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

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  •  Hmmm... (3+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't doubt that BM technically violated laws, but I will say that many people have lost so much faith in the institutions that promulgate such laws that the chasm between what's morally correct and what's legal has widened to the point that the latter often has no probative bearing on the former.  It's difficult to garner sympathy for the departments engaged in wrongdoing that intend to make an example out of this young man to avenge and prevent future revelations of malfeasance, even in the case where that malfeasance is not a "war crime" (an egregious example being the Western contractors partaking in sex acts with young Afghan boys dressed as girls).  Further, the U.S. upper class has made enough of a mockery out of the Rule of Law (ie robosigning, flagrant violations of international law, lobbying/bribery) that imploring the rest of us to suddenly take it seriously again is a tough sell.  Finally, there is the unshakable impression that the occupations in the mid-East have more to do with advancing U.S. commercial interests  than keeping U.S. civilians "safe."  It would be easier to tolerate some misbehavior in the service of advancing a greater good if we really believed a greater good was being served.  But that charade ended years ago.  It seems there are not even any attempts to convince us anymore that there's a righteous basis for military presence in that region; it is enough that the war(s) be out of sight/out of mind.  Taken altogether, these circumstances lead to a more sympathetic disposition towards BM, a troubled man who overreacted in what appears to have been a crisis of conscience.      

    •  Hindsight is 20/20 (0+ / 0-)

      It's easy to suggest that, "Taken altogether, these circumstances lead to a more sympathetic disposition towards BM, a troubled man who overreacted in what appears to have been a crisis of conscience."

      But no thoughts about what might have been had Bradley Manning dumped information about troop movements, or covert operatives, or nuclear weapons codes?

      If you saw a crime being committed or video of a crime, would your first reaction be to run to the media?  And then run to the media not just with the evidence of a crime, but an entire library of military internal affairs records.

      This was far more than an overreaction by BM.  Bradley Manning showed a complete disregard not only to his fellow soldiers, but anyone whose name might have appeared in his document dump.  Further, anyone who ever came in contact with any of the people whose names were in those documents may have also been put in danger.

      Folks seem to be giving Bradley Manning a bit too much credit for knowing what was or was not inside those documents.  If you believe that any 'Tom, Dick, or Jane' in the military should run to the media with all the information they can carry if they ever suspect a crime is being committed or covered-up, then keeping State Secrets would be impossible.

      Do folks really believe there should be no State Secrets?

      •  I wouldn't have done the same thing in his (0+ / 0-)

        position.  I don't endorse the action.  I was answering your question as to why some might find what he did to be less troublesome on a moral level.  

        Suppose something leaked led to the death of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.  Who would be to blame?  Options include BM, Julian Assange, the newspapers publishing leaks, the person(s) who physically murdered the soldier, the tactician behind the assault, or perhaps the regime responsible for the war in the first place without which the soldier would be stateside, the commanding officers who negligently entrusted BM with access, and so forth.  Life doesn't readily supply an easy answer, as there would be much culpability in that chain of causation.  

        As I mentioned earlier, there may have been more outrage if we had a strong sense that we lived in a country with unified national interests and that U.S. foreign policy existed to promote them equally.  Unfortunately, the profits generated by these wars of choice aren't exactly trickling down to Main Street.  So why would any of us lose sleep over an exposure of wrongdoing by a department that seems by all empirical accounts to be pretty nefarious and adverse to our interests in the first place?  

        That said, I agree with the view that BM should be punished primarily to deter repeats.  But it's not something that fills me with righteous anger or the kind of bloodlust I see in authoritarian types looking for cartoon-simple answers to complicated questions.  Best to you, -B

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