One of my best friends spoke similarly when I met him after his tour as a Marine in the first Gulf War in 1991. Based on what he saw, after long introspection, he applied for conscientious objector status. He felt he was sent around the world not to protect his country's freedom or safety, but government and corporate interests. He felt his conscience could only oppose all wars he could possibly imagine his country fighting. He could only learn that by going, not from what his government told him before going.
The situation today seems more objectionable than then. I feel like the more we learn about the government's actions, the yet more objectionable they seem.
I shudder when I connect the data point then to today's and extrapolate a few years out.
But I still take inspiration from people who honor the Constitution over what seems opposing policy.
(Edit: since people are asking about what happened to my friend, instead of evaluating his conscientious objector intent, they gave him bureaucratic run-around for years until it was easier for him to get his Honorable Discharge on schedule.)
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
- Dwight Eisenhower
I honestly would have been happy with current NSA monitoring (if disclosed) if it were effective to reduce the odds of nuclear war with the USSR. As it is, it would have been ineffective then, is clearly ineffective now, and is worse for genuinely uninvolved people than the McCarthy period was for most people (who were never targeted).
I probably would have tried to work for NSA or CIA or SAC during the Cold War, as a way to reduce the odds of nuclear war by a tiny percent. Fighting shoeless jihadi fucks in caves who just want to make life hell for their own countrymen on the other side of the world isn't worth any amour of money, civil liberties, or US casualties beyond the minimum required to keep oil and lines of communication open. We don't need to sacrifice to help them, except voluntarily as private citizens.
Most of our problems are due to the Baby Boomers (IMO the most worthless generation to walk the earth) not recognizing that 1989 was a sufficiently large change to completely recast how the US should approach security. Until 2008 (and then 2010, and clearly 2012 and especially now), the Boomers (and older) were the only political force in the US.
I'm saying this despite the fact that I probably agree with you about Manning. I was once much like the descriptions of him, possessed by a combination of high intelligence, arrogance, emotional confusion, and moral naivete, and frequently in denial about very obvious realities before me. In as much as I can forgive myself for being a bit of a messed up kid, I can forgive Manning.
It is not uncivil to call him out. His position is the enemy of freedom.
Manning and Snowden are heroes.
I am 100% unequivocally against the NSA, the USGs position on this and the entire world that supports this. It is not the reality I want for anyone to live in a reality with absolute surveillance and no freedom of thought. I refuse to accept this.
I would hope you have more respect than 100% belief in just about anything. Look up the Socratic method for some good example of flaws in anything being 100% wrong, or 100% right.
Also, we can have soft debates all day long, but I stand for the belief that what the USG, the NSA are doing is against a free and sovereign state and I am taking a stand.
You can see in my HN comment history where I talk about my first learning of USG backdoor requirements in Cisco gear in 1997.
So what I'm saying is, if you really care about the NSA and USG not abusing their powers - and most of us care about this - you're not actually helping yourself or anyone else by holding on to a black-and-white position.
While at the same time, you're deriding me for my language, and completely ignoring the issue, or the points, I am arguing, and on top of that, condescendingly advising me how to debate.
I'm not even sure why it's offensive to you that I'm calling your position extremist, or you extremist in so far as you adopt that position, given your clearly stated understanding of your position. I'm an extremist when it comes to the badness of molesting infants, for example. I understand that this is hypocritical with respect to what I wrote above, I just feel that strongly about it.
But "the worst kind of [government] apologist" is needlessly pejorative and doesn't advance any useful argument, besides indicating that anigbrowl's position is somewhat pro-NSA, which is not a priori a bad thing.
There's nothing new about that.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket (by Gen. Smedley Butler)
http://www.amazon.com/Overthrow-Americas-Century-Regime-Chan... (by Stephen Kinzer)
Unlike tens of millions that served their tour silently and never questioned requests they were given, regardless if it meant to protect a hospital building, or machine-gun group of civilians from aboard hovering helicopter, this guy, knowingly he could pay the ultimate penalty of life in jail, decided to go against selfish interests of his superiors and altogether with his heart's gut.
And for taking this stand, he's go my lifetime's respect.
EDIT: since this is getting upvoted heavily, I want to add something:
Imagine that every single soldier is a copy of Bradley Manning. Than when a supervisor breaks the law, they blow the whistle. As a result, you can imagine two things happening: either army would stop existing (doubt that) OR supervisors, colonels and all those little monsters in power would STOPPED breaking the law once for all. Its as simple as that.
