this matters though because the only evidence you have that he violated secrecy is a text file that Adrian Lamo could have thrown together in 15 minutes after chatting with Manning about the weather. Maybe Lamo met the kid online, put a root kit on his machine and sucked all the data out and then concocted the chat logs to cover his tracks. Really what more likely some naiive 22 year old acting on his own crawled through the SIPRNet to find the docs undectected or Adrian Lamo --convicted superhacker and con man--took advantage of said 22 year old's to gain access and steal the documents. What is a jury going to do with that?
posted by humanfont at 11:46 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


That many of us think he's a hero doesn't mean he should be pardoned

well, i guess i know how martyrs happen or how jesus was crucified.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:49 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


So exactly WHAT is a soldier to do when there are, what they feel, are violations of the Constitution?
Personally, I'd wouldn't have gone straight to "leak a ridiculous number of documents", but that's all neither here nor there now.
posted by dougrayrankin at 11:50 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Forgive my random grammatical and syntactical errors this evening, I seem unable to put even simple sentences together correctly.
posted by dougrayrankin at 11:50 AM on March 3, 2011


>Manning was a soldier when he committed treason (releasing copious quantities of classified intelligence into the internet and thus indiscriminately to the whole world, including to America's enemies)

This is not at all accurate and I'm surprised that nobody else has corrected you. Manning gave the cables to WikiLeaks, who has released a very small amount of the total information they have. WikiLeaks disclosures have been made with the cooperation of mainstream journalistic institutions, redacting information where necessary to protect those involved while still allowing the essential information to be disseminated. You cannot have a meaningful debate about this issue without getting the basic facts correct.
posted by gngstrMNKY at 11:51 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


absolutely white-knuckle terrified that they will be found out if they step out of line in an egregious way.

We'll discover warp drives before that happens.


Not at all. Used to be any citizen "of good standing" could go to their local Grand Jury and inform the Jury of what they felt was a high crime.

Then some judges got true billed in NY State back in the 1940's and most States stopped allowing citizens approach the Grand Juries. My understanding is in California citizens can still present to the Grand Jury.

The big issue now would be "standing" - AKA can the Grand Jury investigate a given wrong doing. Back before the 1920's there was no "standing" concept.

Armed with a ham sandwich - Grand Juries that would have "standing" and are approachable by citizens should get the white knuckles....no warp drive needed.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:54 AM on March 3, 2011


This is not at all accurate and I'm surprised that nobody else has corrected you.

Anyone using the word "treason" in Manning's context has already announced their indifference if not hostility towards fact.

Life is short.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:55 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


well, i guess i know how martyrs happen or how jesus was crucified.

That's what drove that point home for you? You would never have heard of Jesus if he hadn't been crucified. Jesus and martyrs are remembered and celebrated for their tremendous sacrifices. Doing the right thing doesn't always net you a reward or a pardon, and in some cases it shouldn't. Socrates R.I.P.
posted by Hoopo at 11:55 AM on March 3, 2011


3-there is a suspect list of 3 million other people who had nearly identical access to these documents.

This bit of misinformation come up a lot in posts about this subject so I'd just like to point out that having clearance to read a document is not the same thing as actually having access to the document.
posted by the_artificer at 12:37 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agreeing with rogerd:

This points up a major problem with US military law: it's frequently unjust
American soldiers are supposed to serve American interests.

Four words:
Ollie North
John Poindexter

Like so much of our modern life: it's not who you know, it's who you blow. This kid screwed up, but he's gonna get hit with a bigger hammer than he deserves, I'm afraid.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:08 PM on March 3, 2011


What is a jury going to do with that?
posted by humanfont

Always with the good questions.
That is the crux yes, what does the military have to convict him in the form of evidence, something the public is not privy too.
posted by clavdivs at 1:19 PM on March 3, 2011


No matter how one feels about the material that Manny got out, the simple fact is he made public material for which he was told in advance that it was not to be made public, that it was classified materials. He was not a reporter printing up stuff received from someone else. He was the someone else who gave materials out that were not to be given out. That by any standard in the military is a crime. Now whehter or not hewas guilty of this is another issue. But that seems the charge.
posted by Postroad at 1:26 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is it in American law that allows Manning to be treated as a sub human before his trial?
Is this because he is in Military custody and not civilian custody.?
posted by adamvasco at 1:27 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


posted too soon. From the Greenwald interview on Democracy now - - it’s now been 10 months where, despite being convicted of absolutely nothing, he’s been held in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement under the most repressive conditions, not being allowed to exercise in his cell. The one hour a day when he’s allowed out, he walks around shackled in a room by himself and is immediately returned to his cell when it stops. Although the commander of the brig was recently fired and replaced, those conditions have not changed.
posted by adamvasco at 1:29 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


That by any standard in the military is a crime.

Unless you believe the Constitution is more important than the military chosen to protect it. What's being proposed by Pastelbagel and others is violent legalism, wherein the letter of the law totally eclipses the spirit of the law. And on top of that, violation of the letter of the law carries lifelong solitary confinement and maybe execution to boot.

Hilariously, this is all to defend a document that states: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
posted by notion at 1:40 PM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is the messy side of a basic American belief, isn't it? Freedom of the press comes directly from the supposition that men lie, and, by extension, governments lie. Our belief is that government should be open and not allowed to lie - so we uphold the press to find and disseminate those lies.

So how does the press obtain that information? Someone has to provide it, no? Who, then, gets to make the decision whether the information releaser was a patriot or a treasoner?

I'm not defending Manning here (yet), I am just saying that these kind of issues are much more gray than black and white. A contractual obligation is not always the be-all and end-all. Nuremberg taught us that.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:41 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


adamvasco: "What is it in American law that allows Manning to be treated as a sub human before his trial?
Is this because he is in Military custody and not civilian custody.?
"

The military has greater latitude than if he were being held in civilian custody.

The original justification given was that Manning is presumed to have had two outside accomplices who helped him encrypt and release the data he allegedly stole. Therefore solitary confinement was the only way to prevent him from communicating with them (probably true) and potentially triggering the release of further classified documents.
posted by zarq at 1:45 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Benny Andajetz: " So how does the press obtain that information? Someone has to provide it, no? Who, then, gets to make the decision whether the information releaser was a patriot or a treasoner? "

History.
posted by zarq at 1:46 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I don't see a lot of discussion about, here or elsewhere, is the possibility that what Manning did was BOTH right AND illegal.

To wit: the "24" scenario -- if a member of Law Enforcement is absolutely certain that beating the shit out of a detainee will cause them to cough up vital information to save lives, is he under a moral obligation to do so? I would assert that he is. Furthermore, he is also cognizant that beating the shit out of a detainee is illegal, and would result in his own prosecution. A "True Patriot" of the type that gets bandied around with such blaze facility would accept the punishment for the crime, even if that crime is done in the name of the "right" thing.

So it is with Manning -- I believe that he felt he was acting under a moral obligation to release these wires. I believe that the government should have an extraordinary (perhaps even extreme) threshold to meet when classifying information, rather than doing it as a matter of course. But I also agree that, as an active servicemember, his oath was to uphold the law as it stands and to follow lawful orders, one of which was to preserve the secrecy of the information to which he had access.

So, did Manning do the right thing? Absolutely. Is it also right that he should accept that he broke the law in doing so and accept prosecution for his illegal (but morally justifiable) actions? There, as well: absolutely.

Manning is a true patriot. He knowingly broke the law to adhere to a higher moral obligation, and while that, in my opinion, should mitigate his punishment (perhaps even to the level of "time served"), it does not change the fact that he broke a law that, for nearly all important purposes, is ALSO a just law protecting the interests of the United States.

But people don't seem to like this level of complication and nuance in their morning coffee.
posted by chimaera at 2:17 PM on March 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thanks to chimaera for saying what I knew I wanted to say but couldn't for the life of me put into words so simple and easy to follow.

The man dun broke the law. But maybe the world is a better place for it. BUT HE DUN STILL BROKE THE LAW!!!1
posted by dougrayrankin at 2:23 PM on March 3, 2011


chimaera: “Manning is a true patriot. He knowingly broke the law to adhere to a higher moral obligation, and while that, in my opinion, should mitigate his punishment (perhaps even to the level of "time served"), it does not change the fact that he broke a law that, for nearly all important purposes, is ALSO a just law protecting the interests of the United States. But people don't seem to like this level of complication and nuance in their morning coffee.”

