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Bradley Manning and the mainstreaming of gay pride
May 7, 2013 7:37 PM   Subscribe

For about a day, Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning was going to be one of the Grand Marshals in this year's San Francisco Pride Parade. Since Manning continues to languish in a military brig, his* frequent champion, the Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, agreed to attend in his stead. Manning was selected by Pride's "electoral college," a jury of former Grand Marshals that elects some of the Grand Marshals for each year's parade. But almost as soon as his selection was announced, it was revoked by the Pride board. Here is the statement from board President Lisa Williams. The SF Pride board is meeting right now, and Manning's advocates will be gathering outside and possibly inside the meeting. @lizatblackrose is livetweeting the meeting.

In her statement, Williams characterized Manning's selection as undemocratic, and an accident:
A staff person at SF Pride, acting under his own initiative, prematurely contacted Bradley Manning based on internal conversations within the SF Pride organization. That was an error and that person has been disciplined. He does not now, nor did he at that time, speak for SF Pride.
But according to interviews with one former Grand Marshal, that is not quite accurate:
the Board had been willing to honor him. It was not until LGBT military groups from outside of San Francisco began to bombard San Francisco Pride’s office with phone calls and emails that the Board decided Pride would not honor Manning.

“I nominated Bradley Manning to be a Grand Marshal,” Joey Cain told Firedoglake. Three others in addition to Manning were nominated. An email went out to former Grand Marshals and “we voted.”
The board was not just fixing a procedural screwup, then: they were trying to walk back a decision that was bringing them under political fire.

The backlash at Manning's election appears to have been driven in part by gay military activist groups, with some arguing that Manning "does not represent the gay military community." Salon hosted an exchange between gay military activists Sean Sala (anti-Manning) and Dan Choi (pro-Manning). In the debate, Sala returns several times to the argument that what Manning did (regardless of its merits) has nothing to do with being gay or gay rights.

Now that gay rights orgs are increasingly part of the mainstream, they are subject to the same kinds of pressures and incentives that all mainstream groups face. Do all those big corporate sponsorships mean radicalism is no longer welcome: Stephen W. Thrasher on the military-industrial complex and "the professional homosexuals? Is it ironic for the chair of a group named after Bayard Rustin to shun an activist because he is regarded as a "traitor" (NSFW-ish)?

-----
*I have used "he," "his," etc., to refer to Manning in this post. Actually there is some speculation that Manning regards himself as a woman. In the absence of definitive word I stuck with the male conventions for simplicity.
posted by grobstein (97 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
My favorite article is the Glenn Greenwald rant, where he rips William's absurd statement to shreds.

Here's today's coverage in the SF Bay Guardian.

Full disclosure -- I was at the rally outside the Pride offices last week (and got my photo taken by Daniel Ellsberg!) and drafted a public statement on the topic for an organization I'm part of. It's going to be an interesting parade this year.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:45 PM on May 7, 2013 [16 favorites]


There is a new statement from the Pride board that puts their stance in a more moderate light. Link.
posted by grobstein at 7:45 PM on May 7, 2013


Do all those big corporate sponsorships mean radicalism is no longer welcome

Yes.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:46 PM on May 7, 2013 [27 favorites]


This article, plus the direct statements from the Bradley Manning Support Network about Manning's preferences, are what my group is using to determine the gender pronouns we're using. It's as close to direct communication as we can get.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:47 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


that person has been disciplined

Punishment? Seriously?

even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform -- and countless others, military and civilian alike -- will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride

Manning didn't directly cause any harm to anyone in the US military (let alone to "countless" others) and is credibly credited with helping start the Arab Spring.

Board President Lisa Williams is an obnoxious reactionary.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 7:54 PM on May 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Wow, that Pride statement is really chilling. It's amazing that the leader of an ostensible activist group can release language like "placed in harms [sic] way the lives of our men and women in uniform" without someone, anyone, reminding them of the actual politics they're endorsing. Hope Williams doesn't keep her job long.
posted by RogerB at 7:55 PM on May 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


Good. I don't know what the hell they were thinking other than maybe yearning for the good old days when the parade used to be controversial.

Especially this year, which has been so so extraordinary in the fight for marriage equality and gay rights in general, I can think of a LOT of people who belong on the list of Grand Marshals before we get down to a massively polarizing figure who happens to not be straight.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:58 PM on May 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


The parade may actually be fun to march in this year, in a protest march kind of way.

Great post, grobstein. Thanks.
posted by rtha at 8:05 PM on May 7, 2013


Manning didn't directly cause any harm to anyone in the US military (let alone to "countless" others)

How in the world would you know that? Are you familiar with the contents of hundreds of thousands of cables and the thousands of disparate topics they address? The cross connections between seemingly unrelated ones that give insight into security arrangements and travel schedules?

Claiming to have found something in the data seems reasonable. Claiming that no one else found more than you did seems a bit weird given the size of the data set.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:09 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is it ironic for the chair of a group named after Bayard Rustin to shun an activist because he is regarded as a "traitor" (NSFW-ish)?

The NSFW* pic in that link implies that in the U.S.-Israel relationship the latter is a bossy bottom, which is a stunning metaphor I dare not elaborate further upon.

*ish? Maybe if you work at Titan Video?
posted by psoas at 8:13 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


How in the world would you know that? Are you familiar with the contents of hundreds of thousands of cables and the thousands of disparate topics they address? The cross connections between seemingly unrelated ones that give insight into security arrangements and travel schedules?

Um, because the only people in position to evaluate that said it didn't?

"According to a Congressional aide who spoke to Reuters, State Department officials concluded late last year that the publication of leaked United States diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks 'was embarrassing but not damaging.'”
posted by protocoach at 8:13 PM on May 7, 2013 [26 favorites]


Well, as long as you bourgie faggots can get married and have the weekend off here and there, no need or concern for anything intersectional. It's like Queers Against Israeli Apartheid here. Queer events used to be a way of working out politics on the street, now it's a vacation.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:17 PM on May 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


Do all those big corporate sponsorships mean radicalism is no longer welcome

It's been an ongoing discussion, for sure. People in the GLBT community have criticized HRC for years, for instance. Anyway, interesting subject and a good write-up, where several civil rights issues intersect for Americans and people worldwide — cheers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:18 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are you familiar with the contents of hundreds of thousands of cables and the thousands of disparate topics they address?