Okay, you can say: get down to Earth, this is War, War is always dirty. Sure. So my response is: the last War we been at was World War 2. We have no business WHATSOEVER to be (or ever been) in Iraq, Afganistan, or tens of other places where US soldiers are currently deployed. None! All those "wars" we fighting are NOT in the name of peace or freedom of Americans, living tens of thousands of miles away, here on US soil. The War we are in right now are in most part because there is easy tax-payers money to be grabbed and the Industrial Military Complex do not want to rest on not spending trillions of dollars. That's it!
EDIT 2: next time you say: "oh there is a chance Manning did endanger lives of US citizens". Maybe yes maybe no. Maybe if grandma would have mustache she would've been grandpa. But do yourself a favor: go and watch Youtube helicopter massacre that Manning uncovered. I assure you people you watch ARE beyond any shade of doubt DEAD.
> Maybe yes maybe no. Maybe if grandma would have mustache she would've been grandpa.
Is the funniest comment I've seen all year!
Now, I wouldn't have expected him to have an adult's awareness of all the political issues, but did this young man never see the front page of a newspaper or watch a television news broadcast during the previous four years? You would have to have been living under a rock to be unaware that the US invasion of Iraq had been the subject of controversy.
People come from different situations. I care a lot more about politics and our general situation as a country now than I did at 18-21... honestly I just didn't give a shit until about 25. Then I became interested and decided I needed to be well informed. Are there people older than me who are still uninformed? Yes. Are there people younger than 25 who give a shit about these things. Yes.
Nothing requires that Manning have developed these interests before he joined the military.
Also, while it is "your view" that these things should be thought about before joining the military, I can guarantee you that every person I knew going into the military when I was in high school did not think about these things at all. It was mostly two reasons, economic, or their family expected them to enlist as that's just what people in their family did.
While the army and the world might be better off if people thoroughly examined these issues before enlisting, that's just not the current state of things.
So it would have been entirely possible to go to war in its wake without expecting to participate in its like. After all, officially (from the outside), it was condemned.
What is the alternative hypothesis, that when he joined he had an understanding of the ongoing horrors? That seems harder to believe than "he was in fact living under a rock."
That little scenario aside, the claim
in my statement is that the military
doesn't just use the strong desire
of teenage boys to be members of groups
but exploits it. The exploitation is
in basic training, etc.
It's a manipulation.
For voting, entering into contracts,
and usually even marriage, the role
of manipulation is usually much lower
and the consequences less deadly.
As it was he had a Top Secret clearance before he was ever deployed to Iraq. Now there is no way he got a Top Secret clearance without exhibiting the ability to understand the military context he was headed into. If he had ethical reservations about the conduct of the war then it just might have been a good idea to raise them prior to deployment, no?
I'm not unsympathetic to the guy, but taking his story at face value requires adopting a position of spectacular naivete.
You're arguing from a certain viewpoint, and being blind to the fact that people can come from different places that are entirely foreign to you. Maybe he was brainwashed, or willfully ignorant, or something else; whatever the case may be, it's possible for people to come to realizations that they were unable to see before.
It's one thing to watch movies or think about things. It is another thing to see the results of war with one's own eyes.
"A mother walks into her living room to discover her teenage son playing video games the night before a big math test. Reasonably upset, she says, 'I expect you to do well on that test tomorrow.'"
Now, does she think that her son will do well on that test? No, she wouldn't be upset if she did. Does she nevertheless consider it his responsibility to do well? Of course. She does not expect him to do well on the test, but she does expect him to do well.
It is not reasonable to expect a 19/20 year old who is signing up for the military to have a full appreciation for the implications of his action and the actions of the military he is joining. Nevertheless, society expects exactly that of him.
Seriously though, what is your thesis here? That he joined with the intention of leaking secrets? That he doesn't actually think anything objectionable was going on? What? You have made it plain that you think he should have known that shit was hitting the fan, but you haven't actually made a point.
My thesis is not tha the joined with the intention of leaking secrets. My thesis is that he joined up thinking it would help him straighten out his sexual identity issues and when it ended up making them worse it's unfortunate (largely for himself) that he didn't seek a medical discharge on basis of his gender dysphoria and the severe stress it was causing him. I don't think he's an inherently bad person, but if you're going to carry a top secret clearance you have to be aware that that's some Serious Business.
Do you have any experience with people?
