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