there can be no doubt, at least in my mind, that bradley manning is a hero. his conscience led him to make certain things public, including a damning video of US soldiers shooting and killing iraqi civilians from a helicopter. then came wikileaks and the throngs of cables, none of which were top secret, but all of which were revelations of the way in which business is done, behind the scenes.
his treatment at the hands of a government, angry at being “pantsed” has been nothing short of horrific and aptly defined as torture. he has been held in solitary confinement, often naked and without even a blanket, for nearly 24 hours of every day for well over a year. he has been denied visits, unless the matter has been pursued with viligance, and amnesty international was denied their request to visit him in detention.
that his actions did NOT harm a single troop on the ground or elsewhere and the fact that the cables were NOT released as part of a conspiracy with wikileaks or any other entity, seems little to matter to those who would lock him up and throw away the key. all this despite the present administration’s assurances of transparency, protection for whistle-blowers and repeal of bush era violations of constitutionally guaranteed rights.
so, one cannot help but feel that WHATEVER strategy could lift him out of his present circumstance is justified. but is it?
the strategy being used by manning’s defense is to paint him as a victim. NOT of a secretive government’s desire to shut up opposition, NOT of a conscience that wouldn’t allow him to look the other way when he came across clear abuses and under-handed duplicity. NO! the defense claims that stress created by the pressures of being a gay man in the service under DADT, along with the gender identity issues he has caused him to be leaky!
i think we all know where this can lead. the insinuation is clear. gay and transgender people in the military service aren’t to be trusted. being gay or transgender is a threat to national security. being gay or transgender is a pathology.
this, coming on the heels of the just recently repealed DADT bill, and the years of effort in advocacy on the part of transgender people to have gender identity diversity removed from the list of mental diseases in the DSMV, is clearly NOT a good thing!
tho, i truly hope that justice can be gotten for bradley manning, who is, when all is taken into account, a great american hero and patriot for his actions in trying to reveal the ways in which this country, the country that he defended, has gone astray, it seems unlikely that THIS defense will do anybody any good.
those who have opposed repealing DADT will have ammunition behind their bigotry, those who seek to see transgender people as weak-minded or sick will have all the affirmation they could hope for in the defense strategy being put forth, and likely it wont save bradley manning either.
so at what cost? this defense strategy.