More than you seem to imagine. It's because I've spent so much time out at the fringes of society that I have so little patience with this infantilist bullshit. Like Manning, I left home and (broken) family at a young age to make my own way int he world, instead of going along with the crowd on the conveyor belt. I sympathize with him, but I also think that respecting his right to make his own choices also involves investing him with the responsibility for the outcomes of those choices.
I like what I see of Manning, but think he made some catastrophic mistakes that's he's going to be paying for for the next few years. Your view of events is predicated on him being a helpless automaton that joined the army and earned a top secret clearance without understanding what any of that meant, which is to deny him agency for his own actions.
Do you believe it's plausible to change your views? I think the most likely situation is that he thought he knew what he was getting into, and, through his access to lots of top secret documents, ended up learning more things, and thus changed his mind.
I mean seriously, have you never gotten into a situation where you learned information that changed your mind?
He's not perfect, obviously. Joining the army when he did was stupid as hell just for staters, I don't think we disagree there. Does that lapse in judgement signal a broader permanent disability of some sort that will follow him for the rest of his life? People change, you should know that.
If he says that he decided that the war was objectionable after he joined, I believe him. I have no reason not to, nothing about somebody changing their mind conflicts with my mental model of normal people with agency of their own. Normal people with their own agency can change their mind, that isn't suspicious.
As I keep pointing out (and nobody has refuted), nothing in the State Department cables revealed any unconstiutional or even awful activity. So our diplomats also spy on on other diplomats they meet - shocker! This is what diplomats do, and intelligence-gathering is a normal function of embassies. The trouble with Manning's argument from principle that it doesn't really explain the bulk of the leaks (I have acknowledged repeatedly that leaking materials which appear to show actual war crimes is justifiable).
* I'm using the male pronoun because that's the identity he was using at the time. As of today she is now living as a woman and has changed her name to Chelsea Manning. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_manning#Gender_reassign...
How is it so unbelievable that a kid wanting to serve his country was changed by the experience of doing so, having been placed to see what it means firsthand?
Finally, it is well understood that brain development continues into the mid 20s - so changes to thinking should be physiologically expected at least.
Young Manning's "spectacular naivete" is what the rest of us call "the human condition." But maybe you're the one actual rational human being in all of history. Congratulations.
Also, who is it that was calling him 'very smart, opinionated, and political'? It could be that he was smart, opinionated, and political in favor of the agenda that the army invaded Iraq & Afghanistan under. If I'm in a position of power in the Army and I see that someone is smart and opinionated in favor of my agenda, that's someone likely to gain a security clearance from me.
I don't completely disagree with you though. It seems pretty logical to me that war is a nasty business where morals are swept under the rug.
I think it would take more thorough research to postulate on Manning's political leanings prior to the war. My gut feeling is he was liberal-leaning prior, and his conscience was attacked by the reality of what he experienced.
It really doesn't. Just need ability to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Admittedly not easy. Hard enough to do when building an app for users, let alone analyzing someone else's life choices.
She was called up to serve, and served in a war she honestly believed was unnecessary and wrong. She never was willing to talk about her experiences over there. A year after she got back, she hanged herself.
It is easy to look at the military and assume that these are people without a conscience. It is harder to recognize that people can join the military for a large number of reasons, many good, and when duty calls, the conflict between political opinion and duty is not always an easy one to resolve.
I believe that the majority of those who join the military do so out of the belief that they are doing something good. Those who eventually realize they are not pay a heavy price one way or another. Either like my father they go to jail (my father went to jail for refusing to go to Vietnam--- he was a First Lieutenant in the Army Reserves at the time), or like my friend end up taking their own lives.
But it hit like a punch to face when you finally grasp how the mind of a kid gets turned around in the army. In the end, even you are being proud of his dumb and blind service to the war effort.
I recall noticing a shift in popular rhetoric recently. People went from fully supporting the war to perhaps no longer supporting the war, but still supporting the troops. I think another shift may be required before the obvious giant clusterfuck makes any damn difference to people signing up.
I mean, I did, but I also didn't join the Army...
His naivety was his undoing in many ways.
Do you all seriously belive that Manning could say anything else at this point? There are many other possible frames of mind he could've been in when joining the military and getting secret clearance, but he cannot express any of them (at least not if he wants that parole in 8 years).
Successfully? I'd think it would be much harder to do so after initially agreeing to fight.
Lots of conscientious objectors do so from a religious viewpoint, but having a conscience is not exclusively reserved for people of some religion, you are welcome to have one all by your lonesome. And that conscience can start to ask annoying questions about your actions and affiliations which can cause you to change your mind about something.
