Here’s a question: If you saw and heard what Chelsea Manning did, what would YOU do?
Let’s say that as a naive young person, you actually believed the BS about the military fighting to “preserve our freedoms” and “keep us safe”. And let’s say that you also believed that the military would, in exchange for your service, provide you with education that would insure your future career opportunities. Let’s further imagine that you believed that the military was actually about stopping “bad guys” rather than indiscriminately killing innocent civilians. Yes, that’s a lot of false memes to believe, but just for a moment, lets pretend that you believed these things, and so you enlisted.
Then your eyes are violently opened. You see rampant cruelty, indifference to life, and heartless policies that harm human beings. You see sexism and homophobia, dehumanization of people, sadism, and blood-lust. You see innocent people turned over to local prisons to be tortured, and when you question that, your commanding officer tells you to “forget about it.” You see countless innocent people killed, families devastated, children slaughtered before your eyes.
You see film footage of “good guys” targeting unarmed civilians and hear audio of these “good guys” enjoying the killing as if it were a video game. You understand that these soldiers have been brainwashed to be merely indifferent tools of a system that is indifferent to life, and foreign to humanity. You begin to realize that the military is the enforcement arm of global corporatism, and that it encourages barbarism in the service of that corporatism. You become aware of the lies being told to the American public. You come to realize that all your treasured beliefs about the “good guys” are false. You realize that you have become a part of the Machine, a monstrous, heartless destructive force, and that most people outside it have no idea how depraved it truly is.
What do you do?
Surely the easiest thing for some, would be to stay silent, keep your head down, wait out your enlistment term and get the hell out – with an ‘honorable discharge” and whatever meager benefits you might be able to get. (You’ll probably wind up taking anti-depressants for the rest of your life, but, hey, at least you’re not in prison.) Perhaps most people would take that option.
But for YOU – a person of morals, a person of personal integrity, a human being who is aware that all of life is connected, an evolving, growing person…for YOU, silence would be acquiescence to ignorance and evil. Silence would betray the common thread that connects us all. Silence is not an option.
Back in 1971, another American experienced that same journey of awakening. He acted upon his conscience and was (unsurprisingly) villified and prosecuted. His name is Daniel Ellsberg. He’s written a wonderful post about Chelsea Manning, that says in part:
They were the same motives I felt 42 years ago. We both felt the horror of reading about deceptive, and even criminal, activity. We both felt the public needed this information and should have had it years ago. So we both released classified documents about a bloody, hopeless war.
Listen to Chelsea Manning’s full testimony, which was secretly recorded and released by Freedom of the Press Foundation to counter the US government’s veil of secrecy around the trial. Tweet it, forward it, and help share it.
Be a part of the winds of honesty that are revealing some of the truth behind the veil.
For the third straight year, Manning has been nominated for the Noble Peace Prize by, among others, Tunisian parliamentarians. Given the role the WikiLeaks cables played in the Arab Spring, and their role in speeding up the end of the Iraq War, I can think of no one more deserving who is deserving of the peace prize.
(S)he’s also deserving of the Congressional Medal of Honor. This medal, awarded by Congress–and not the executive branch–is given to military personnel, who during wartime, do what they should do for their country and their comrades, at the greatest risk to themselves…
I see a hero in these wars whose example should inspire others: Chelsea Manning.
- AUDIO: Bradley Manning’s Court Statement (antiwar.com)
- A Salute to Bradley Manning, Whistleblower, As We Hear His Words for the First Time (leaksource.wordpress.com)
- Hearing Bradley Manning for the First Time (readersupportednews.org)
- Bradley Manning: Man Of Conscience Or Traitor? – OpEd (eurasiareview.com)
- In case you missed: Bradley Manning has a voice (boingboing.net)
UPDATE: As of March 25, 2013:
- WikiLeaks has been financially blockaded without process for 842 days.
- Julian Assange has been detained without charge for 839 days.
– 276 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
- Bradley Manning has been in prison without trial for 1034 days.
- Jeremy Hammond has been in prison without trial for 385 days.
- A secret Grand Jury on WikiLeaks has been active for 919 days.
UPDATED to reflect Manning’s new name/sexual identity
See efforts to free Chelsea, along with updated articles at ChelseaManning.org