You can call it "complication and nuance"; the difficulty is that it's contradictory. A thing cannot be both just and unjust. I can imagine answers wherein these things are drawn out into different courts; for example, what's just for some people to do might be unjust for others. However, you haven't given those. And it irks me a bit, this equivocation people give, intoning tendentiously that it was right for him to do this but also right for him to be punished, acting as though it's wisdom to accept a blatant contradiction.

If it is just to break the law, then the law is unjust.

I'd like to have someone explain to me how this simple statement isn't true.
posted by koeselitz at 2:26 PM on March 3, 2011



If it is just to break the law, then the law is unjust.

I'd like to have someone explain to me how this simple statement isn't true.


I'm trying NOT to boil it down to that simple statement for a reason -- if any law can realistically anticipate every possible reason for someone to break it, and explicitly provide protections/exemptions, the law and justice system would be perfect (and probably Turing-complete).

But it's not -- the law cannot anticipate every circumstance and situation. So I would absolutely NOT say that "the law is unjust" and I do feel it is complex and nuanced to admit that the law is incomplete. But how do we remedy this? This is not a simple problem.

As I said -- what if the hypothetical "24" scenario came about, and the LEO who beat the shit out of the detainee was mistaken -- but honestly mistaken? There's no realistic law that can account for that.

The law has punishments built in as a disincentive to break them. That's the core of the law. In exceptional circumstances, I can see where a moral obligation requires one to violate that law, but how can it possibly anticipate every one of these scenarios? It can't.

So a law that is morally justifiable in nearly every realistic circumstance but not ALL circumstances (people who have access to secret information must not divulge it, and here are the penalties) that comes up against a personal obligation that is ALSO morally justifiable (the government overclassifies information and to serve as a check against it, I will release some of that info).... how do we deal with this?

Yes, I do say he did the right thing AND the illegal one. He should accept prosecution, and the punishment should be tempered by his intent to service a higher moral obligation.
posted by chimaera at 2:38 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: "And it irks me a bit, this equivocation people give, intoning tendentiously that it was right for him to do this but also right for him to be punished, acting as though it's wisdom to accept a blatant contradiction."

Guy comes at you with a pickaxe. You grab your gun and shoot him. He dies. Murder is illegal. He clearly intended to kill you. How is your lawyer likely to defend you?

Self-defense.

How you are sentenced will depend on the facts of your case and the state you're in. Also, how your lawyer pleads your case. You might be sentenced for murder. Or involuntary manslaughter. Could be a felony. Might not. You might get off completely.

Murder is wrong. However, the law recognizes that all murders are not equal. By the same token, the US justice system allows juries to consider the idea that there may be extenuating circumstances for any crime.

That's why I don't see this situation as a contradiction.
posted by zarq at 2:42 PM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


A thing cannot be both just and unjust.

But a thing can be just morally justifiable and still be illegal.
posted by Hoopo at 2:44 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


However, you haven't given those. And it irks me a bit, this equivocation people give, intoning tendentiously that it was right for him to do this but also right for him to be punished, acting as though it's wisdom to accept a blatant contradiction.

I agree with your point, but most adherents of civil disobedience, from Thoreau to Ghandi to MLK, Jr., all agreed that accepting punishment for acts of disobedience is part of the deal. Ideally, it lends moral force to your argument.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:44 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


If it is just to break the law, then the law is unjust.

Do not seek Justice by breaking a law when you can change an unjust law into a just law.
posted by clavdivs at 3:06 PM on March 3, 2011


clavdivs: "Do not seek Justice by breaking a law when you can change an unjust law into a just law."

Um, no.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:13 PM on March 3, 2011


What's being proposed by Pastelbagel and others is violent legalism, wherein the letter of the law totally eclipses the spirit of the law. And on top of that, violation of the letter of the law carries lifelong solitary confinement and maybe execution to boot.

I don't think that's a very charitable reading of the position. I absolutely agree that in releasing documents Manning has benefitted US citizens (and others) in highlighting and providing proof of what was done in their name. But the spirit of the law he allegedly violated is to protect soldiers in a warzone by not aiding their enemies first and foremost. I'm not familiar with all the contents of all the wires Manning released so I can't say for certain whether he did or did not aid the enemy or put soldiers at risk. What I'm saying is that if he did, while acting as a military official, he should expect to face the consequences regardless of what benefit the release of the information has had to the public's understanding of events in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Furthermore, I don't think anyone is saying his treatment so far--consisting of solitary confinement--has been fair.
posted by Hoopo at 3:19 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not familiar with all the contents of all the wires Manning released
Given there were hundreds of thousands of them, I submit to you that he wasn't either.
posted by dougrayrankin at 3:37 PM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


This bit of misinformation come up a lot in posts about this subject so I'd just like to point out that having clearance to read a document is not the same thing as actually having access to the document.

I was under this same impression, but I've since learned from reading various computer security blogs that SIPRNETs internal acls were poorly configured and that most of the attention was spent restricting access to the network, once in it was apparently just a matter of having time o poke around unsecured file directories for info. Also limited logging and traceability. Thus anon of the three million people with access has access to everything. This is why some 22 year old could rip off our secrets (allegedly). The only thing protecting them was user behavior, ignorance and the fact that the "bad guys" didn't have a hard line access to the system. What is discomforting is just how much data was apparently taken by some low level junior intel analyst who was motivated by conscience. These kind of spies are very rare for every trator of conscience there are dozens of traitors who sell out their country for money, drugs, etc. So figure if Wikileaks got this, what did the Chinese, the Russians, etc get. What are they still getting? The only reason we have manhunts name is he talked to Lamo (allegedly).
posted by humanfont at 3:37 PM on March 3, 2011


So exactly WHAT is a soldier to do when there are, what they feel, are violations of the Constitution?

Manning, by and large, has no clue what he released. The leak was massive, and he certainly did not read every document, let alone find a Constitutional breach on every one.

The problem with he did is the same problem with what Wikileaks did. It isn't that they released evidence of American crimes, it's that they released a huge, unfiltered slate of state and military secrets.

You find evidence of a crime, you release it, you're a whistleblower. Manning's actions don't fit that narrative.
posted by spaltavian at 3:44 PM on March 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Pentagon Papers Leaker Decries Manning Prosecution in WikiLeaks Case
posted by homunculus at 3:46 PM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I wouldn't jump to leaking ridiculous numbers of documents myself either, dougrayrankin. If I couldn't rise objections through channels, then I'd write down every fucking thing for when the hammer fell and congress accessed all the records. I'm fairly politically savvy however. I'm therefore not criticizing Manning for his shotgun approach.

We don't want the powerful to only fear the highly educated who can manipulate the system. We want them to fear all the participants in their charade, down to the lowliest intelligence analysis or police officer. Power corrupts. We need the anonymous powerless masses to inspire fear in the powerful.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:46 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


then you have to believe that the government is representing your interests by keeping certain things secret, even is somethings out of context seem troubling

Tell me again why you have to believe this? If the thousands of documents WikiLeaks has exposed have taught us anything, it's that most material marked as classified is not in fact important enough to be classified. There should be laws against knowingly classifying documents that do not contain sensitive information in them, particularly when their authors are in the direct employ of the citizens of the United States of America.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:49 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


"If the thousands of documents WikiLeaks has exposed have taught us anything, it's that most material marked as classified is not in fact important enough to be classified. There should be laws against knowingly classifying documents that do not contain sensitive information in them, particularly when their authors are in the direct employ of the citizens of the United States of America."

I agree. I also believe that governments have a duty to bring to light atrocities and other wrongdoings they commit.
posted by millardsarpy at 3:56 PM on March 3, 2011


Tell me again why you have to believe this? If the thousands of documents WikiLeaks has exposed have taught us anything, it's that most material marked as classified is not in fact important enough to be classified. There should be laws against knowingly classifying documents that do not contain sensitive information in them, particularly when their authors are in the direct employ of the citizens of the United States of America.
The question then arises: What if you classify something at CONFIDENTIAL, it is given the commensurate level of protection and ends up leaked and somebody dies. If you had erred on the side of caution and gone with SECRET, that might not have happened. Is the person who decided on CONFIDENTIAL then to be tried for manslaughter? Criminal negligence?
posted by dougrayrankin at 3:56 PM on March 3, 2011


Thus anon of the three million people with access has access to everything.