I used a different method called reading the news.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 8:21 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


ostensible activist group can release language like "placed in harms [sic] way the lives of our men and women in uniform" without someone, anyone, reminding them of the actual politics they're endorsing

I'm sorry, did I miss twenty years of protesting Don't Ask Don't Tell somewhere?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:23 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, you know what this means. A group of protest marchers dressed like this up top and like this down below. Fabulous!
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:24 PM on May 7, 2013


Queer events used to be a way of working out politics on the street, now it's a vacation.

Because only people from the street have a stake in civil rights, sure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:28 PM on May 7, 2013


In America, if you can afford to buy yr civil rights you can afford to have them.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:34 PM on May 7, 2013


Guys, love will tear us apart.
posted by Nomyte at 8:36 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have nothing intelligent to add at this moment, but I wish to point out that the SF weekly blog link at the top of this post currently has a caption reading "Grand Marsha #2" under Manning's picture, and I like the idea of some ceremony having a Grand Marsha.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:36 PM on May 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Guys, love will tear us apart.

Again?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:38 PM on May 7, 2013 [18 favorites]


I was about to ask, "is Bradley Manning even openly queer?" And then I remembered that he has been imprisoned since before Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed.
Which was...a while ago.
posted by threeants at 8:56 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Guardian piece that gingerbeer linked above is really fantastic and cutting. Don't miss it.
posted by Phire at 9:10 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can get not being comfortable with Manning as Grand Marshal, but Pride handled this pretty spectacularly poorly, making no one happy.
posted by klangklangston at 9:20 PM on May 7, 2013


The Grand Marshall of the parade isn't supposed to be a person who divides the community.
posted by humanfont at 9:22 PM on May 7, 2013


> > Manning didn't directly cause any harm to anyone in the US military (let alone to "countless" others)

> How in the world would you know that?

When pressed, no one has yet been able to name one person who was harmed by Bradley Manning. Can you?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:30 PM on May 7, 2013


To be fair, since most of the harm would be to intelligence assets, not having a name is not evidence of no harm.

I think that the good that he did definitely outweighs any reported harm we've seen, but some stuff just isn't going to be public knowledge for a long time.
posted by klangklangston at 9:34 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can you?

Board President Lisa Williams.
posted by hamandcheese at 9:35 PM on May 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


When pressed, no one has yet been able to name one person who was harmed by Bradley Manning. Can you?

Well, Bradley Manning isn't doing so great right now come to think of it.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:49 PM on May 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


One thing I find kind of irritating to hear is the idea that LGBT politics has sold out because of (or "mainstreamed" by, to put it in polite terms) military gays, which isn't really the correct way to think about it. One of the reasons the LGBT community was able to find consensuses (insofar as they had any) to the left-of-center on military issues is because gays in the military were barred from participating substantially in LGBT activism if they wanted to continue their military career.

I find it fairly unlikely that the LGBT community would be having these "what has become of gay politics!?" handwringing articles if gay soldiers were able to fully participate in LGBT politics from the get-go. At least on non-LGBT military issues, I'd argue that the idea that the gay community ever had leftist political tendencies was more an artifact of DADT and the gay bans prior to that than anything else.
posted by Weebot at 9:50 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wikileaks leaker

German: Wikileakenhosen
posted by stbalbach at 9:51 PM on May 7, 2013


Choosing Bradley Manning as the first serving grand marshal since the repeal of DADT certainly does send a message to all the other gay military personnel, and I don't think that message is very appreciative of their vocation.
posted by Authorized User at 10:05 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


So marriage is the Big Thing, and somehow that means we have to let the military bully everyone else? I thought anti-bullying was the thing now. Oh, that's right. Gay exceptionalism.
posted by Goofyy at 10:09 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Choosing Bradley Manning as the first serving grand marshal since the repeal of DADT certainly does send a message to all the other gay military personnel, and I don't think that message is very appreciative of their vocation.

Seriously? A. Supporting someone who exposed illegal actions committed by agents of the US government isn't any kind of statement on gay people who serve in the military, except in the sense that his continuing imprisonment is a stain on the military and the entirety of the US government. It's a statement about that person's actions. B. We don't actually have to be deferential to the military. The vast majority of the United States military has spent the last decade willingly participating in the illegal invasion and occupation of another nation, and that's not exactly an aberration in our military's history. The cult that's been built up around the military is ridiculous. I have friends who serve and have served, but they're just people. Signing a contract with the Marines doesn't put you on some higher plane.
posted by protocoach at 10:27 PM on May 7, 2013 [13 favorites]


Choosing Bradley Manning as the first serving grand marshal since the repeal of DADT certainly does send a message to all the other gay military personnel, and I don't think that message is very appreciative of their vocation.

Snitches get stitches.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:39 PM on May 7, 2013


Dick Cheney is still available for special events. I'm sure an argument can be made that he caused less harm than Bradley Manning, and he didn't kill anyone. Directly. Like with his hands.That we know of.
posted by benzenedream at 10:46 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


As far as I know only one of them actually shot someone in the face.
posted by Justinian at 10:48 PM on May 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


"I find it fairly unlikely that the LGBT community would be having these "what has become of gay politics!?" handwringing articles if gay soldiers were able to fully participate in LGBT politics from the get-go. At least on non-LGBT military issues, I'd argue that the idea that the gay community ever had leftist political tendencies was more an artifact of DADT and the gay bans prior to that than anything else."

That ignores a pretty huge chunk of LGBT political history.