What is more worrisome to me is that it would be something that could be refused. If someone states they have no will to obey the government entity they have applied for then they should be allowed to leave. The alternative feels too much like ownership to me.
Isn't that the basis of ALL war?
Its the basis for at least one side in pretty much all war, but every side in every war (at least since treating war as a private rather than public affair and paying troops by overtly giving them either land grants in conquered territory or the right to loot conquered territory fell out of vogue) presents that as the other side, not their own side.
I was wrong.
The State breaks the law. And it does so daily. For helping to point this out Mr. Manning deserves a prize, not a punishment.
"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." - http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Max_Planck
Ideas, just like science, advance one funeral at a time.
I'm also interested inthe demographics of the social graph of the wave of support. I suspect it starts in the 20somehing crowd realizing that they are allowed to have their own valid opinions and taking up the banner that was conveniently placed there for years prior waiting for them to find it. All those years it was available were formative years for those people and the idea was floating in the background, therefore not foreign.
Of his 3 stages, I've come to the conclusion that most people never evolve past the second stage which is basically "against the law = wrong". The point of questioning whether the law itself is unjust, or could be appropriately ignored under certain circumstances either doesn't occur to people, or bothers them more than any injustice caused.
So we have in these discussions - everyone individually recognizes that the legal system is fucked, the laws are fucked, the way we make laws is fucked, the judges are corrupt, the prosecutors care only about case volume, the defense attorneys are underpaid and overworked, the jury is stupid and uninformed, the press sensationalizes everything, ... and drilling into any one of these topics will reveal miscarriages of justice and tragedies of procedure, but tl;dr "bradley manning was found guilty".
I mentioned to a friend yesterday about the UK government demanding destruction of The Guardian's hard drives and I was told I was engaging in "conspiracy theories."
Best case, he'll get parole 8 years from now.
From the prespecitve of the treatment of POWs Gitmo breaks most of those:
From the prepective of civilians in war zones, some of the tactics used in Iraq broke those:
One of the first releases and the one that got him arrested was the video showing a US Apache helicopter gunning down and killing unarmed civilians which is again a breach of the Law of War:
(You have seen the uncut video, right? It's forty minutes long. If not, I strongly recommend that you watch it. It gives a slightly different impression of what happened.)
Anyway, I understand the need to be angry about heinous acts. However, I've discovered that when one plays the "What laws or regulations does this heinous act violate?" game, one somewhat frequently finds that the act in question does not violate the letter of the relevant laws or regulations. Similarly, when one examines footage that has not been edited for emotional punch, one often reaches a different conclusion about the events pictured.
The Law of War defines rules of engagement.
To define what engagement I’m referring, consider the few minutes after 4:45 at which point the pilot "lights them all up".
Now, I’m no expert in the Law of War, so I will leave that to the lawyers.
But to me that looks like an attack on a civilian population. Considering the fact two children were also nearly killed in the attack, that adds more weight to that point of view.
> I strongly recommend that you watch it. It gives a slightly different impression of what happened.
If you think there is compelling, evidence somewhere on that 40 minute video feel free to present it.
> I strongly recommend that you watch it.
To be honest, just watching those two minutes makes me sick to the stomach. All I’m seeing is an act of barbarism.
However, this is not so much about a video and trying to determine who is right and who is wrong.
This is about a much a bigger question.
Is it right and proper for governments to suppression the truth from its people?
Reuters lost two reporters in that engagement, so naturally they asked the US Military for details as to what actually happened.
The US Military came back with the standard reply, something along the lines of:
We reviewed video of the incident and from that it’s clear the reporters were caught up in an armed conflict between the US Army and a hostile enemy.
Reuters then asked to see the video but the US Military declined the request.
If the video of the engagement (all 40 minutes of it if you like) is so compelling, why did they outright refuse to release it?
What right did the US Military have to suppress the release of the video?
Fortunately for us, Manning did release the video, so the truth did come out.
Unfortunately, for the US government and the US military, the truth is sometimes ugly and it is that ugly truth they were trying so desperately hard to suppress.
This last decade has seen the US government (not unlike most other governments) get into the bad habit of hiding the truth.
Look at how they desperately try to make examples of people like Manning, Snowden and Assange, it the hope that it will somehow deter others from letting the truth be know.