Not everyone with security clearance has access to SIPRNET, that number is closer to 500,000.
posted by the_artificer at 3:57 PM on March 3, 2011


As an aside, there is the interesting result that virtually all the leaked documents have actually benefit America's long term interests, either by helping extract ourselves from pointless wars, or by helping insight revolutions that're making Arab more like us. And that warrants a presidential pardon.

I'm still hoping that Obama pardons all the non-violent federal drug offenders when he's closing up shop eventually too.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:57 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Note to all: I like how this discussion started out quite heated, but both sides are calming down and starting to engage on an intellectual and not emotional level.
posted by dougrayrankin at 3:58 PM on March 3, 2011


@dougrayrankin: That argument applies to pretty much any decision on the planet. I don't think you were trying to be snarky with your comment but you can apply that logic to other situations where the deciding party has to optimize outcomes based upon what they know in a given moment.

Take for example a designer/engineer at *insert auto company here*. He/she can choose err on the side of caution and choose a component that will protect an occupant in the case of a vehicle rollover down a 5,000 foot drop into the Grand Canyon. Or he can design the part (some would say *correctly*) for the expected use case that it will see in 99.99% of all use cases. Someone drives off a cliff of that height and all occupants are killed. Is the person who decided on the component then to be tried, not even to say found guilty, of anything worse than doing his/her job?

Analogies are always suspect, but in this case I think mine approximates yours.

Back on the topic at hand: It stinks that a, hopefully well intentioned, person has to pay a high price to protect acts (read: overly classified/shady documents) that are designed, ultimately, to protect the powerful (read: corrupt). But, he had to know what he was getting into. He rolled the dice that he wouldn't get caught and he rolled snake eyes. Otherwise, if he indeed wanted to be this shining example of dignity and whisleblowing, he could have went public with the docs from the start.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:21 PM on March 3, 2011


An opening statement for the defense of Bradley Manning

...When Bradley Manning deployed to Iraq in October 2009, he thought that he’d be helping the Iraqi people build a free society after the long nightmare of Saddam Hussein. What he witnessed firsthand was quite another matter.

He soon found himself helping the Iraqi authorities detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature” — which turned out to be an investigative report into financial corruption in their own government entitled “Where does the money go?” The penalty for this “crime” in Iraq was not a slap on the wrist. Imprisonment and torture, as well as systematic abuse of prisoners, are widespread in the new Iraq. From the military’s own Sigacts (Significant Actions) reports, we have a multitude of credible accounts of Iraqi police and soldiers shooting prisoners, beating them to death, pulling out fingernails or teeth, cutting off fingers, burning with acid, torturing with electric shocks or the use of suffocation, and various kinds of sexual abuse including sodomization with gun barrels and forcing prisoners to perform sexual acts on guards and each other.

Manning had more than adequate reason to be concerned about handing over Iraqi citizens for likely torture simply for producing pamphlets about corruption in a government notorious for its corruptness.

Like any good soldier, Manning immediately took these concerns up the chain of command. And how did his superiors respond? His commanding officer told him to “shut up” and get back to rounding up more prisoners for the Iraqi Federal Police to treat however they cared to.

Now, you have already heard what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had to say about an American soldier’s duties when confronted with the torture and abuse of prisoners. Ever since our country signed and ratified the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture, it has been the law of our land that handing over prisoners to a body that will torture them is a war crime. Nevertheless, between early 2009 and August of last year, our military handed over thousands of prisoners to the Iraqi authorities, knowing full well what would happen to many of them.

The next time Pfc. Manning encountered evidence of war crimes, he took a different course of action....

posted by moorooka at 4:24 PM on March 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


the hypothetical "24" scenario

The word you're looking for there is: fictional.

It's a TV cop show.

T.J. Hooker was a TV cop show. Let's base our human rights policy on that one.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:27 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


he is a hero. and a fucking idiot for confessing in a chat room.
posted by moorooka at 4:27 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Enemy" is defined pretty broadly, although not in the UCMJ itself. "[T]he meaning of the term "enemy" ... has evolved into a concept which embraces not only organized forces of the enemy in time of war but any hostile body which forcibly seeks to defeat any military mission assigned to our armed forces, regardless of whether a state of belligerency exists or not." U.S. v. Monday, 36 C.M.R. 711 (1966).

Can we get back to this for a moment? But for that one word, forcibly, this would cover anyone, domestic or not, who tries to bring about the end of an ongoing war through legal, political means, no? I'd say that that forcibly pretty clearly excludes peace protesters, except there do seem to be a fair number of people in the U.S. who would ignore the forcibly part, saying that all peace protesters in a time of war are bordering on treasonous, or at the least unpatriotic. That's kind of a scary state of affairs, I'd say.

On another point, can I call upon folks here to do the journalistic integrity thing and refer to Manning's alleged actions as alleged, until he is actually convicted of something? (I'm guessing that will eventually happen, but until then, his actions are still alleged.)
posted by eviemath at 4:30 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some cross-pollination from another thread seems appropriate here (the first page, anyways).
posted by eviemath at 4:38 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um, no.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:13 PM.

Um, yeah.

"Only in the abolition of abuses lies the means to answer our needs"

-Charles Alexandre, vicomte de Calonne. Speech at Assemblée des notables, Feb, 1787.

"despite Calonne's plan for reform and his backing from the king, they suspected that the controller-general was in some way responsible for the enormous financial strains. Calonne, angered, printed his reports and so alienated the court. Louis XVI dismissed him on 8 April 1787 and exiled him to Lorraine."

Look what Calonnes' leak got him. He was the only one who may have prevented the revolution.

How is this analogous to Manning and wikileaks? Not much other then law. Calonne, despite his temper, did not seek to subvert the laws but change them and when confronted by EVERYONE because it harmed thier interest, he leaked or the equavilent for that era and was exiled. When the revolution started, he not allowed back. Napoleon let him back though.
posted by clavdivs at 4:39 PM on March 3, 2011


As I understand it 3 mill may have had access but 600,000 have clearance...I feel better all ready.

"There’s no reason for a corporal in Iraq to have access to all of our diplomatic communications. That’s just stupid."
posted by clavdivs at 4:49 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"There’s no reason for a corporal in Iraq to have access to all of our diplomatic communications. That’s just stupid."
I should add, for the purposes of clarification, that he is not making specific reference to the rank of the individual. He was saying that there is no need to know for an intelligence analyst dealing with Iraq to have access to cables dealing with diplomatic manners unrelated to the Iraq War.
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:56 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we get back to this for a moment? But for that one word, forcibly

I'm also kind of curious about what's meant by "defeat" in this context. Does the charge imply that exposing evidence of war crimes leads to defeat? Or was there specific information about troop locations and plans that could jeopardize the lives of soldiers? It could be he's being charged for information that does the latter rather than the former. Because he dumped so much information, he may have inadvertently done both.
posted by Hoopo at 5:07 PM on March 3, 2011


Moorooka your hypothetical opening statement will result in conviction in front of a military jury. You might as well put the needle in yourself. His optimum defense is probably he never said nothing, if he did it was probably just him bullshitting or being coerced because the claims are impossible (a few infosec expert witnesses) and there is no real evidence otherwise.
posted by humanfont at 5:09 PM on March 3, 2011


What concerns me is that Manning's treatment seems so grossly out of proportion to any "civilized" Western concept of reasonable imprisonment before trial. Maybe it's because I'm Canadian, but this level of abuse is shocking. And what interest is being served here? Even if they wanted to make an example of him, why would they risk prejudicing his eventual trial by torturing him in such an obvious way? Is it even possible that he could get a fair trial? (Sorry if that's a naive question...)

It seems like any chance Manning ever had of ever living a normal life as a hated ex-military turncoat who's paid his debt to society is being taken away as we speak. Home of the brave, indeed. Why don't they just kill him and get it over with?
posted by sneebler at 5:14 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, if they do shoot him, he will be a prime candidate for that year's Darwin Award.

As for Ellsberg, you missed one major point, Danny boy. You were a journalist and Manning was a soldier.
posted by Ardiril at 5:18 PM on March 3, 2011


Manning forced to strip naked

Last night, PFC Manning was inexplicably stripped of all clothing by the Quantico Brig.  He remained in his cell, naked, for the next seven hours.  At 5:00 a.m., the Brig sounded the wake-up call for the detainees.  At this point, PFC Manning was forced to stand naked at the front of his cell.
posted by FrauMaschine at 5:20 PM on March 3, 2011


As for Ellsberg, you missed one major point, Danny boy. You were a journalist and Manning was a soldier.