Brief (broad strokes) summary:

—The homophiles that preceded modern gay rights were much more assimilationist; the first gay march was to include gays in the military. But homophobia and red baiting went together like chocolate and peanut butter if both were made out of poop.
—Where the homophiles laid important groundwork, the '60s liberation milieu shaped the next generation of activists; they were openly radical and had little use for the military. That's the core of the Pride tradition — it's based on remembering the Christopher Street parade that happened after Stonewall riots. Prides have an explicitly radical history.
—That radicalization allowed an explicit power bloc to form; that bloc was further radicalized by the AIDS crisis. One of the really important parts of this is it's during the AIDS crisis that "LGBT" really develops — prior to AIDS, gay men held most of the levers of power within the movement, excluding lesbians, and it was lesbians taking over institutions that opened them up; prior to that merger, many lesbian organizations were explicitly radical feminist (e.g. political lesbianism).

So, no, gay soldiers wouldn't have really shifted the center back to the right in the LGBT movement; if LGBT soldiers were able to serve openly, you would have seen more lefties in the army.

Obviously, that's a sloppy, quick summary and some folks here will probably correct me about the parts I got wrong, but it's worth recognizing that LGBT rights come from radical agitation tempered with democratic institutional power. Trading that for consumer power is something that a lot of LGBT folks want (class affinity over GSM affinity), but it's something that a lot of people want generally, so it's not like that's unique to LGBT folks.
posted by klangklangston at 11:02 PM on May 7, 2013 [19 favorites]


Lisa Williams completely overstepped with her misleading and obnoxious statement, and if she doesn't at least acknowledge that and apologize for her ridiculously haughty and imperious pronouncement, she's going to continue to do damage to the gay community.

She needs to step down. Failing that, she needs to admit she made a serious mistake.
posted by mediareport at 11:09 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess we now have proper equality in America, where a LBGT group (and/or its leadership) has as much right to be stupid, reactionary, and power-appeasing as any country club in the land. Congrats, Gays!
posted by C.A.S. at 12:02 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seriously?

Yes. And you don't really seem to disagree.

A. Supporting someone who exposed illegal actions committed by agents of the US government isn't any kind of statement on gay people who serve in the military, except in the sense that his continuing imprisonment is a stain on the military and the entirety of the US government. It's a statement about that person's actions. B. We don't actually have to be deferential to the military. The vast majority of the United States military has spent the last decade willingly participating in the illegal invasion and occupation of another nation, and that's not exactly an aberration in our military's history. The cult that's been built up around the military is ridiculous. I have friends who serve and have served, but they're just people. Signing a contract with the Marines doesn't put you on some higher plane.

Yes, that is exactly the kind of message it is sending: Your vocation is unworthy and the best kind of gay soldier is the one who decided that politics trump duty. The fact that you and me think that this is a worthy message to send does not mean that these LBGT who have chosen to serve in the military are going to feel good about it or feel supported in being proud of their sexuality.
posted by Authorized User at 12:54 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Your vocation is unworthy and the best kind of gay soldier is the one who decided that politics trump duty.

The best kind of soldier is the kind of soldier who lets ethics trump duty.
posted by Zarkonnen at 2:29 AM on May 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Hmm, that was meant to be conscience rather than ethics. But yeah. Doing your duty isn't inherently good. Being a soldier is not inherently ennobling. Who you serve and to what purpose matters.
posted by Zarkonnen at 2:44 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Indeed.
posted by Authorized User at 3:02 AM on May 8, 2013


klangklangston: I'm not sure how those contradict my basic point--that a lot of the tenor of the LGBT's community's rhetoric vis-a-vis military issues is influenced by the fact that the LGBT constituency within the military was unable to organize and participate fully in the LGBT political coalition until fairly recently.

Admittedly, me saying that the anti-war, anti-military politics was mostly an artifact of this is a maybe a bit too far to take my speculation; The counterfactual where gays in the military organized and participated in the LGBT rights movement earlier will remain only a counterfactual. But I don't see how earlier open military service for LGBT members would only mean that the military had more lefties and that it wouldn't have an effect on the internal dynamics or the issue positioning of the LGBT movement. If open service is changing how the LGBT coalition is working now, how can you say that it wouldn't have mattered then?
posted by Weebot at 3:15 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yep, so what matters is not duty but whether he did the right or the wrong thing. You can't resolve that by appealing to duty or service or an entitlement to unconditional support.
posted by Zarkonnen at 3:15 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thing is, I'm hard pressed to believe that open service is entirely what's causing the change in position here. Seems much more likely it was corporate sponsors who threatened to withdraw funding because Manning is persona non grata, not because Change.org had a petition with 480 signatures.

Also, I really don't understand how this is a slap in the face to gay service people. You can honor someone who exposed police corruption without insulting all police or thinking the police profession worthless. I know many who are vocally anti-war and anti-military who still respect the hell out of veterans. The idea that we can't apparently recognize the good in Manning's actions and the ensuing effect it has had in empowering movements around the world without "disrespecting" gay people in the military seems like an indication of exactly the kind of blind reverence for an authoritarian government institution that the previously radicalized movement would buck against.
posted by Phire at 3:32 AM on May 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


I mean, the man was thrown in solitary and tortured by his own government, for Christ's sake, and all they can do is call him a traitor and a shame? What about the shame of the complete breakdown of any sense of justice in the military?

And as Greenwald laid out, Manning is a no-go but the corporation giving a massive media platform to notorious homophobes Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity is welcomed with open arms as a sponsor? How is this about anything other than money?
posted by Phire at 3:41 AM on May 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Your vocation is unworthy and the best kind of gay soldier is the one who decided that politics trump duty.

Wait, what? Isn't Manning the example of the soldier who decided his duty should trump politics?
posted by pompomtom at 4:10 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Specifically, what these events have revealed is a system whereby a less-than-handful of people may decide who represents the LGBT community's highest aspirations as grand marshals for SF Pride. This is a systemic failure that now has become apparent and will be rectified. In point of fact, less than 15 people actually cast votes for Bradley Manning. These 15 people are part of what is called the SF Pride Electoral College, comprised of former SF Pride Grand Marshals. However, as an organization with a responsibility to serve the broader community, SF Pride repudiates this vote. The Board of Directors for SF Pride never voted to support this nomination.

