An Open Letter to Bradley Manning
In a few days, when your show trial ends, you’ll be sent away to a military prison, where you’ll probably spend the rest of your life.
Your captors (us, the United States of America) will figure out some reasonable-sounding excuse to keep you in solitary confinement – for his own protection! – and whatever dignity and hope you may once have harbored will be deliberately crushed until it completely disappears. When that happens, many patriots will feel that justice will’ve been served, that an evil man, a traitor, got what was coming to him. You fucked with the wrong republic, Manning. And now you pay.
Stunning as it is to anyone who looks at the state of the world through a progressive paradigm, many millions of your fellow citizens agree wholeheartedly with Colonel Denise Lind, the presiding judge in your show trial. She confirmed her role as the government’s bitch this week when she let stand the absurd and odious charge of “aiding the enemy,” which, by Lind’s logic, would make any military officer who posts anything to the Internet a potential aider of the enemy. The chief condition being the American War Industry’s intense dislike of the posted content. If it makes us looks bad and exposes our bullying arrogance, then it’s aiding the enemy.
You embarrassed us, Mr. Manning. That was your crime. You revealed to the world the truth. That was your crime. You showed what the United States government was doing in the name of United States citizens — without telling those citizens. That was your crime. You upheld the Constitution when others most certainly were not – when they were attempting to act in secret, where their war crimes wouldn’t be subjected to the troublesome bother of public debate. That was also your crime.
Serious stuff. Serious enough to cost you your life.
Before you go away forever, we want you to know: we’re sorry. We’re grateful. And we’re sorry.
All revolutions require martyrs, it seems. You – and Ed Snowden, and Joan Galt, and whoever comes next – may not have willingly chosen to be heroes (or victims). But those of us (and our offspring) who will ultimately benefit from your exposure of the truth will honor your memory with appreciation and perhaps a bit of reverence. You had principles. You stood up for them. Unluckily for you, they weren’t the right principles, the ones the managers of the War Machine subscribe to.
None of this must be any consolation at this horrible moment, Mr. Manning. What they’re doing to you is wrong. You know it. I know it. Many readers of this space know it. The problem is, many patriotic Americans don’t know it. They think you should be tortured, as well.
Openness. Transparency. They’re nice-sounding words when Barack Obama utters them to describe the kind of presidency he wishes to have. They’re not so nice when someone with a conscience thinks they’re worth dying for.
Farewell, Bradley Manning. We humbly thank you for your service.