Not to derail too much, but I don't understand why so many people get this confused. I see this misconception all the time (it even happened earlier in the thread). Daniel Ellsberg was not a journalist, he was a rising-star military analyst for the RAND Corporation. Here's a lengthy but fascinating description of his RAND career from his bio:
In 1959, Ellsberg became a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to the Defense Department and the White House, specializing in problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. In 1961 he drafted the guidance from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the operational plans for general nuclear war. He was a member of two of the three working groups reporting to the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (EXCOM) during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Ellsberg joined the Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs) John McNaughton, working on the escalation of the war in Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department in 1965 to serve two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, evaluating pacification in the field.

On return to the RAND Corporation in 1967, Ellsberg worked on the top secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, the Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.
posted by dialetheia at 5:28 PM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Birgitta Jonsdottir on Bradley Manning

(Jonsdottir) [The US] are entering an extremely dangerous minefield. I am a member of parliament, I sit on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and I have a seat in the NATO parliament [...] it is quite tiresome that I can no longer travel to the United States. I already could not go to China, so now I cannot go to the United States, either.

(Deckmyn) Then do you run a risk there?

(Jonsdottir) They could subject me to a very unpleasant interrogation. They are known for that. They accept soft torture, like they are now torturing Bradley Manning.

(Deckmyn) Do you believe that Bradley Manning - the serviceman who [allegedly] gave WikiLeaks the war documents - is being tortured?

(Jonsdottir) Of course that is happening. It is not a matter of belief; they admit what means they are using. Waking up somebody every five minutes, making him sleep on a kind of sheet which gives you burns if you move in your sleep, not allowing him any movement: That is torture. They are probably trying to break him in order to reach Julian Assange [...]

posted by FrauMaschine at 5:31 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I felt that as an American citizen, as a responsible citizen, I could no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public. I did this clearly at my own jeopardy and I am prepared to answer to all the consequences of this decision."

-Ellsberg
posted by clavdivs at 6:45 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


jeffburdges: What Enemy?

The charge sheet did not explain who "the enemy" was, leading some to speculate that it was a reference to WikiLeaks. On Thursday, however, the military said that it instead referred to any hostile forces that could benefit from learning about classified military tactics and procedures.
posted by FrauMaschine at 7:35 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really do not understand this blood thirsty opinion that A. Manning did was right or just and B. he broke law and therefore he must be punished. It is an insane double think position, what sort of world do those with this opinion desire to live in? Because such thinking leads straight to 1984.

Manning should of fled and asked for asylum as a political prisoner. Hell, he should claim to be a political prisoner and people with more guts than us should pressure the government for his release.
posted by Shit Parade at 8:10 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


American soldiers are supposed to serve American interests.

Another game we will play is how kindly I can answer this.

I agree. American soldiers are supposed to serve American interests. American interests are not what the government tells us they are. I'm all for a certain degree of moral latitude but look, CHILD MOTHERFUCKING SEX SLAVES. Hillary Clinton signing off on espionage up to and including stealing credit card numbers. "Serving American interests" would be throwing the people involved in jail and issuing sincere apologies to everyone affected.

And by the people involved I do not mean Bradley Manning. It's nauseating enough when the people in power know full well they will get away with epiglottis-fucking the American people and slap down any challenge to the horrors they're producing. It's the veiny cherry on that hemorrhoid sundae when someone actually rushes to the defense of our poor beleaguered power-mad asshole ruling class. Fuck that, and fuck them. Bradley Manning swore an oath and on the day he found out exactly who he swore that oath to, it stopped meaning anything. I won't defend his arrest any more than I would defend the My Lai Massacre. Oaths are words. That's all they are.

Do not, for a second, buy the lie that American interests have anything in the slightest to do with American government. Understand this: THEY ARE NOT OUR BOSSES. THEY ARE OUR SERVANTS. We have trusted them with the keys to this country and they are using that immense power to commit the unthinkable.

You can support the people committing the unthinkable or you can support the guy who undertook great personal risk to let the American public know about it. If you choose to do the former then that's your wheelhouse but allow me to set the terms of my own participation in this discussion: I will not consider any responses which do not address how much of your money is okay to spend on child sex slaves. Get that one out of the way first and we'll talk.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:43 AM on March 3 [41 favorites +]


Soldiers inherently serve their governments more than any abstract people's "interests" that are independent from "what the government tells us they are." That is not a bad thing. Soldiers must serve their governments and no one else and they must follow orders, except perhaps in the direst and most exceptional circumstances. (The alternative to this rule is the military running things).

I don't care at all about the unsurprising story about the spying on credit cards. As for DynCorp and the indiscretions with young boys in Afghanistan, any indirect subsidy of such a thing through our military contractors is unfortunate, but homosexual pedophilia or ephebophilia is probably a custom that will continue there after our presence ends (like wife-beating), if we can get out one day. I not only assume, but know, that far worse things than that have been done by our government's hand in this endless war.

Likewise, soldiers and spies have engaged in violence and immoral behavior, respectively, to further the strategic interests that they serve for as long as espionage and warfare have existed.

Whether or not Manning intended to put himself at risk, and whether or not he had sympathetic intentions, matters very little. Being "brave" in the internet, he risked his nation's interests and his fellow soldiers' sakes in the real world. He had no business playing God with global diplomacy and state secrets.


1) Forge intelligence to lead us into war
2) Feed the forged intelligence to the New York Times
3) Hold up that copy of the New York Times as evidence on Sunday morning talk shows that they are right
4) Expose CIA assets that are married to outspoken enemies of the war
5) Lie outright on national television about the connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein
6) Short sell the cost of the war (50 billion) the length of the war (months, not years!)
7) Escape all of this criminal behavior without even having to go on record about it

And Bradley Manning is the one who deserves to rot in prison for betraying the men and women who have died during the war?


I think that both the Bush administration, collectively, and Bradley Manning deserve to rot in prison for their respective betrayals.


(Also, they're supposed to serve the constitution, and since the US led the Nurenberg trials, the US has cheerfully put soldiers to death for serving national interests that are considered immoral.)

Of course our government is hypocritical. We are outraged by others' behavior that we have equalled. Outrage for our wicked enemies, not our wicked allies, our wicked selves.
Had the Nazis won, our generals would have been killed for their crimes instead. That does not mean we were equivalent to the Nazis in any way, but we are hardly morally pure as a power and we never were.

That our government should wield itself and our army's power in a constitutionally and morally exemplary manner is not, in fact, a prerequisite for soldiers to serve our country and our government loyally. Manning was notably disloyal.


A quick question for dougrayrankin and others who share this opinion, is there any single state secret he could have exposed where you would feel punishing him for the revelation was unjust? This is a serious question; I am trying to get a hold on whether this is as truly black and white to the supporters of his punishment as it seems to be.
posted by batou_ at 11:36 AM on March 3 [+]


If, for example, someone revealed a gratuitous massacre of civilians that they found out about, rather than simply emptying a box of secrets of all varieties indiscriminately and perhaps obliviously as Manning did, I would be full of admiration and sympathy.


To whatever extent those favorites indicate that there are people here who also express their politics through fantasies of physical torture and execution: Yeah, that bothers me quite a bit.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:41 AM on March 3


What?

By the way, Manning hasn't endured anything that multitudes of common prisoners in the U.S. haven't endured. Solitary confinement is commonplace in American prisons.

Also, I think that Manning's friends in Metafilter are being outraged over his condemnation and execution rather morbidly and prematurely.


This is not at all accurate and I'm surprised that nobody else has corrected you. Manning gave the cables to WikiLeaks, who has released a very small amount of the total information they have. WikiLeaks disclosures have been made with the cooperation of mainstream journalistic institutions, redacting information where necessary to protect those involved while still allowing the essential information to be disseminated. You cannot have a meaningful debate about this issue without getting the basic facts correct.
posted by gngstrMNKY at 11:51 AM on March 3


The U.S. government must assume that it is a matter of time before all information that Manning gave to WikiLeaks is exposed to the whole world. Manning stole vast quantities of classified intelligence from his own sovereign government, giving it to an entity hostile to his government, beyond control. I don't feel that I exaggerated the gravity of this at all.


As an aside, there is the interesting result that virtually all the leaked documents have actually benefit America's long term interests, either by helping extract ourselves from pointless wars, or by helping insight revolutions that're making Arab more like us. And that warrants a presidential pardon.

I'm still hoping that Obama pardons all the non-violent federal drug offenders when he's closing up shop eventually too.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:57 PM on March 3


I haven't noticed how we are saved from pointless wars.

