The Moral Verdict on Bradley Manning: A Conviction of Love in Action

From Common Dreams:

by Norman Solomon

The sun rose with a moral verdict on Bradley Manning well before the military judge could proclaim his guilt. The human verdict would necessarily clash with the proclamation from the judicial bench.

In lockstep with administrators of the nation’s war services, judgment day arrived on Tuesday to exact official retribution. After unforgiveable actions, the defendant’s culpability weighed heavy.

“Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house,” another defendant, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, wrote about another action that resulted in a federal trial, 45 years earlier, scarcely a dozen miles from the Fort Meade courtroom where Bradley Manning faced prosecution for his own fracture of good order.

“We could not, so help us God, do otherwise,” wrote Berrigan, one of the nine people who, one day in May 1968 while the Vietnam War raged on, removed several hundred files from a U.S. draft board in Catonsville, Maryland, and burned them with napalm in the parking lot. “For we are sick at heart…”

On the surface, many differences protrude between those nine draft-files-burning radical Catholics and Bradley Manning. But I wonder. Ten souls saw cruelties of war and could no longer just watch.

“I prefer a painful truth over any blissful fantasy,” Manning wrote in an online chat. Minutes later he added: “I think I’ve been traumatized too much by reality, to care about consequences of shattering the fantasy.” And he also wrote: “I want people to see the truth … regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

Those words came seven weeks after the world was able to watch the “Collateral Murder” video that Manning had provided to WikiLeaks. And those words came just days before military police arrived to arrest him on May 29, 2010.

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2 Responses to “The Moral Verdict on Bradley Manning: A Conviction of Love in Action”

  1. JinianVictoria Herdina Says:

    Manning……….Everyone seems to forget that Manning swore a series of oaths to keep the information he had access to secure. NO WHERE did it say that he retains the right to release any information he sees fit to release. The individual has proven himself forsworn. He has set himself up as a judge as to what is correct for the government to do or not to do. He sees himself by any standard a higher authority than the government. Wether or not what he did was acceptable or not is not in my purview to say. There is an awful lot that is done by individuals or agencies or societies that is morally and ethically unacceptable but that does not mean we have the right to go and trumpet out what we see as the wrong and set ourselves up as the Supreme judge and arbiter of your fellow human actions and reactions s he last time I looked none of us are authorized to decide for the whole. Certainly we can present the evidence that it is wrong but that is all. Manning knew or should have known that any and all information he released would have finished up in Al Queda hands…..this information was stipulated by his own defense lawyers that is highly suggestive that Manning is and was acting out of malice before and after the fact. Did he honestly think that his questionable actions would not finish up in the hands of people who should not have the knowledge he was releasing? No, Manning is and always will be at the very least…what Joe Stalin called American Communists in the 1950s…a useful idiot. Manning committed espionage, knew he was committing it, violated several oaths in the doing, endangered others in the doing in ways we have yet to discover. Manning deserves everything the judge gives him without parole. Higher morality calling? assuredly but when you claim a higher morality then you should be willing to accept the consequences of whatever you did or said up to and including death…I refer you to Socrates who was ordered to committ suicide and did so. If you choose to judge then you too are subject to being judged. Manning does not rise to the level of a Socrates he is nothing more than a little man who got and acted on ideas far greater than he could imagine with results far graver than he thought about. And in the pursuit of honesty I will say I am a 26 year veteran of the USAF and the USMC. I have had several high level security classicications and have fought in 2 wars.

    • Suzan Says:

      My aren’t you just the good German?

      The Universal Soldier.

      I see Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden as much more honorable than you. There is a far greater duty to humanity than to stand silent while soldiers commit murder and atrocities. That greater duty is to report them which is exactly what Bradley Manning did.

      We live in an outlaw nation, a nation that regularly commits crimes against humanity. It is disgraceful to accept the banality of evil rather than expose it.

      You would have people put aside their morality and join those who commit genocide.

      You have twenty-six years in the military. I have fifty years in the anti-war movement. I also think socialism to be better than the corporate fascism we live under.

      I consider Obama’s authorization of death by drones to be a war crime.

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