Skip to main content

View Diary: CNN Losing Bradley Manning Story: Manning Was Reporting a War Crime, "The Van Thing" (286 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  The last comment is a bit excession. That way lies (5+ / 0-)

    a Preatorian guard.  

    BUT, your other pts are well-taken.  The lack a draft for over 40 years means many simply do not understand how any of this works, the discipline required OTOH and the real actual prosecutions of military personel for crimes on duty, including in war zones against foriegn nationals (and even combatants).  The US military takes them seriously bc 1) it offends everything they know of honor, which most actually believe in, 2) they really do try and follow the law (but legal technicalities - often caused by respect for rights of all parties in the investigation/litigation -sometimes make things very murky), and 3) how your soldiers are treated often depends on how you treat theirs (tho this may break down when dealing with non-state combatants).

    OTOoH, r/c has a pt about the lack of accountability for General level officers.  The problem there is, among other things, 1) its very difficult to establish direct complicity and thus responsibility, and 2) much of the actual accountability takes the form of denail of promotion or loss of grade and forced retirement (ala West).  Given the 'law and order' propaganda since Gates militarize policing in the 60s, i understand how that might seem more a cover-up than a punishment.

    OTOooH ( :) ), diaresty has pt re: war crime incident.  BUT, that was a tiny fraction of classified material Manning allegedly took/passed.

    However, I find much about the handling of Manning pre-trial to be objectionable, starting with his continued incarceration when a civilian would likely have been on bail.

    •  Rephrased (0+ / 0-)

      I should have said "leave military LAW to the military legal experts."

      I would agree, in general, that holding General Officers accountable is an area that can be improved.  That said, I know of four current investigations and two recently decided ones.  Given the small size of the population, that a lot.  All were for some form of misconduct.

      What we have been less good at is holding them accountable being bad generals.  LTG Sanchez was promoted three times past his peter principle and would have been promoted again had Abu Ghraib not come to light.  General Franks left town one step ahead of the mob and then got a medal from the President.  I cant speak for the other services but from listening to my Air Force peers incompetence is required for promotion past one star.  

      I agree with you that much of PFC Mannings pre-trial has been mishandled.  Why he was ever in a Marine facility in the DC area  I will never understand.  In fact, I would have tried him in Afghanistan or baring that sent him to Ft Riley - in the middle of no where with as little media attention as possible.  Believe it or not, it would lead to a more fair trial.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 03:54:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Better. (0+ / 0-)

        And certainly will not argue with the PeterPrinciple stupidity of promotions.  But then above 1 star seems to be all about politics and who you know, and the Pentagon has always seemed to care more about itself and the MIC than the soldier in that.  Franks for example certainly seemed to be promoted bc he was good at kissing neo-con butt.  It may just be inherent in any huge institution with such a central role in so many Washington pies... ::shrug::

        I would have been more bothered by trying Manning in theater on any of the more serious charges he now faces (which I think are egregiously excessive in many cases, and farcial in some - i.e., aiding and abbetting the enemy?  Do they srlsy think he intended to hurt this country?) Frankly, the whole thing seems much overblown to me: he violated some laws re: classiified documents, and that's were the charges should have stopped - and frankly seems to be were the prosecution is headed, with a relatively short sentence, perhaps even time served.  That does not seem unreasonable, given his idealistic motives - and some of the truly nasty stuff he brought to light.

        Having so escalated the stakes, I think the media access and resultant circus was essential to ensure he didn;t simply disappear down a hole as the proverbial 'bad apple'.  But that's just my 2 cents.

        Query: Do you think 23 hours lockdown in a very small, windowless (if irrc) cell was truly justified?  A civilian similarly situated was bailed with 'house arrest' cpnditions.  Surely a 'barracks arrest' would have been sufficient.

        •  10-15 years (0+ / 0-)

          I think Manning will get 10-15 minus time served.  If he is a model prisoner he will do 1/3 of that meaning on a 15 year he would do 5 minus time served.  Thats about right.  That said he has not demonstrated the ability to be a model prisoner.  His lockdown is entirely of his own doing.  He seems to lack the self preservation skills to keep himself out of trouble.  If I were a betting man I would guess that what ever sentence he is given he will serve that plus more for "lost time." Under the military system you can have time added for being a jerk.  I will bet that he uses up all his time served and then some before he gets the message.

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 08:50:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hope your wrong. That's far too harsh imo, given (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eikyu Saha

            the devestating effect of a dishonorable and felony convictions.  Little of what he released should have been classified and/or truly harmed real US interests.