It is laughable that you think "Arabs" are "more like us" now than they were just weeks ago (because of the revolutions that Manning helped to "insight")


(Jonsdottir) They could subject me to a very unpleasant interrogation. They are known for that. They accept soft torture, like they are now torturing Bradley Manning.

Self flattery
posted by knoyers at 9:17 PM on March 3, 2011


As for Ellsberg, you missed one major point, Danny boy. You were a journalist and Manning was a soldier.

Not to derail too much, but I don't understand why so many people get this confused.


It is such a convenient thing to get confused.
posted by grobstein at 9:40 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Danny boy" was an analyst with the dreaded RAND corporation with a very high security clearance. Come on, now.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:33 PM on March 3, 2011


It is such a convenient thing to get confused.

Working for RAND Corp and being in the military are different things though, right? It's not insignificant that Ellsberg wasn't an active serving member of the military when he released the Pentagon papers like Manning was when he leaked a gajillion seemingly random documents to Wikileaks.

It is an insane double think position, what sort of world do those with this opinion desire to live in? Because such thinking leads straight to 1984.

One with the rule of law. 1984 was the book where they randomly changed things to suit their needs out of convenience and everyone went along with it like it never happened.

Manning didn't break an unjust law. He released some documents that confirmed events in Afghanistan and Iraq that had largely been reported in the media, because for some official confirmation was required. For that I am glad, I think it was brave of him and serves the people of the USA. He also released a whole lot of other stuff, which may have been a very bad thing to do considering his position as a member of a military in wartime. I'm sure you can understand why dumping any number of classified documents willy-nilly is probably not something that can be tolerated of someone in his position. It's not hard, it's not even that nuanced. There's no need to see this as doublethink.
posted by Hoopo at 10:39 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He also released a whole lot of other stuff, which may have been a very bad thing to do considering his position as a member of a military in wartime. I'm sure you can understand why dumping any number of classified documents willy-nilly is probably not something that can be tolerated of someone in his position. It's not hard, it's not even that nuanced. There's no need to see this as doublethink.

What a bland and empty thing to write. The same can be said about any member of the military during wartime in any country. Certainly the military shouldn't tolerate it, but the people of the country? They sure as fuck can tolerate it and even applaud the man for it.

Situations like this and a trite argument about Manning having chosen to be a member the military and therefore is morally obligated to suffer the letter of the law are forceful arguments for why a democracy ought not to have a volunteer service. Because you are citizen of your country first and foremost, the military fallout be damned. We all know we wouldn't be Iraq or Afghanistan for this long if had compulsory service or a draft. When the majority of people oppose a war and we are still there? It isn't, ipso facto, democratic.

You know the real reason Caesar could cross the Rubicon? It is because his legion loved the man and were ready to die for that man, and if those soldiers had loved their republic more? Caesar would of been dragged through the streets as the traitor he was. You want soldiers to love their commanding officer more than their country? Than make sure soldiers are punished each and every time they disobey their orders no matter the orders and no matter the reason.

If the POTUS had gumption he would pardon Manning.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:35 PM on March 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


He worked for Ed Lansdale!, the man had juice.
posted by clavdivs at 11:40 PM on March 3, 2011


*prepares to open a big can of worms...*

I'm not exactly a fan of any of the people/parties involved, but there's not a whole lot of wiggle room between a "well meaning idealist" & "nut-bag zealot" other than the person doing the labeling. However, when even the most basic dialog starts degenerating into "the military is bad, man" you're one step above "Jesus/the Devil made me do it." Until the human race does a whole lot of growing up (and people with certain "inadequacies" quit trying to take over the world) it remains a necessary evil. Now Dick Cheney & his cronies = real evil. There are flaws, centered largely in the old white guys in bad suits that make money off the system--not the individuals doing their jobs and @pardon the cliche@ defending our borders.
posted by ironbob at 5:59 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not exactly a fan of any of the people/parties involved, but there's not a whole lot of wiggle room between a "well meaning idealist" & "nut-bag zealot" other than the person doing the labeling. However, when even the most basic dialog starts degenerating into "the military is bad, man" you're one step above "Jesus/the Devil made me do it." Until the human race does a whole lot of growing up (and people with certain "inadequacies" quit trying to take over the world) it remains a necessary evil. Now Dick Cheney & his cronies = real evil. There are flaws, centered largely in the old white guys in bad suits that make money off the system--not the individuals doing their jobs and @pardon the cliche@ defending our borders.

This is not a can of worms. It's a stinking sack of something else.

Militaries are inherently bad. They exist to kill people, and it should always remain a last resort. The effect of the US military is evil because it's leadership is mostly evil, and their orders are mostly followed without question. Excepting the leadership, the US military itself is made up of good people, but so far, not many of them have stood up and done the right thing. They are afraid of being court martialled. They are afraid of losing their jobs for even being critical of any other part of the hierarchy.

Or they keep abusing the system and causing more death and destruction to satisfy their own egos and desire for promotion. And killing people effectively, as long as the report sounds good, is how you get promoted.

The US military does not reward moral behavior. It rewards destruction and worships power, which are historically negative aspects of an entity that was originally designed to protect our country, not invade others to protect business interests.

So, yeah, it's fucking bad, man.
posted by notion at 9:10 AM on March 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


why aren't you taking more radical action?

I am curious what you would suggest. You mention protesting in the streets, but that has so far been ineffective.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:16 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't really understand the desire to lionize this guy

It's very simple. He's essentially sacrificed his own life to speak truth to power. If you can't recognize that, well.. (But I do assume the performance here is satire.)

Bradley Manning is a far braver man than most anyone any of us will ever meet.

The moment the turnout drops below 50%, all manner of non-violent civil disobedience will immediately and directly follow.

...

Sigh. And were all of the other 51% even eligible to vote?

It's almost a little shocking to see ignorance followed by such annoying arrogance.

Wikipedia puts the U.S. voting turnout for (age-eligible) voters from 1960-1995 at 48%. I once thought that a "just don't vote" campaign might spark a revolution ... when I was 12.

Note to all: I like how this discussion started out quite heated, but both sides are calming down and starting to engage on an intellectual and not emotional level.

That's b/c the performance artist left. He couldn'ta been serious, could he?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:45 AM on March 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


We need the anonymous powerless masses to inspire fear in the powerful.

Looks like they heard you:

"The decision to charge Bradley Manning with a capital offense in addition to other charges is a provocation and Anonymous is set to respond accordingly."
posted by mrgrimm at 9:46 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


People would (and do...) kill each other with or without the interference of organized police, armies, militias, mobs, scout groups, etc. In fact they do a really good job at it. Wait, so the Taliban--not technically a military--you're OK with them?

However, you realize that a fair amount of the satellites that make our phones, GPS systems, cable networks and much else that need to get into orbit is launched quietly by the space wing of the USAF, because as much as they may bugger you raw your phone company doesn't have a launchpad in the back yard. Humanitarian relief sent to disaster areas here & abroad, flown on military aircraft. The Army Corps of Engineers (with the exception of the Katrina mess...) and the Seabees both do a hell of a lot more in non-combat roles than they get credit for. Who cleans up after tornadoes & hurricanes? Your own local National Guard unit (well until King George decided to send them off to Iraq) would be there.

And well, after two branches, 12 years and about 3 years spent out of the US, I've never even spoken in harsh tones to a foreign national or anyone else for that matter. The naive notion that the military is all "Full Metal Jacket" with caffeine fueled killing machines is complete BS--although most of us find it amusing enough we don't take it personally.
posted by ironbob at 11:10 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"walking the balance"
posted by clavdivs at 1:21 PM on March 4, 2011


clavdivs: "Do not seek Justice by breaking a law when you can change an unjust law into a just law."

Still no- this is a massively stupid statement.
When the government is corrupt, you aren't going to get unjust laws changed. You've got to break the law. There has been no justice movement where there they didn't break the law- hell, where there hasn't at least been the threat of violence.

In that sense, I'm with Pastabagel- it's put up or shut up time. Manning is putting up. Just because they're prosecuting him, just because he knew he ran a risk of being prosecuted, doesn't mean I'm not going to call for his release, or say that his treatment is unjust. All this talk of 'let him be a martyr' is asinine, too.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:41 PM on March 4, 2011


notion
Militaries are inherently bad. They exist to kill people, and it should always remain a last resort. The effect of the US military is evil because it's leadership is mostly evil, and their orders are mostly followed without question. Excepting the leadership, the US military itself is made up of good people, but so far, not many of them have stood up and done the right thing. They are afraid of being court martialled. They are afraid of losing their jobs for even being critical of any other part of the hierarchy.

