VIEWS: 34 PAGES: 2 CATEGORY: Opinions POSTED ON: 1/2/2012
Bradley Manning helped end the war in Iraq by exposing war crimes and the efforts to cover them up. Rather than being praised as a hero, he is being treated as a scapegoat for those who allowed the crimes to be committed in the first place.
Bradley Manning: A True American Hero (Allegedly) Bradley Manning is the truest American Hero of our generation, and yet, for some reason, he is being treated worse than a common criminal. He’s being treated, in fact, like a terrorist. He (allegedly) stood up for the values that American claims it represents - truth, justice and equality for all. He did what a good soldier does; he did not blindly follow orders, but fought against the true enemy – in this case, members of his own government and the military he served. The documents he (allegedly) unveiled showed evidence of war crimes. Most famously, there was the video of American soldiers murdering a number of unarmed and unthreatening civilians (including a reported and his driver), from the safety of a helicopter. There was the incident where American soldiers brutally executed a group of eleven civilians (including five children and four women) in a house; the house was then bombed to destroy the evidence (allegedly). This evidence led directly to Iraq’s refusal to extend immunity from the law for American soldiers, which is the reason that America is withdrawing. Barrack Obama didn’t end the war in Iraq; Bradley Manning (allegedly) did. Maybe he should have been the one who got the Nobel Peace Prize. Included in the documents released were the seeds that germinated into the Arab Spring. Unveiled was the gross opulence and corruption that existed in the Tunisian government, which was tolerated and accepted by American officials, who supported the Tunisian dictatorship. When knowledge of the corruption within the government became clear was when the revolt started. He did not ‘aid the enemy,’ the charge that he is being accused of. Even the American military has admitted that the information he (allegedly) leaked had no effect on national security. All he did was bring out evidence of war crimes, and evidence of corruption and arrogance of American diplomats. The information was embarrassing to officials, not dangerous. Since when was it a crime to unveil a crime? If the system were working properly, the information that was leaked should have been known and acted upon. Perpetrators of war crimes should have been exposed and tried. And yet, Bradley Manning’s punishment is much worse than the culprits he exposed. He has been kept in solitary confinement for 17 months, in conditions being investigated as potentially torturous, and faces the likelihood of life in military prison. And those that he exposed? Nothing. Bradley Manning (allegedly) stood up to the corrupt parts of his government and said, “No, you cannot get away with this. You cannot get away with murder, you cannot get away with corruption, you cannot just cover it up.” Maybe the American military should look to themselves, rather than Bradley Manning in this case. After all, if no war crimes had been committed in Iraq (or if the evidence simply hadn’t been destroyed or ignored), then no evidence of war crimes would have needed to be leaked. This isn’t about leaking documents that he should never have had access to in the first place. This is about scapegoating. If the government and military were to admit that what Bradley Manning (allegedly) did was the right thing, as they surely know it was, then they would have to answer tough questions about what they were doing about fixing the problems that he exposed. They would have to answer questions about why those who murdered innocents during the occupation of Iraq were never brought to justice. They would have to answer why war crimes were ignored and covered up for years. They don’t want to talk about that. It’s much easier to take the actual (alleged) hero of this narrative, a 22-year old boy when he was arrested, call him a traitor and lock him up for the rest of his life. Yes, that’s much easier than actually dealing with the systemic problems that exist in the government and military of American. Much easier by far. Jack Phast lives and writes in Vancouver, Canada. You can read more of his work at http://phasttoughts.blogspot.com or follow him on twitter @jackphast This article can be seen in its original version here
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