Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, the U.S. Army, and national secrecy, international response, and a P.S. on gender politics
from a European newspaper:
“Fifty-four [members of the European parliament] co-signed a letter to US President Barack Obama and other top officials and politicians in Washington DC, on 30 November , protesting the treatment of Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables to the Wikileaks website. They object to US prosecutors’ decision to charge Manning with “aiding the enemy,” an offence punishable by death. They also complain about Manning having been subjected to solitary confinement for long periods and that the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, has been refused a private visit with him. The pre-trial hearing of Manning, who was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq, is scheduled to begin on 16 December .”
“MEPS Send Letter Over Wikileaks Accused.” Europolitics (daily in English), December 2, 2011. LexisNexis Academic. Accessed 29 August 2013.
PS. On gender politics and human rights, from an American newspaper:
“For many Americans, US Army Pvt. Bradley Manning – the young man who now wishes to be known as a transgender woman called ‘Chelsea Manning’ – brought the issue of gender identity to mind for the first time.
“Pvt. Manning, court martialed and sentenced this week to 35 years in a military prison for leaking some 700,000 classified items to the controversial whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, may be unusual in this regard, but he is far from unique. Nor is his particular circumstance – how to fit into a culture and society marked by historical, political, and religious norms about gender – necessarily unusual, even given its military aspect.
“The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that there are nearly 700,000 transgender individuals in the US today – males who feel and think of themselves as female and vice versa. That’s less than 0.3 percent of the population.
“But the figure may be understated as it becomes more acceptable for such individuals to reveal their self-perceived gender identity to what may be a critical world around them.”
Knickerbocker, Brad. “Transgender Americans: Bradley Manning isn’t the only one.” The Christian Science Monitor August 24, 2013. LexisNexis Academic. Accessed 29 August 2013.
The Syrian situation: yet another chance to invade a small but intractable Middle Eastern country which is brutalizing its people. Policy makers, remember what you should have learned from the Philippines, Mexico, Iwo Jima, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan. (Which ones did I leave out?)
Rational, careful policy making from the northeastern liberal establishment(Harvard via the New York Times), but still valuable advice:
The Price of Liberty?
In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., :
“We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace … and justice throughout the … world — a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
“Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter — but beautiful — struggle for a new world.”
“Beyond Vietnam.” Riverside Church Meeting, New York City, 4 April 1967. http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/liberation_curriculum/speeches/beyondvietnam.htm