Or they keep abusing the system and causing more death and destruction to satisfy their own egos and desire for promotion. And killing people effectively, as long as the report sounds good, is how you get promoted.

The US military does not reward moral behavior. It rewards destruction and worships power, which are historically negative aspects of an entity that was originally designed to protect our country, not invade others to protect business interests.

So, yeah, it's fucking bad, man.

Spoken like a true graduate of the school of "I've seen Full Metal Jacket don't you know!"
posted by dougrayrankin at 2:23 PM on March 4, 2011


Damnit, didn't close the tags right. The last line is mine!
posted by dougrayrankin at 2:25 PM on March 4, 2011


The same can be said about any member of the military during wartime in any country. Certainly the military shouldn't tolerate it, but the people of the country?

Indeed. You seem to have missed the part where I also applaud him for releasing the information about war crimes and acknowledge the benefit to the people of the USA.

a trite argument about Manning having chosen to be a member of the military and therefore is morally obligated to suffer the letter of the law.

Wait, so no one should be obligated to to accept the legal consequences of their actions? The man is accused of aiding the enemy. I acknowledge it's possible that the charge is bullshit. But we don't know the evidence or the substance of the allegations. I don't on principle object to someone having to stand trial for crimes and can't comment on the validity of the charges without knowing more about what was released. Besides, Obama can't pardon someone who hasn't been found guilty of anything.

When the majority of people oppose a war and we are still there? It isn't, ipso facto, democratic.

Ever hear of the tyranny of the majority? This is why you have Constitutions and Bills of Rights and "inalienable rights" guaranteed to citizens. The existence of something that most people don't like doesn't make it ipso facto undemocratic, Shit Parade. That's just wrong. I say this as a very vocal opponent of the Iraq War, that what you're talking about is exactly how habeas corpus gets suspended and the government is allowed to set up "free speech zones" for dissenters where it can beat on people out of view of the cameras. Democracy doesn't mean giving people whatever they want whenever they want it, the American people are not a monolith, and it wasn't long ago that a majority was screaming for blood, condoning torture, and insisting that the military should stay as long as it takes. They got that. By your logic, it would have been undemocratic not to.
posted by Hoopo at 2:35 PM on March 4, 2011


Still no- this is a massively stupid statement.

As oppossed to mere stupid. It is in response to someone eles question, it's my own and it took about 45 seconds to come up with it, it is not meant to be shot down as "stupid" but to be challenged with logic. I posited my historical example, though far reaching, it follows the logic. He tried to address problems without breaking laws. In a sence, If one does not try and change something unjust by just means, then justice is only breaking the law by replacing it or it's abolition.
posted by clavdivs at 2:50 PM on March 4, 2011


WTF America. Kucinich compares Bradley Manning detention to Abu Ghraib.
Officials have confirmed the 'non-punitive' stripping of an American soldier who has not been found guilty of any crime. This 'non-punitive' action would be considered a violation of the Army Field Manual if used in an interrogation overseas.
The Army Field Manuel states: "If used in conjunction with intelligence interrogations, prohibited actions include, but are not limited to- Forcing the detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts or pose in a sexual manner."
posted by adamvasco at 3:18 PM on March 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Manning forced to strip naked

Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking government files to WikiLeaks, will be stripped of his clothing every night as a “precautionary measure” to prevent him from injuring himself, an official at the Marine brig at Quantico, Va., said on Friday.
posted by homunculus at 4:28 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The same can be said about any member of the military during wartime in any country. Certainly the military shouldn't tolerate it, but the people of the country?

Indeed. You seem to have missed the part where I also applaud him for releasing the information about war crimes and acknowledge the benefit to the people of the USA.


Indeed, it wasn't missed because that is why I am accusing such lazy people as engaging in doublethink. You clap with one hand and whip with the other.

a trite argument about Manning having chosen to be a member of the military and therefore is morally obligated to suffer the letter of the law.

Wait, so no one should be obligated to to accept the legal consequences of their actions


Wait, did I write that "no one should be obligated to accept the legal consequences of their actions" or did you make it up? I recommend you reread what I wrote keeping in mind the words before and after it and pay special attention to the words in bold, I put them in BOLD for a reason.

Ever hear of the tyranny of the majority?

I am flabbergasted because when you trot out the phrase "tyranny of the majority" you show case it like it's a prize winning poodle, I mean, do you understand what this means? Because, despite the fears voiced in the federalist papers it has not come to pass. Congress is not the most powerful governing body and the majority in this country do not repeatedly violate the rights of minorities and coerce various branches of the government to enact its desires. If anything, it is the opposite-- well connected and well organized minorities (small groups) wield a vastly disproportionate power over others. Tyranny of the majority is an antiquated political theory that has very little to say for itself beyond being rhetorical. But yeah, I have heard of it. Do you understand it?

This is why you have Constitutions and Bills of Rights and "inalienable rights" guaranteed to citizens. The existence of something that most people don't like doesn't make it ipso facto undemocratic, Shit Parade. That's just wrong.

Actually it does make it undemocratic, need a definition of "democratic"? If I was speaking about American Democracy, I would of written American Democracy.

I say this as a very vocal opponent of the Iraq War, that what you're talking about is exactly how habeas corpus gets suspended and the government is allowed to set up "free speech zones" for dissenters where it can beat on people out of view of the cameras. Democracy doesn't mean giving people whatever they want whenever they want it, the American people are not a monolith, and it wasn't long ago that a majority was screaming for blood, condoning torture, and insisting that the military should stay as long as it takes. They got that. By your logic, it would have been undemocratic not to.

What? No, really, what are you saying? I am trying really hard here. You must be confusing the words "democratic" with "democracy", and particularly "American Democracy" as it is practiced. That is by far the most charitable way I can interpret you.

If, in the future, you can't be bothered to be an honest interlocutor then I can't be bothered to waste my time with you.
posted by Shit Parade at 5:45 PM on March 4, 2011


If the POTUS had gumption he would pardon Manning.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:35 PM on March 3


What evidence is there to suggest that Obama wants to do anything on Manning's behalf? If Obama wants to, he can. But in fact, the opposite is true -- Obama has allowed Manning to be treated harshly. There is no basis for thinking that Obama's actions contradict his thoughts on this matter.

Militaries are inherently bad. They exist to kill people, and it should always remain a last resort. The effect of the US military is evil because it's leadership is mostly evil, and their orders are mostly followed without question. Excepting the leadership, the US military itself is made up of good people, but so far, not many of them have stood up and done the right thing. They are afraid of being court martialled. They are afraid of losing their jobs for even being critical of any other part of the hierarchy.

Or they keep abusing the system and causing more death and destruction to satisfy their own egos and desire for promotion. And killing people effectively, as long as the report sounds good, is how you get promoted.

The US military does not reward moral behavior. It rewards destruction and worships power, which are historically negative aspects of an entity that was originally designed to protect our country, not invade others to protect business interests.

So, yeah, it's fucking bad, man.
posted by notion at 9:10 AM on March 4


Americans enjoy unparalleled protection from the world's strife and warfare thanks to a vast military apparatus. Generally speaking, we do not know what it is to exist without the protection of the great military power that insulates us. We benefit, voluntarily, from the security the military provides just as we benefit voluntarily from the rule of law.

People who think that they are morally superior to the military, and indeed that they exist independently from the military, generally do not go someplace else where that precious superiority is unprotected and exposed to invasion or random violence.

And who are you to say that the leadership is "mostly evil" while the "military itself" consists of "good people"? This is a false juxtaposition, and a sentimental one.

The military did not instigate any of our ongoing wars. The civilian leadership did that. The way it works is that soldiers suffer and die in war on your behalf, whether necessarily or not, while you demonize the military like this.

By the way, the military has been actively protecting business interests abroad since independence. Our first naval war against the Barbary pirates, for example.
posted by knoyers at 8:49 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The stipping him naked and other over the top detention policies annoy me. It just creates a cruel and unusual punishment argument for the defense to use to derail the case. Even if this guy is the one who leaked our secret stuff all over creation creating the largest intel breach in our history, you try the guy and handle his detention in a professional manner until trial and then enforce the sentence if he is guitly. This thing just makes us look petty and uninwtereated in justice.
posted by humanfont at 10:18 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


You must be confusing the words "democratic" with "democracy"

Okay, that's a weird thing to say. Were you not using the word "undemocratic" to describe events in American politics in the context of American democracy as it is practiced? You were making a point about direct democracy for some reason? Whatever, it's a pretty stupid thing to argue about at any rate.