Soooo... To protect the process that was "violated" by a small group of people, that group's decision was overturned by another small group of people? Is this democracy working?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:13 AM on May 8, 2013


The Grand Marshall of the parade isn't supposed to be a person who divides the community.
You know, come to think about it... people like Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony would've made terrible Grand Marshals. Because of, you know, all that community division stuff.
posted by Blue_Villain at 4:30 AM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not to derail, but Manning was arrested in 2010. I don't understand what prompted his nomination three years later. Nothing in the articles I've read touches upon this. I'm not an American and I don't live in the US, so I may be missing something here.
posted by moody cow at 4:39 AM on May 8, 2013


You know, come to think about it... people like Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony would've made terrible Grand Marshals. Because of, you know, all that community division stuff.

At least what they did was in service to the community efforts.

I mean, think what you like about Manning's actions, but it's hard to see how - aside from his being LBGT while doing them - that they have very much to do with advancing the cause of gay rights.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:32 AM on May 8, 2013


Zarkonnen: "Yep, so what matters is not duty but whether he did the right or the wrong thing."

Whether or not Manning did the right thing is almost irrelevant, given the way that he's been treated. His case touches on all of the absolute worst parts of our legal system.

We're well past the point where you can strongly disagree with what Manning did, and still be outraged about the way that he's been treated.
posted by schmod at 5:46 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Back to basics: what is this nebulous "gay politics"? If we take a 5% estimate for GLBTQ citizens (certainly low-end), then there are 15 million in the US.

What politics will any group of 15 million people share in common? In this case, the only conceivable common "gay politics" for such a large group is around equal rights, protection from discrimination and hate crimes - that which arises from being an oppressed minority - and nothing more.

Which voices should be ignored, then, when decisions have to be made about which actions will hurt or help that entire group? Which voices are "more gay" than the rest?

Dumb things have been said, but some pity for people who have to shoulder such difficult questions in such finicky, contentious, PC times seems in order.
posted by Twang at 6:41 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I really don't understand how this is a slap in the face to gay service people.

Think about it. The optics are terrible. If the gay community rallies around a gay soldier who happens to be a frigging traitor (regardless of whether or not you agree with what he did, that's what he is), then it's a perfect opportunity for the gays-shouldn't-serve crowd to start painting the Gays=Traitors banners and saying I told you so to anyone who'll listen.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:16 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Me: Straight. Ex-miltary. Pro-gay rights (or more accurately, equal protection under the law advocate. I want everyone to be treated equally, but recognize we have a long way to go.).

I think Manning's treatment has been despicable and downright un-American.

When I first started reading this I was hoping the LGBT community was taking a stand against injustice. I had no idea Manning was anything other than straight, so at first I was a bit confused, but thought it showed bravery and moxie on the part of the Pride organizers. It's sad to me that rather than shining a spotlight on Manning's incarceration Pride is going to take the money and run.

The beauty of this whole controversy though is that it is actually giving Manning more attention and perhaps even sympathy than being a grand marshal ever would.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:34 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony would've made terrible Grand Marshals

Rosa Parks would not have been a controversial choice for parade marshall at a NAACP organized parade.
posted by humanfont at 7:55 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I'm not sure how those contradict my basic point--that a lot of the tenor of the LGBT's community's rhetoric vis-a-vis military issues is influenced by the fact that the LGBT constituency within the military was unable to organize and participate fully in the LGBT political coalition until fairly recently."

Because that's not really the reason why the LGBT movement has radical affinities. Two quick things worth considering: That blacks were able to serve openly in the military did not reduce the generally economic left view of African Americans, nor especially pull them to the center. LGBT movement politics comes out of liberation politics, as does a lot of black radicalism.

Second, Harvey Milk was a former Navy officer. There's no evidence that being in the military moved him to the right.

Admittedly, me saying that the anti-war, anti-military politics was mostly an artifact of this is a maybe a bit too far to take my speculation; The counterfactual where gays in the military organized and participated in the LGBT rights movement earlier will remain only a counterfactual. But I don't see how earlier open military service for LGBT members would only mean that the military had more lefties and that it wouldn't have an effect on the internal dynamics or the issue positioning of the LGBT movement. If open service is changing how the LGBT coalition is working now, how can you say that it wouldn't have mattered then?"

Because we're in the middle of an assimilationist wave that started at least a decade before open military service began? The work towards marriage — which is pretty much a de facto assimilationist stance, especially compared to radical queer work — began in California in earnest in 1998. The center of gravity isn't with gays in the military, and wouldn't be even if they could have served openly — it's in the civilian civil rights organizing. The open service and drift toward centrism are because of the assimilationist character of the movement right now, and the increased influence of money in politics. The social milieu of the '60s and '70s in activism was in radical identity politics, of which LGBT politics are a subset. The only way to think that open service is the important factor in the centrist drift of LGBT politics is to imagine that LGBT politics began in 2010.

(I'll note that I'm using "radical," "assimilationist," "queer," etc. as descriptive terms, not normative ones.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:22 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I mean, think what you like about Manning's actions, but it's hard to see how - aside from his being LBGT while doing them - that they have very much to do with advancing the cause of gay rights."

He advanced gay rights by advancing human rights. I'm sure that gay Egyptians are just as glad as straight ones that Mubarak is gone, and gay Iraqis didn't like being murdered from helicopters any more than straight ones did.
posted by klangklangston at 10:24 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I'm not sure how those contradict my basic point--that a lot of the tenor of the LGBT's community's rhetoric vis-a-vis military issues is influenced by the fact that the LGBT constituency within the military was unable to organize and participate fully in the LGBT political coalition until fairly recently."

Because that's not really the reason why the LGBT movement has radical affinities. Two quick things worth considering: That blacks were able to serve openly in the military did not reduce the generally economic left view of African Americans, nor especially pull them to the center. LGBT movement politics comes out of liberation politics, as does a lot of black radicalism.


The military of the 1950s was much different from the military of the 2010s -- as would be any largely-draft force from an all-volunteer one. Even since the '90s, the military has swung hard to the right (during the confusion after the 2000 presidential election, the idea of a military coup was hilarious; but in the last year, I've seen bumper stickers and posters openly calling for secession on military bases).

