Update 9/19/12: How Bradley’s story might look under a Republican presidency, contextualizing whistle-blowing
Yesterday’s issue of The Boston Phoenix contained an editorial in support of Bradley Manning, titled “Bradley Manning’s sacrifice.” The editors compare him to other heroic whistle-blowers, like Daniel Ellsberg, while lamenting that as a young, working-class soldier, Bradley didn’t have as large a support network from the get-go. The article also points to the role that America’s two-party political system and messy elections process is playing in the progression of Bradley’s fate:
If a Republican were in the White House, at least some members of the Democratic establishment would express vague sympathy for Manning, condemning, no doubt, the leaks during wartime, but spotlighting the importance of his revelations. The activist base and what’s left of the gutsy media would embrace Manning.
But with a tight election against the loathsome Mitt Romney and the right-wing Congressional Republican radicals in motion, discretion tempered with passive hypocrisy commands the order of the day. Read more.
It takes a creative citizen, no doubt, to think outside the two-party box. However, as we explained in a previous update, support for Bradley should be a bipartisan issue. No matter who sits in the White House, supporting whistle-blowers is key to creating an accountable government, and one that may realize the ideals set forth by America’s Founders.
Students at the University of Florida have published an article providing a detailed overview of Bradley Manning’s importance as a whistle-blower. They include links to statements by public officials about the case, as well as some of WikiLeaks’ more significant revelations:
Among the many revelations found in the quarter-million highly classified documents is evidence of US meddling in the internal affairs of foreign democracies such as Haiti and India, the use of American diplomats as spokespeople and spies for corporations such as Monsanto and Boeing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on American diplomats to spy on their UN counterparts, and the US military covering up the deaths of two reuters journalists shot by an American gunship.
Read the rest of their well-reached article here.
Military suicides are at all-time high, according to the Associated Press and The Florida Times. (Source.) According to military officials, they have been rising continually since the 2003, the year the U.S. invaded Iraq. Now on average another soldier takes their own life each day, eclipsing deaths from enemy fire abroad. We’d suggest a few ways in which this tragedy relates to the case of Bradley Manning.
A) Media has at times cited evidence that Bradley Manning suffered from depression while deployed as possible motivation for his alleged whistle-blowing. Based on evidence, however, it wasn’t his emotional state that set him apart from other troops, but instead his stated ideals and convictions.
B) While most official military statements on the issue of suicide convey a sense of confusion, it may be linked to the confirmed fact that since 2006 most soldiers have disagreed with the military’s major decision to stay in Iraq. Many of those enlisted originally agreed with U.S. leaders who said the war was necessary, but changed their mind when they saw the reality on the ground. The reality was life-changing for most troops, and Bradley Manning sought to convey this reality to U.S. citizens who had not yet had to see it themselves.
The news about the high rate of military suicides is tragic, and we hope that when people act to support the troops, it will include insisting on more responsible, transparent foreign policy.