What you're saying as far as I can tell is Manning should face no consequences because some of what he released was beneficial to political discourse. You invoked the concept of "undemocratic" to make a case against an unpopular war. I'm saying that the war was popular not long ago and by the same token was democratic not long ago. Despite the short-sightedness of the American electorate, a war is not something you can always just turn off. Furthermore, I'm not convinced as you are that after 9/11 reactions would have been totally level-headed in this fictional world of compulsory American military service and drafts. Your government at the time lied to you when people were angry and scared and they managed to convince everyone that Hussein had something to do with it. It was disgusting to behold from outside, and to some I'm sure from inside too. To far too many Americans it seemed like the right thing to do, as did torture of scary people, extraordinary rendition, suspending habeas corpus, domestic wiretaps, yadda yadda yadda. Some of these are things that fly in the face of your supposedly inalienable rights and overarching principles, but they would have been "democratic" because people supported them.

What I feel will serve Americans above all else is ensuring that the fundamental, enshrined principles of your society are adhered to, all the time, not just when it's convenient. Under Bush the country failed to do that and look what happened. The laws Manning is being held to are not unjust as far as I can tell. They're the same ones that would apply to someone maliciously engaging in espionage that endangered American citizens serving in the military. I also think motivation is a mitigating circumstance, and hope it would factor into whatever consequences Manning faces--and that the only consequences he faces are for crimes that merit them if he is guilty. You seem incapable of accepting I'm not demanding his head.
posted by Hoopo at 12:13 AM on March 5, 2011


This thing just makes us look petty and uninwtereated in justice.

Anything will do this.

creating the largest intel breach in our history

Even when tried and convicted, (20 Years i predict) I believe this would be Ames and to some extent Philby and Co. If by shear volume of material, thats the kind of question worth asking. What, quarter mill in copper plated diplomatic cables worth thier weight in gold as far as morale busters. Sheldon Boone, a hometown hero, gave away alot of stuff that may have approached a quarter mil in pages. I would bet a pony that the Walkers gave away a similar amount of pages. But if you mean secrets accesable to the public ( a slow venture at this point) then yes, most likely the largest leak(s) in history.
posted by clavdivs at 1:46 AM on March 5, 2011


Bradley Manning and the stench of US hypocrisy.
In recent days and weeks the US government has condemned human rights abuses and repression in almost every country across the Middle East – yet at a prison within its own borders it sanctions the persecution, alleged psychological torture and debasement of a young soldier who appears to have made a principled choice in the name of progress.
This. This is the story. It is irrelevant if Manning is guilty / notguilty; or if armed forces are evil / good; Irrelevant.
posted by adamvasco at 2:08 AM on March 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Correction Boone gave away no were near that. Hanssen is who rang a bell.
yeah, this is nonsense and inane his treatment. I have no doubt Manning will walk the balance on that and emerge with something to say, heck he already has no matter the legality. I do not think it serves justice what he did but it has its just deserve. Having lived with a P.O.W. i can assure we he is under extreme pressure if not an internal duress. The need for this severe confinement is not explained but it wont be explained other then "security concerns". Is he being made an example, perhaps but boy joe, thats some harsh block house traetment. From Mannings log, despite his doubts and personal stuff, i read into a smart person capable of isolation and thus coping thus surviving. Thats what this about.
There are no two-sided coins in this issue. A person can not support what he did and still vocally support his general well being and understand why he allegedly leaked.
posted by clavdivs at 4:41 AM on March 5, 2011


A Narrative Chronology of Bradley Manning’s Alleged Leaks
posted by homunculus at 2:40 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


And well, after two branches, 12 years and about 3 years spent out of the US, I've never even spoken in harsh tones to a foreign national or anyone else for that matter. The naive notion that the military is all "Full Metal Jacket" with caffeine fueled killing machines is complete BS--although most of us find it amusing enough we don't take it personally.

Um... you probably do drink caffeine, and you definitely kill people for a living. That is your job, isn't it? Otherwise I don't know why they would call it the military. Let's hear from some top brass:
After being promoted to lieutenant general, Mattis took command of Marine Corps Combat Development Command. On February 1, 2005, speaking ad libitum at a forum in San Diego, he said "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling." Mattis's remarks sparked controversy and General Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, issued a statement suggesting that Mattis should have chosen his words more carefully, but would not be disciplined. (source)
That man is now the commander of CENTCOM.

I've spent more than a few minutes reading the accounts of men destroyed by the horror of war, from the wars in the Philippines to the world wars to Vietnam and all the way to the stories of men and women from Iraq and Afghanistan in Winter Soldier. From that book, I know commanders rewarded acts of obscene violence with longer passes and special privileges. I know when bodies were blown apart by gunfire, the body parts were often gathered and photographed as trophies. I know that the marines carried drop weapons to plant on civilians if they happened to "make a mistake."

Don't try to bullshit me about the realities of the US military machine. It looks like you've got your hands full bullshitting yourself.
posted by notion at 4:15 PM on March 5, 2011


"I am flabbergasted because when you trot out the phrase "tyranny of the majority" you show case it like it's a prize winning poodle, I mean, do you understand what this means? Because, despite the fears voiced in the federalist papers it has not come to pass. Congress is not the most powerful governing body and the majority in this country do not repeatedly violate the rights of minorities and coerce various branches of the government to enact its desires. If anything, it is the opposite-- well connected and well organized minorities (small groups) wield a vastly disproportionate power over others. Tyranny of the majority is an antiquated political theory that has very little to say for itself beyond being rhetorical. But yeah, I have heard of it. Do you understand it?"

Dude, if you want to swing your poli-sci dick, you need to make sure it's worth showing. The majority in this country don't routinely violate the rights of minorities? How many examples do you need to knock off the condescending tone? Lessee, slavery, Trail of Tears, racial profiling, banning gay marriage, red lining, the whole "Christian nation" thing…

That "tyranny of the majority" is a real, relevant political concept does not remove nor balance the dangers of factionalism, and no, it's pretty clear that you don't understand it if you think it's simply a rhetorical flourish.

Stop living up to your name.
posted by klangklangston at 4:43 PM on March 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


People who think that they are morally superior to the military, and indeed that they exist independently from the military, generally do not go someplace else where that precious superiority is unprotected and exposed to invasion or random violence.

I'm a Rentista in Costa Rica for several reasons. And I would have no fear living in any other part of the world that wasn't on the wrong side of American imperialism. I'm not paranoid and terrified of everyone, as the US foreign policy most certainly is. We even invaded Granada, the nutmeg capital of the world, to fight communism. The State department even lied about a mass grave in the lead-up, per their tradition, to muster public support.

(And yes, I'm afraid of the US military and security state apparatus. They regularly kidnap people and throw them prison, where they are often tortured.)

And who are you to say that the leadership is "mostly evil" while the "military itself" consists of "good people"? This is a false juxtaposition, and a sentimental one.

Good people in a bad system, yes. They shave heads and tell people that that they are nothing for one reason: to make it easier for a soldier to identify with their squad than other human beings, so a soldier will remain loyal and have no qualms about killing people when asked. It's a process of psychological destruction and dehumanization that can turn any normal person with an aversion to violence into, and this is the phrase they use at boot camp, a "killing machine."

The military did not instigate any of our ongoing wars. The civilian leadership did that. The way it works is that soldiers suffer and die in war on your behalf, whether necessarily or not, while you demonize the military like this.

And who were those stalwart voices of opposition from within the Pentagon in 2001 and 2003? Cause I didn't hear shit. They wanted to keep their stars and their jobs, consequences and lives be damned. I know and you know that many of those men sent their soldiers into a war that they knew was bullshit. That reeks of something besides honor in my book.

By the way, the military has been actively protecting business interests abroad since independence. Our first naval war against the Barbary pirates, for example.

I had no clue Iraq and Afghanistan were international waterways under international law. In fact, I'm sure our wars there are squarely incompatible with international law.

Look, I have a lot of friends in the Air Force and the Army, because where I'm from, it was one of the best options to get out. Privately, and especially once they're out, most of them agree with me, that the whole machine is a fucked up, evil mess. Most of my family on my father's side served, and one of them hanged himself and the other is a crazy hermit who lives in a cabin in Tennessee. Soldier's pay the dearest cost out of any of the citizens of the United States, but I maintain that the people who didn't sign up for anything, and are thrown away as collateral damage, pay an even greater cost.