I feel that war is heinous, and a tool of last resort (right after "We've tried every other reasonable option, let's just do nothing and see how that turns out." is seriously considered and maybe tried for a while).
You seem to be unable to rationally think about situations that involve the killing of other humans. In order to analyze such situations, you have to temporarily suppress your visceral disgust for the situation and think about the facts of the particular situation.
In this particular situation you had one or two guys carrying what appeared to be RPGs, travelling with other men armed with RPGs and rifles near the area where US troops recently reported coming under RPG fire. Those folks were killed by people employed to kill (when deemed necessary), in order to prevent the injury or death of US troops. The van that arrived was removing enemy wounded or dead. If the occupants of that van had been successful, the folks who seemed to be involved in rocket attacks on US soldiers would be taken away and nursed back to health in an environment that would allow them to get back to firing RPGs at US soldiers. So, the van, and its occupants was destroyed.
It's a pity that there were children in the van. I can understand that calculus that lead to the caretakers of those children endangering them in the way that they did. I cannot say that those caretakers made the wrong call.
The Reuters reporters were operating in an active war zone, and travelling with armed members of enemy forces. It's a pity that they died, but that is a risk that they probably would have readily acknowledged that they were taking.
Reuters was likely denied access to the gunsight video in part because it corroborates the Pentagon's assessment of the situation, and in part because the Army isn't in the habit of handing out gunsight footage to interested non-military parties.
So, seriously. Suppress your visceral disgust for the situation, take forty minutes out of your life and watch the full-length gunsight video. It paints the situation in a different light. Whenever you feel yourself saying "What! How could they do that? That's clearly unreasonable!", pause the video, think carefully and critically about the situation revealed thus far, and maybe go back and review the last twenty or so seconds to ensure that what you thought you saw couldn't reasonably be seen in another way.
Also, stop misquoting people. I don't know why you think that that's a reasonable thing to do, but it reflects very poorly on everything that you have to say.
"No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law" ~~ Frederick Bastiat
Very often laws exist in part to create legal fictions, and these laws are effectively broken all the time, but one can pretend that they are followed. These legal fictions can be extremely valuable.
For example in Indonesia abortion is illegal. The primary effect of this is that abortion clinics pay off police a small amount generally, and get prosecuted if something bad happens. Paradoxically, this is important to ensuring the quality of care. Everyone gets to pretend that abortions are banned, but in actuality, they are accessible and regulated by a position of being relatively legally vulnerable.
The problem is that when the fictions are unsustainable, then there is no semblance of respect that can be left. Once this is gone, though it isn't clear it can be salvaged. This is why this is so big. The government has shown that they have massively betrayed our trust and this means that certain tools of law enforcement just won't work in the future.
"Manning will receive a credit of 1,293 days for the time he has been confined prior to the sentence, including 112 days of credit for abusive treatment he was subjected to in the brig at the Quantico Marine Base."
The math isn't clear, but it seems to confirm he was somehow compensated for the horrible treatment. I would call it psychological abuse, not sure if it equates to torture. Given that it's a sort of admission of wrongdoing, I suspect the days of credit were part of the plea deal--otherwise he'd be persuing further actions over it.
Consider that more people kill themselves because they can't bear psychological pain than they do because they can't bear physical pain.
What exactly is Obama's defense? I know myself and others are extremely disappointed in his direction, despite voting him in for a second term. Yet it doesn't seem like he's made any attempt at justifying his direction. Does he even feel obligated? Has he directly addressed the issues of his hypocritical back-flopping on prosecuting whistleblowers, or blatant disregard to our privacy rights? Is he just ignoring the backlash?
As the recently declassified FISC opinion shows, most of the NSA program is broadly within well-established law. Third-party doctrine means it's not illegal to get data from third parties like Google or Facebook, and it's well-accepted that 4th amendment protections don't apply to foreigners. The U.S. has been surveilling foreigners for decades now, and has been gathering records from third parties like banks, etc, for decades as well. The legal nit to pick with the NSA's recent efforts seems to be that it's doing searches on purely domestic communications that indadvertedly get caught in the nets (though it also seems that the NSA isn't trying very hard to make the nets finer). But you can't object to the very foundations of the program purely on legal principles.
If you're looking at it from a legal point of view, it seems like a lot of uproar over something that's bad, but not something that's bad down to its foundations.
But to the digerati, it's a much bigger deal, and as someone who is not in that group I think Obama can't appreciate that point of view. The idea of getting e-mails from Google strikes a chord with many people in a way that the idea of getting bank records from banks doesn't. The digerati oppose electronic surveillance on principle, and don't care if analogous programs have existed in other areas for decades.