            Many of the Gitmo defendant's who were active combatants and real supporters of our enemies (as opposed to the poor saps BushCo caught and kept in their ridiculously overlarge net) got less than 5 years, many considerably less.  Manning should not get more than that imo.

            Though I am not, of course, a member of his jury and so not privy to the actual evidence that will be admitted.  Perhaps it will justify more.  But, I haven't seen it.

            I do agree he has 'tweaked the nose' of authority, but then I expected no less from a computer nerd.  And frankly, I think that's pretty much the duty of any American. I understand the initial reactions of prison authorities to those things I'm aware of (the joke-underwear thing for example) but think they were far too harsh for far too long.  Often it appears they were punative and primarily serving interests of authority at the expense of need, justice and reasonableness.  Tho that is not unusual for the civilian prison system either.  (Remember the student 'guard-prisioner' academic experiments?)

            •  Its a tough case (0+ / 0-)

              Depending on how he is charged, he might be able to upgrade his discharge at a later date though community service.  If he is charged with disobeying a lawful order he would be eligible for upgrade as that is a military specific crime.  If I were his lawyer I would offer to plea to ten bazillion counts of disobeying and 15 years.  That way he has the chance of doing only 3-5 years and eventual upgrade and no felony.  If I were the government I would want one felony charge to deny him those things.  We will learn who was the better deal maker when he is sentenced.

              Gitmo is a false equivalence.  Funny thing is that the folks around President Bush were so clueless about the military they automatically assumed military tribunals were kangaroo courts.  Instead they got real soldiers who saw a lot of guys doing what they themselves would do if their country were invaded.  The sentences - which are usually the equivalent to time served - are a reflection of military professionals opinion of Gitmo.

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 01:40:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have a feeling we're actually close but coming a (0+ / 0-)

                t it from different sides.  I'd rather the certinty of a lighter sentence, versus the chance of early release and 'upgrading' later (which you seemed to say in prior post was not likely given what you feel is Manning's personality and likely behavior in custody).  

                And I feel that, based on info presently public that I've read/heard, that is the most likely the proper sentence, morally.

                As for 'equivalency'... your pt supports mine: military juries gave many defendant's sentences commensurate with what they expected soldiers to do in war, recognizing many of the defendant were just as much soldiers as they.  So too Manning: who claims to have been serving the 'higher law' recognized since at least Nuremberg, that 'following orders' is not a defense for military personnel to apparent war crimes.  And this includes failure to disclose war crimes.  Manning and his supporters claim following procedure would have been tantamount to a cover-up.  There is strong evidence that something like that occurred re: Abu Grab, at least in allowing some bigger fish to escape and delaying justice for those caught.  Indeed, that was the entire reason BushCo wanted the photos suppressed - bc their release made a cover up impossible (tho not the slow walk they then engaged in).  It could thus be argued that Abu Grab supports Manning's claims.  The only issue then becomes was the scope of the violation (going beyond eg the helo/van video) justifiable.  And to that must be added the (not irrational) claim that Manning's acts shortened the wars by helping turn public opinion against them, thus lending them further moral legitimacy.

                I am not saying that is a defense to all the charges (tho imo is to some), but it is surely mitigating and thus should imo reduce the sentence.  That imo strikes a proper balance bt military necessity and moral demands.

                Your mileage may vary.

            •  Manning should be released until (0+ / 0-)

              those whose crimes he reported have all been fully tried.  At that point, Manning can be tried.  

              If it turns out that the "crimes" he revealed were indeed criminal, and if it turns out that those crimes would otherwise have gone unaddressed, then he needs to be fully exonerated.  Why?  Because failure to report a crime is itself a crime; and reporting a crime to a "hierarchy" that fails to address the crime is the same as a cover-up.  

              The evidence that crimes were committed is, in my opinion, very strong.  If they weren't then I would like to see a full explanation.  And if the revelations happened to cause collateral damage, then tough.  Manning goes free.  

              •  If he were released (0+ / 0-)

                he would be dead in a week.  Remember he is still in the Army and would have to go to a regular unit.  That is a death sentence.

                As I have said before, he had methods of reporting suspected crimes without compromising security and placing himself in jeopardy.  Think about how we learned of Abu Ghraib.  That soldier was widely praised because he did it the right way.

                Really, he is not well and is probably in the best place possible for now.  

                It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

                by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:32:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  There is nothing honorable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eikyu Saha

      in trying to set up a prisoner to commit "suicide."  It's a crime, pure and simple.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 09:27:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  your opinion (0+ / 0-)

        and not one universally held.  For some, suicide is a release and a gift.  Others see it as a basic right of all people.  In three states its legal for doctors to assist in termination of life.

        Again, you need to do your research or you will continue to look silly.

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 01:43:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site