LGBT veterans are getting louder in both the LGBT community and the military community, and I suspect it's going to pull both toward the center.
posted by Etrigan at 10:45 AM on May 8, 2013


Iraq War veteran on Manning, the media and the military: A former Army Specialist in Baghdad explains why the Wikileaks source deserves our country's respect
posted by homunculus at 11:26 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Related:

A time comes when silence is betrayal. And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam...

...Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: "Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?" "Why are you joining the voices of dissent?" "Peace and civil rights don't mix," they say. "Aren't you hurting the cause of your people," they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live...

...As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath --
America will be!

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:22 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


But don't let schlumps like MLK get in the way of blind subservience to the military industrial state. Notice that the default assumption is that Manning is a traitor, and not the people who were actually, you know, doing the betraying. It's a pretty sick worldview and the mark of a propagandized mind.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:25 PM on May 8, 2013


Yeah, my (generally unpopular) opinion is that he should be prosecuted for unauthorized distribution of state secrets, but that it should basically be a dishonorable discharge and time served. I don't think that he made unassailable choices, but he's not a traitor and certainly doesn't deserve to have a death penalty hanging over him.
posted by klangklangston at 1:05 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Notice that the default assumption is that Manning is a traitor, and not the people who were actually, you know, doing the betraying. It's a pretty sick worldview and the mark of a propagandized mind.

The "lighter treasons" are still treason, no?

Admitting that basic fact doesn't begin to suggest that there's not an overlap between treason and bravery.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:30 PM on May 8, 2013


The "lighter treasons" are still treason, no?

Treasons against whom? It all depends on where your loyalties lie.

Yeah, my (generally unpopular) opinion is that he should be prosecuted for unauthorized distribution of state secrets, but that it should basically be a dishonorable discharge and time served. I don't think that he made unassailable choices, but he's not a traitor and certainly doesn't deserve to have a death penalty hanging over him.

Sorry if I wasn't clear. Your position seems logical enough...i.e. institutional integrity mitigated by a realist/consequentialist ethic. It's the base assumptions of treason and subservience to a certain establishment conception of "the military" which bothers me.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:41 PM on May 8, 2013


The "lighter treasons" are still treason, no?

Not to belabor what seems like a point of minutiae but is actually an important detail: To what State did Manning pledge fealty? Treason usually involves violent acts towards one's country in service of another, particularly during a time of war. As much as its participants are portrayed as evil by American media, WikiLeaks isn't a country, it's an organization of journalists (or people who do equivalent work). And Congress still has yet to declare war against an actual State in its fight against terrorists, much less shown that Manning has pledged obedience to any aggressor State.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:47 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Manning has not been officially charged with treason. The judge and jury will determine if his actions constituted providing aid and comfort to the enemy. Prosecutors have indicated that they will not pursue a death penalty verdict.

Prosecutors have indicated that they will present physical evidence and witnesses who will show that the information Manning provided was found in possession of Osama bin Laden and other leaders of Al Qaeda. The prosecutors will the attempt to prove to the jury that this information provided aid and comfort to Al Qaeda. They will argue that Manning understood when he gave the information to Wikileaks that it end up with Al Qaeda leaders.
posted by humanfont at 5:14 PM on May 8, 2013


Aid and comfort is too fucking nebulous (specifically "comfort"). Proving aid means proving that his intelligence actually helped them accomplish something actionable that they wouldn't have been able to do on their own. That hasn't been demonstrated publicly, and by god needs to be part of a public declaration if they're gonna hang any high crimes on him. Fundamentally, it seems untenable to argue that Manning's intention was to aid and comfort OBL, and by ignoring that, too much becomes a possible treason charge.

(Comfort could be OBL's snuggie for all the import that carries.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:15 PM on May 8, 2013


This is the oath Manning took when he enlisted. It's the same oath I once took. A good case can be made that the facts being suppressed in the materials he released were evidence in an ongoing conspiracy of human rights violations. One could argue he was obligated to do what he did. Just following orders has not been allowed as a defense for quite some time. When I was enlisted it was drummed into our heads that we were not to follow illegal orders, nor were we to ever disobey legal ones.

Put in the same situation as he was I would probably have made the same decision (or at least I would like to believe I would have). I would just have been smarter about it (or at least would like to believe I would have been).

His mistake, in my mind, was trusting the wrong people. He should have given the files over to real journalists that would have been willing to both vet the material and to go to jail to keep a source anonymous. Regardless of why he did what he did, or how he did it, his treatment has been cruel, unjust, un-American, shameful, and sadly not unusual.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:21 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


His mistake, in my mind, was trusting the wrong people. He should have given the files over to real journalists that would have been willing to both vet the material and to go to jail to keep a source anonymous.

He should have vetted them -- to at least the tiniest degree -- himself. If it had been just the Collateral Damage video, or even 1,000 cables or files, I could agree with calling him a whistleblower or exposing "an ongoing conspiracy of human rights violations." Leaking a quarter of a million documents, regardless of who he sent them to, wasn't blowing a whistle. It was firing a shotgun blind and hoping that no one happened to be standing in front of you.

His crime -- and it was one -- could have been vast. It wasn't, through no fault of Manning's own. That does not in any way excuse his treatment, which has been far too cruel. He's a victim, but he's not a hero.
posted by Etrigan at 6:32 PM on May 8, 2013


By your own condemnation he wasn't in a position to vet them himself. How could you imagine one person go through that many documents? I would say his imperative once he realized there was some incriminating stuff in there was to get them before the people, since the government had already proved themselves incapable of accountability. Even when these documents were released it took teams of journalists and crowdsourcing to go through them. So how do you propose one man to have done this?

I say all bets were off once his conscience was engaged. Once he had proof that potential war crimes were going without investigation or accountability what would you have him do? Release only what he knew was bad and hope he could keep access to further evidence? I honestly don't get where you are coming from. He was incapable and unqualified to vet them himself.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:07 PM on May 8, 2013


He's a victim, but he's not a hero.

What about all the troops that keep silent and follow orders? Are they heroes by default?