And then I know some guys in Airforce Intelligence, who are professional apologists for US military power. We run the world better than anyone else, they tell me. One even told me that Costa Rica is pretty much run by the CIA, so I wasn't really escaping anything. They keep telling me, if I only knew, if I only knew what the world was really like, I would be waving flags like a lunatic.

Yet, they couldn't tell me what they knew, what single fact that I hadn't heard that would make things different. They "couldn't talk about it." Which I believe, but that seems to be the same con men in power have been running for fucking millennia. Only the Priest knows. Only the King knows, and on and on. And they've all turned out to be full of shit.

The problem is, as always, no one wants to even consider the possibility that the US military no longer has anything to do with defending freedom and democracy. It's a lot easier to slap a sticker on your car that says you support the troops, and pretend everything is going to be alright. Every dead civilian is worth it. And if you're one of the guys who dragged the nation into war, you can even propose cutting veteran's benefits while you continue to cut taxes for the ultra wealthy, and plaintively wonder why there's a budget deficit while keeping a straight face.

So, I stand by my statement. It's fucking bad, my friend.
posted by notion at 5:14 PM on March 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Notion, I am favoriting the shit out of that comment.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:46 PM on March 5, 2011


And just for the record, I don't despise anyone in the military, except for the people who realize they are doing evil and then continue doing it. I hate what it does to the men and women who serve just as much as I hate what it does to the people they are ordered to destroy.
posted by notion at 6:25 PM on March 5, 2011


And yes, I'm afraid of the US military and security state apparatus

This bothers me notion, if this happens, have someone memail me and I will see what I can do which is more then you would ever know if you needed said help in the first place. wait, you have friends in AIA.

except for the people who realize they are doing evil and then continue doing it

Hey, BIG SAM cant argue with that. It is called rotation or a tour which is really rather fucked up.
posted by clavdivs at 7:59 PM on March 5, 2011


I've spent more than a few minutes reading the accounts of men destroyed by the horror of war, from the wars in the Philippines to the world wars to Vietnam and all the way to the stories of men and women from Iraq and Afghanistan in Winter Soldier. From that book, I know commanders rewarded acts of obscene violence with longer passes and special privileges. I know when bodies were blown apart by gunfire, the body parts were often gathered and photographed as trophies. I know that the marines carried drop weapons to plant on civilians if they happened to "make a mistake."

It is an honor to be communicating with someone who is ready to prove that he really knows about war, in a way that I do not. Because no matter how much I read about this subject, especially regarding Vietnam (which once I took a class on), I can't really say that I know where the plants and the trophy bodies are buried. Also, until I read the paragraph above, I believed that American soldiers have always followed a moral code of honorable warfare 100 per cent of the time. While it is heartbreaking to be disillusioned, at least I understand now how it is that you are sure that the leadership of the military is evil, while the soldiers that they command are natively good.

I'm a Rentista in Costa Rica for several reasons. And I would have no fear living in any other part of the world that wasn't on the wrong side of American imperialism. I'm not paranoid and terrified of everyone, as the US foreign policy most certainly is. We even invaded Granada, the nutmeg capital of the world, to fight communism. The State department even lied about a mass grave in the lead-up, per their tradition, to muster public support.

The U.S. military implicitly protects many other countries that are thus spared the burden of our enormous military expenditures.

There have of course been many disastrous and tragic blunders in our foreign policy in recent history. Yet our government does have many genuine causes for anxiety at any given time.

(And yes, I'm afraid of the US military and security state apparatus. They regularly kidnap people and throw them prison, where they are often tortured.)

I hope that the C.I.A. would never kidnap you off the beach in Costa Rica for your brave internet critiques when they have nothing better to do. I have no doubt that you have taken precautions. But at least you are not "paranoid and terrified" about that grim prospect which you are facing with such steadfastness. If it does happen, then I hope that they don't do anything perverse subsequently. But at least clavdivs will stick up for you with them.

They shave heads and tell people that that they are nothing for one reason: to make it easier for a soldier to identify with their squad than other human beings, so a soldier will remain loyal and have no qualms about killing people when asked. It's a process of psychological destruction and dehumanization that can turn any normal person with an aversion to violence into, and this is the phrase they use at boot camp, a "killing machine."

Of course

And who were those stalwart voices of opposition from within the Pentagon in 2001 and 2003? Cause I didn't hear shit. They wanted to keep their stars and their jobs, consequences and lives be damned. I know and you know that many of those men sent their soldiers into a war that they knew was bullshit.

Not for the military to decide whether to go to war
posted by knoyers at 7:25 AM on March 6, 2011


Awesome snark, knoyers. I would love to discuss any evidence and experience you have to the contrary. I know I am small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, so drastically defunding my contribution to the US tax system is the only form of protest that I really have.

And, from what I have read, there was near 100% compliance with international law in the beginning, until normal Iraqis began to resist the withdrawal, and then the rules of engagement were relaxed. Additionally, anyone who complained and reported abuse was basically told to shut up by their superiors.

Again, if you have evidence to the contrary, I would like to know about it.
posted by notion at 4:07 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


wow, just wow.
posted by clavdivs at 8:27 AM on March 7, 2011


I'm not sure if it's been linked, but Greg Mitchell at The Nation is doing a great job blogging the WikiLeaks/Manning story.

Bradley Manning and the Tomb of the Well-Known Soldier

Nothing terribly new, but great documentation/links on that blog.

Also,

"Manning must be given sheets, blankets, any religious texts he desires, adequate reading material, clothes, and a ball. One week. Otherwise, we continue to dox and ruin those responsible for keeeping him naked, without bedding, without any of the basic amenities that were provided even to captured Nazis in WWII."

Anonymous Hackers Target Alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning's Jailers
posted by mrgrimm at 1:56 PM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mainstreaming Brutality
posted by homunculus at 12:19 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bradley Manning has spoken out for the first time about what he claims is his punitive and unlawful treatment in military prison. Stripped naked every night.
I was incredibly embarrassed at having all these people stare at me naked.
posted by adamvasco at 3:14 AM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is an edited version of his description of what happened next:


More importantly... how did he get that message out? Am I missing the part of the story which details how he was able to get such a detailed account out?
posted by dougrayrankin at 9:35 AM on March 11, 2011


dougraykin if you read the article you would see that the letter was released via his lawyer.
Meanwhile
Philip J. Crowley State Dept: -
“torturing a prisoner in a military brig”? ......."What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”.
That's right a state Department spokesman used the word Torture in reference to Manning.
posted by adamvasco at 10:13 AM on March 11, 2011


That's right a state Department spokesman used the word Torture in reference to Manning.

That's not what the blog said.

Around twenty of us were sitting around the table listening to his views on social media, the impact of the Twittersphere, the Arab uprisings, and so on, in a vast space-age conference room overlooking the Charles River and the Boston skyline. And then, inevitably, one young man said he wanted to address “the elephant in the room”. What did Crowley think, he asked, about Wikileaks? About the United States, in his words, “torturing a prisoner in a military brig”? Crowley didn’t stop to think. What’s being done to Bradley Manning by my colleagues at the Department of Defense “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” He paused. “None the less Bradley Manning is in the right place”. And he went on lengthening his answer, explaining why in Washington’s view, “there is sometimes a need for secrets… for diplomatic progress to be made”.

Unless I misread, it's the questioner using the word "torture," not Crowley.

Thanks for the Manning/Coombs links.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:28 PM on March 11, 2011


Obama stands by Manning treatment
posted by homunculus at 12:32 PM on March 11, 2011


On rereading mrgrimm I stand corrected. Thank you. I found the report here which is not quite so clear. Here is the blog from David Coombes' office
posted by adamvasco at 12:39 PM on March 11, 2011


dougraykin if you read the article you would see that the letter was released via his lawyer.
Am I being a serious mong or have I read the article six times and seen no reference to a lawyer?
posted by dougrayrankin at 3:39 PM on March 11, 2011


Am I being a serious mong or have I read the article six times and seen no reference to a lawyer?

You probably only read the letter itself -- the news story about the letter says, "In an 11-page legal letter released by his lawyer, David Coombs, Manning sets out in his own words. . . ."
posted by grobstein at 4:36 PM on March 11, 2011


Cheers
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:04 AM on March 12, 2011


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