The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
Obama shoots another messenger? Crowley out after Manning comments
Sunday, March 13th, 2011
After pressure from the White House, PJ Crowley is stepping down as a State Department spokesman. While speaking to a group of students at MIT last week, he was asked about the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning. Crowley stated that he felt Manning's treatment was "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid." He warned the administration that mistreatment of Manning would undermine the credibility of President Obama and add to the world's perception that the US tortures prisoners. Instead of addressing the real problem, the White House chose to shoot the messenger by pressuring Crowley to resign. Crowley was actually giving them good advice and forcing him to resign only adds to the growing suspicions of US improprieties.
Without a valid legal case against Australian citizen Julian Assange (founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.org) it seems they are torturing Manning in an effort to turn him against Assange. Manning is accused of leaking military and State Department files to WikiLeaks, but has not been convicted of any crime. For the past 291 days, Manning has been held in maximum security isolation for 23 hours a day. That is NOT due process!
Some have called Manning a traitor, but those people are ignorant. IF we ASSUME that Manning is guilty, this is what he did: After discovering evidence of war crimes, he leaked the proof to the media. Do you know how many "secrets" are leaked to the media each day? If WikiLeaks is guilty of "aiding the enemy," then so is every other media organization who reports on the ongoing wars.
If Manning did leak these documents, he only obeyed his military oath: "I pledge to support, honor, and be loyal to the United States, its Constitution, and its laws. Where and if lawfully required, I further commit myself to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, either by military, noncombatant, or civilian service. This I do solemnly swear, so help me God."
Manning could have reported the crimes to his chain of command, but since the leaders of the military were actively trying to cover up the facts, he likely would have been told to just keep his mouth shut. By releasing the evidence to WikiLeaks, the whole world saw our nation for what it really is, and not what it proclaims to be. If Manning was a traitor - wouldn't he have turned the evidence over to our enemies to be used against us? He could have named his price if he had sold this information, but he didn't.
During a chat session with the man who turned him in, Manning's motivation was pretty clear: "god knows what happens now - hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reform. If not... then we're doomed as a species. I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens. I want people to see the truth.. regardless of who they are... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public."
If you witnessed the deliberate murder of a dozen innocent people AND a cover up of the incident - what would you have done? I think few of us would have the courage shown by Manning. One of the charges against him can carry the death penalty. This kid has literally sacrificed his life in an effort to seek the justice our country claims is a founding principle.
Aiding the enemy? That is a ridiculous charge. It was WikiLeaks and social media that started all of the recent revolutions across Africa. More change towards democracy has occurred in the past six months, than throughout hundreds of years of war. So one soldier changed the whole world just by telling the truth? What might we have accomplished if we had always been truthful?
Two statements seem to frame this issue in the right perspective, but will our leaders heed their own words of warning?
During Obama's campaign for President he promised: "Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said, "We believe that governments who have erected barriers to internet freedom, whether they're technical filters or censorship regimes or attacks on those who exercise their rights to expression and assembly online, will eventually find themselves boxed in. They will face a dictator's dilemma and will have to choose between letting the walls fall or paying the price to keep them standing."
As Chase Madar recently wrote:
In 2005, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters: "It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member [in Iraq], if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to try to stop it." This, in other words, was the obligation of every U.S. service member in Operation Iraqi Freedom; this remains the obligation of every U.S. service member in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. It is a duty that Pfc. Manning has fulfilled.
Madar goes on to say:
"the records allegedly downloaded by Manning revealed clear instances of war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, widespread torture committed by the Iraqi authorities with the full knowledge of the U.S. military, previously unknown estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. military checkpoints, and the massive Iraqi civilian death toll caused by the American invasion."
I think Bradley Manning is a hero and a true patriot, but don't take my word for it. The video that started this whole mess can be seen for yourself: CollateralMurder.com
Bradley's father recently did an interview with PBS FrontLine which will air on March 29th: PBS FrontLine
March 20th is International Bradley Manning Support Day. There will be a large group of activists traveling to the gates of Quantico to show their support. For more information, please visit BradleyManning.org
-- Gary Wright II