It would seem to me that what Manning did is pretty much the definition of being a hero.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:07 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, he's a hero and deserves a Presidential commendation. It's near impossible to stand up to the military complex, especially when you are part of it, and they control every aspect of your life. Most cower behind brotherhood and loyalty and honor and allow atrocities to go unremarked. Manning refused to do this. He had to know he'd get caught. Yet he did it anyway.

He's a flawed individual. He allowed himself to be manipulated by people who hung him out to dry, and he did some stupid shit, but he put on the uniform and did what be believed was right. That's my definition of hero.

Yours many vary.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:11 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


klangklangston: That blacks were able to serve openly in the military did not reduce the generally economic left view of African Americans, nor especially pull them to the center. LGBT movement politics comes out of liberation politics, as does a lot of black radicalism.

But I'm not talking about the LGBT movement becoming wholesale more centrist, I'm talking specifically about the movement's positioning on military issues specifically. As per your example, African-American have a long history of anti-war ties that came from its radical politics. But if you look at that community now, it's not likely they would mobilize in a same way to an similarly ambiguous, identity politics-charged Manning-type situation. The issue set is just not one their priorities anymore. Now I can only speculate the reasons why they don't have a similar sense of urgency around military issues--a longer time with integration, African-American overrepresentation within the armed services--but whatever the reason may be it shows that having a history of anti-war politics does not ipso facto mean that they would always have them or that there aren't conditions where they would mute them.

Because we're in the middle of an assimilationist wave that started at least a decade before open military service began? The work towards marriage — which is pretty much a de facto assimilationist stance, especially compared to radical queer work — began in California in earnest in 1998. The center of gravity isn't with gays in the military, and wouldn't be even if they could have served openly — it's in the civilian civil rights organizing. The open service and drift toward centrism are because of the assimilationist character of the movement right now, and the increased influence of money in politics. The social milieu of the '60s and '70s in activism was in radical identity politics, of which LGBT politics are a subset. The only way to think that open service is the important factor in the centrist drift of LGBT politics is to imagine that LGBT politics began in 2010.

But, again, I'm only speaking about the LGBT community with regards to its tendencies on military issues, particularly its anti-war sympathies. Certainly I wouldn't say that the fact that the centrist drift on the issue of, say, marriage had much to do with open service. But on issues that deal directly with military, the lack of open service certainly did change the character of the movement on those issues and what positions they held.
posted by Weebot at 7:27 PM on May 8, 2013


By your own condemnation he wasn't in a position to vet them himself. How could you imagine one person go through that many documents? I would say his imperative once he realized there was some incriminating stuff in there was to get them before the people, since the government had already proved themselves incapable of accountability.

If there was some incriminating stuff in there, he should have released the incriminating stuff, not everything he could download. That's what I mean by "vet" -- not just indiscriminately download a quarter of a million documents and pass them out, but actually find things that might be evidence of wrongdoing and release them. You know, like I said:
If it had been just the Collateral Damage video, or even 1,000 cables or files, I could agree with calling him a whistleblower or exposing "an ongoing conspiracy of human rights violations."
he put on the uniform and did what be believed was right. That's my definition of hero.

That covers a lot of very bad ground, you realize. I mean, seriously, do you need me to run down the list of psychopaths and murderers who satisfy those exact criteria?

He's a victim, but he's not a hero.

What about all the troops that keep silent and follow orders? Are they heroes by default?


Yes, that is so obviously what I was saying that I'm offended you feel it necessary to point it out -- that everyone who's not Bradley Manning is clearly a hero, especially the ones who murder a bunch of little kids and then take pictures of themselves pissing on the corpses.

Or maybe there are a lot of people who are just doing their jobs, and some of them could be better at standing up to bullshit orders, but the ones who shoot their COs aren't heroes either.

It would seem to me that what Manning did is pretty much the definition of being a hero.

One of the things he did was brave. Not necessarily heroic level of brave, but brave, yes. And then he pissed that away by doing something way too huge in a desperate attempt to impress someone.

We're just not going to agree on Manning, and I'm okay with that. Reasonable people can disagree with each other. But don't try to put words in my mouth.
posted by Etrigan at 7:33 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


My point is once you find out your employer is corrupt you don't Ned to be the one that goes through the documents proving it. That's not your job. It's also not possible for one person to go through all that stuff to find out what is bad. If he released only what he knew was evidence of wrong doing what do you think would have happened to the rest of the documents?

I do realize that someone doing what they think is correct might not be a good guy. That's fairly obvious. Add that into my definition of hero if you like.

Also, you make it sound like you are quoting one individual (me) above, and I didn't say some of that stuff. I never mentioned keeping "keeping silent and following orders" making one a hero by default.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:40 PM on May 8, 2013


My point is once you find out your employer is corrupt you don't Ned to be the one that goes through the documents proving it.

If you find it out, logically, you have proof. So give that out. And as I have now said three times, he did so in one instance, for which I believe he was at least approaching the right thing ethically. But he grabbed everything he could, stuff that he had a reasonable belief would put people's lives at risk, and cast it out into the ether without doing anywhere near enough checking.

No, you don't need to be the one who goes through the documents if you're whistle-blowing on Big Tobacco, but people won't die if you release the wrong document in that situation. And no, no one died in this situation, but if you don't think that was possible, then we're talking past each other, because we don't even agree on the premises of this debate.

I do realize that someone doing what they think is correct might not be a good guy. That's fairly obvious. Add that into my definition of hero if you like.

I'm sorry, add what in? "Must be a good guy"? That's not a definition. That's not even an after-the-fact justification. That's "My definition of hero is someone that I like." Well, frankly, duh. Let's just drop the whole "definition of hero" thing, because it's ridiculous to pretend that we can come up with a simple list of criteria that one can fulfill. You like Manning; I think he's at best a victim of forces beyond his control who tried to do the right thing, albeit badly.

Also, you make it sound like you are quoting one individual (me) above, and I didn't say some of that stuff. I never mentioned keeping "keeping silent and following orders" making one a hero by default.

I apologize for making it look like I was responding to one person, but not much; I didn't call you out by name, and your comments were consecutive, so I don't think anyone was fooled into thinking that you said anything worse than what you actually said.
posted by Etrigan at 9:04 PM on May 8, 2013


Secret Hearing in Bradley Manning Court Martial a Preview of What is to Come During Trial
posted by homunculus at 9:28 PM on May 8, 2013


And no, no one died in this situation, but if you don't think that was possible, then we're talking past each other, because we don't even agree on the premises of this debate.

Actually quite a few people died, just not the ones you or I are supposed to be worried about. That's kinda whole point. And that is who Manning was giving a voice to; the disappeared who have no voices.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:39 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"But I'm not talking about the LGBT movement becoming wholesale more centrist, I'm talking specifically about the movement's positioning on military issues specifically. As per your example, African-American have a long history of anti-war ties that came from its radical politics. But if you look at that community now, it's not likely they would mobilize in a same way to an similarly ambiguous, identity politics-charged Manning-type situation. The issue set is just not one their priorities anymore. Now I can only speculate the reasons why they don't have a similar sense of urgency around military issues--a longer time with integration, African-American overrepresentation within the armed services--but whatever the reason may be it shows that having a history of anti-war politics does not ipso facto mean that they would always have them or that there aren't conditions where they would mute them."

But being out at all came from the liberationists. That's where the counterfactual stumbles for me — the homophile, assimilationist moment was what the liberationists rebelled against and that was what led to the mass of LGBT people being out. That was a big part of Milk's campaign was that normalizing LGBT identity came from being out. Milk came up through radical practice. Without that liberation and identity movement, being out as LGBT likely would not have become a norm.

And the African American political community would definitely rally if it was a black man who had exposed government secrets as a consequence of his repeated encounters with racism. And further to my point, the integration of the African American community into the armed services hasn't stopped the African American political community from being generally anti-war.

"But, again, I'm only speaking about the LGBT community with regards to its tendencies on military issues, particularly its anti-war sympathies. Certainly I wouldn't say that the fact that the centrist drift on the issue of, say, marriage had much to do with open service. But on issues that deal directly with military, the lack of open service certainly did change the character of the movement on those issues and what positions they held."

The thing is, military service just isn't very central to LGBT constituency. That's exacerbated by the no gays rule/DADT, but the military isn't really the center of any constituency except its own — it's been less and less relevant to overall society since the draft ended (which is more than a little weird, considering that we've fought several wars). Military culture used to shape American culture as a whole a lot more, but the military has been declining as LGBT/identity politics has been ascending. (I'd also argue that people pay lip service to the idea of military culture influencing American culture in a Support The Troops/quasi-fantasy military narrative, but that the idea of spending our way through the Iraq War shows how hollow that practice is.)

So, I think in the realm of military issues, there would likely have been some influence, but I disagree that it would have necessarily pulled current LGBT politics away from an anti-war stance inherently, and think that in relative gravities for LGBT politics, liberation movements would have still had more mass than military culture.

(I should hasten to add that this is just my take; I didn't live through any of this stuff, so I'm likely missing huge chunks.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:53 PM on May 8, 2013


I apologize for making it look like I was responding to one person, but not much; I didn't call you out by name, and your comments were consecutive, so I don't think anyone was fooled into thinking that you said anything worse than what you actually said.

My issue was you should have used names, instead of "you." Seriously, I had to scan up to see where I had said the quoted part. But no apology needed. I just got confused. I was on my phone, so probably my issue.

If you find it out, logically, you have proof. So give that out. And as I have now said three times, he did so in one instance, for which I believe he was at least approaching the right thing ethically. But he grabbed everything he could, stuff that he had a reasonable belief would put people's lives at risk, and cast it out into the ether without doing anywhere near enough checking.

My point is it's not like he had the resources to do a proper investigation. If the authorities find evidence of improper goings-on they don't just take the incriminating files. They take everything and go through them to find out the full story.

I don't think we're having a real argument here. Like I said, I think he should have given the documents over to someone capable of going through them with the discretion to not publish things that would endanger people's lives.

If it weren't for people like Manning it would be up to incompetency to keep people aware. The only way information like that gets out is through leakers or from someone fucking something up. The government is supposed to be made up of the people. How to you expect people to make informed decisions about their leaders if everything is being made secret? And yes, I do understand the need for secrecy, but the default needs to be for openness. The only reason to keep a lot of the stuff in the cables secret was because they were embarrassing!
posted by cjorgensen at 7:49 AM on May 9, 2013


How to you expect people to make informed decisions about their leaders if everything is being made secret? And yes, I do understand the need for secrecy, but the default needs to be for openness.

That is a valid point that should be made. But releasing a quarter of a million cables wasn't the way Manning should have done it. A few hundred, even a thousand of them, that he had gone through to see that they were actually overly-classified, would have got the point across.

The only reason to keep a lot of the stuff in the cables secret was because they were embarrassing!

It's sort of a chicken-and-egg scenario -- a big part of why diplomats were willing to say embarrassing things was that presumption of secrecy. Without it, they would have contained themselves and reported embarrassing details to the Secretary of State or the President in person or over a secure telephone. Taking away the ability of diplomats to tell their bosses embarrassing things (about U.S. or foreign activity) is a blow to diplomacy overall, not just an administration.
posted by Etrigan at 8:31 AM on May 9, 2013


the military isn't really the center of any constituency except its own — it's been less and less relevant to overall society since the draft ended (which is more than a little weird, considering that we've fought several wars). Military culture used to shape American culture as a whole a lot more, but the military has been declining as LGBT/identity politics has been ascending. (I'd also argue that people pay lip service to the idea of military culture influencing American culture in a Support The Troops/quasi-fantasy military narrative, but that the idea of spending our way through the Iraq War shows how hollow that practice is.)

I think that pendulum is swinging heavily the other way at the moment -- the "Support the Troops In Some Vague Ribbon-Related Way" peak was between 2001 and 2006 -- ever since then, the rising number of veterans going back out into society has started to have more of an effect. It can be seen in colleges right now -- the Post-9/11 GI Bill hasn't flooded them to the extent that the original GI Bill did, but they're more of a presence now than they were a decade ago, and significantly more than they were two decades ago. Add that to the Reserve and National Guard deployments around the Surge, and there are a lot more people in a lot more places who actually know someone who has seen the proverbial elephant, rather than just clusters around major bases in the South.

While the absolute number of veterans in Congress has declined over the last several election cycles, new ones are still coming in, on both sides of the aisle, and that number is only going to grow as people who started their service during the Iraq War come of age and have established themselves in their communities enough to be viable candidates. Reps. Duckworth and Gabbard will not be the last female combat veterans in Congress by a long shot.
posted by Etrigan at 8:45 AM on May 9, 2013


And no, no one died in this situation, but if you don't think that was possible, then we're talking past each other, because we don't even agree on the premises of this debate.

Actually quite a few people died, just not the ones you or I are supposed to be worried about. That's kinda whole point. And that is who Manning was giving a voice to; the disappeared who have no voices.


I think I was pretty clear that "in this situation" meant "due to Manning's leak of hundreds of thousands of records"; conflating that with "every bad thing the U.S. has ever done" is a petty stunt.

For the fourth time in this thread, I will point out that I agree that some of the things Manning leaked were legitimately records that should have been exposed to the light of day. But his leaking went far, far beyond those, to records that could well have harmed far more people, because he had no idea what was in them. While he was trying to give a voice to the disappeared, he was throwing potentially thousands of people to the wolves. His motives were not as pure as you want to believe they were, and holding him up as an untarnishable LGBT hero does not serve the LGBT community.
posted by Etrigan at 8:58 AM on May 9, 2013


I think I was pretty clear that "in this situation" meant "due to Manning's leak of hundreds of thousands of records"; conflating that with "every bad thing the U.S. has ever done" is a petty stunt.

That's not what I was doing...speaking of putting words in people's mouths. Sorry if I came off like I was trying to catch you in a "gotcha" moment, that was not my intention. Let me explain why I brought up that point. I am of the opinion that the deaths Manning exposed are central to judging the morality of his actions. You, on the other hand, want to focus on hypothetical deaths as the determining factor. That's fine. I don't think you are a horrible person because of your opinion or anything like that.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:34 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


His motives were not as pure as you want to believe they were, and holding him up as an untarnishable LGBT hero does not serve the LGBT community.

The only think I know about his motives are what he has publicly said about them. Unless you have some other metric for judging his actions, I am going to take him at his word:

In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:51 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am of the opinion that the deaths Manning exposed are central to judging the morality of his actions. You, on the other hand, want to focus on hypothetical deaths as the determining factor.

No, for the fifth time: I agree that the Collateral Murder (which I referred to previously as Collateral Damage, mea culpa) video was a thing that should have been exposed. However, some of the other actions that he took went far beyond "exposing deaths." Yes, I want to focus on hypothetical details as the determining factor of that portion of what Manning leaked, which had little to nothing to do with "exposing deaths," because, as he admits in the statement to which you linked:
Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn't harm the United States.
posted by Etrigan at 10:18 AM on May 9, 2013


The challenge for Manning's supporters is that many Americans accept the idea that war and international affairs are full of subterfuge, immoral behavior, conspiracy, black ops and secrets. These people are not shocked at all the things we do; just angry that those things have been exposed.
posted by humanfont at 10:22 AM on May 9, 2013


which had little to nothing to do with "exposing deaths,"

Instead of asserting what you think this opinion is not, contrary to his personal statement, it would be a little more helpful if you just came out and said what you think his motivation was.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:41 AM on May 9, 2013


Instead of asserting what you think this opinion is not, contrary to his personal statement, it would be a little more helpful if you just came out and said what you think his motivation was.

Again quoting from the statement that you linked:
I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy.... however, I did believe that the cables might be embarrassing, since they represented very honest opinions and statements behind the backs of other nations and organizations.... In many ways these cables are a catalogue of cliques and gossip.
His motivation for releasing the diplomatic cables, by his own admission, was an attempt to set national policy, not to expose any deaths.

And that's just what he says. Aside from his own statements, the picture of him that has emerged is of a person who is deeply troubled and confused about his own identity and his place in the world. The fact that he was essentially cultivated, much like any intelligence source is cultivated, speaks to the idea that his personal issues contributed strongly to his decision to release records and documents that he had not read.
posted by Etrigan at 10:57 AM on May 9, 2013


Death to Whistle-Blowers
posted by cjorgensen at 6:44 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today in History: On May 11, 1973, the espionage trial of Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo in the “Pentagon Papers” case came to an end as Judge William M. Byrne dismissed all charges, citing government misconduct.
posted by homunculus at 12:47 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


San Francisco Pride May Membership Meeting Update (fb link, posted today):

We are seeking a larger venue for the next SF Pride membership meeting, and so are postponing the May 14th meeting until a suitable location is secured. We want to allow people to have a chance to voice their opinions about the recent controversy, but also have a large event coming up, and do not want to let one issue, as important as it is to some, overshadow the concerns and interests of the hundreds of thousands who attend SF Pride.

SF Pride's decision concerning the election process of Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal being consistent with SF Pride's long standing Grand Marshal election policy is firm. Thus, the discussion of that matter is closed for this year.

A meeting in a larger venue after the 2013 Celebration and Parade will allow people from all sides of that issue and others to fully air and hear one another's viewpoints, without jeopardizing the production of this year's event and the safety and security of the attendees. We ask everyone in the community to come together in Pride this June, recognizing that we can embrace difference without violence and hate.

(emphasis mine)
posted by rtha at 7:18 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's the point if expressing a viewpoint if decisions have already been made?
posted by cjorgensen at 12:07 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll say this much: The Pride parade this year is going to be a lot less boring than it usually is! I'm actually kind of looking forward to marching! (I am a Bad Gay and have often skipped the Parade in past years. I mean, it's great to see the GLBTQ contingents from the local high schools and so on, but having to put up with the endless corporate floats gets old right quick.)
posted by rtha at 12:21 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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