Incidentally, I don't expect Obama, or old line politicians like Feinstein or Pelosi to "get it" any time soon. This seems to be a "you either get it or you don't" issue. Either you have a visceral aversion to the idea of electronic surveillance or you don't. It's much more an emotional issue as anything else, and Obama's not an emotional guy. He's also a big government liberal, so he doesn't have any reason to oppose the NSA program on those grounds. He's got the most aggressive foreign policy and national security policy of any Democratic president since, well I don't even know who. He's the second-coming of Reagan on that front. He has no reason to view this as anything other than some NSA programs that stepped out of line and need to step back on the right side of the line.
The recently declassified FISC opinion shows that the NSA had a pattern of lying to the FISC about what the NSA program actually did to get it approved as within the law by the FISC, but that most of the parts the FISC had managed to find out about at the time of the opinion were still within (in the FISC's view) existing law.
Of course, if the NSA was repeatedly caught misrepresenting material facts in non-adversarial proceedings where there is no opposing party to independently seek evidence, challenge evidence, etc., how much of what remains is also misrepresentation? We don't know, and even the FISC can't know, because they can't know what they haven't yet caught the NSA lying about, but they certainly know that the NSA is willing to lie -- including to FISC -- as long as they can get away with it.
And because of that, neither we nor FISC have any idea -- from the opinion or after it -- how much of the actual NSA program is even remotely justifiable under the law.
The technology crowd objects to electronic surveillance conceptually. I think a large portion don't even like the idea that Google and Facebook could be forced to hand over data pursuant to a real warrant or subpoena, and that's so well established I couldn't tell you what century it was when that power didn't exist.
"Assume"? They were caught repeatedly lying to the FISC.
> what does the solution look like?
That's a hard question, but getting enough people even starting to think about it first requires getting recognition of the problem.
If that doesn't freak you out I don't know what will.
I'm not sure if you are familiar with the 'Amsterdamse Bevolkingsregister' affair during WorldWar II but maybe if you're not you could spend a half hour reading up on it.
Long story short, without that registry a lot of Jews would have survived the war. I'm categorically against any registration of personal data or communications if it is not for a specific crime brought to the attention of a judge who considers the case serious enough to issue a specific warrant.
Only when one is savvy enough to understand that (a) a database never forgets, and (b) a well-mined database never shuts up, does the real danger of these programs become apparent.
...of course, there's also the possibility that Obama does understand all of this, either because he's somehow checkmated by the agencies and their knowledge, or he's part of the club and genuinely believes in naked power. But your theory is probably the most likely.
Even this argument is flawed, there are FBI documents showing they very much cared about the personal life of noted communist agitator Martin Luther King.
Obama has long ignored any backlash. During the OWS protests, he gave a jobs speech where he called for deregulation of Wall St. He knows nobody on the left will dare oppose him.
But what this means is that half the nation breathes a sign of relief, that we are being screwed by "our guy" instead of "the other guy" because if the same policies were put in place by someone from the other party, that would be a disaster.
The closest we got to any change was the vote in Congress lead by Amash, which failed. People are getting disappointed, more people are wanting "out" in various ways.
Until you do, the legal system is a joke.
Not Americans - individuals. All wars and the state itself, which is war, are various manifestations of the same conflict: individuals vs the mob.
There are no Americans, gay, feminists, unemployed, disabled in this war. There are no groups whose rights need to be protected more than those of individuals. This war will continue as long as we appoint somebody who promises the illusion of protection in exchange for our personal responsibility.
There is nothing to lose, therefore nothing to fear, therefore nothing to protect. Imagine this taught in schools instead of warrior worship sprinkled with "because I said so".
Of course the behaviour of governments in other countries can be just as absurd. We are not so different. You're not seeing Italy firing bombs at the Middle East right now. The stories are different, the absurd behaviour is much the same. http://www.beppegrillo.it/en/
The only real disagreement seems to be over what injustices are serious enough to warrant such actions, not over the principle. And I mean, trashing someone's ship while disguised as a Native American, in order to protest an import tax, doesn't exactly set a high bar.
I only hope that, as demographics in america swing younger, the libertarians and progressives can put put aside our differences and get this guy a pardon down the road. Scooter Libby is free and Manning is in jail.
Manning is white-washing his actions a bit here. He doesn't mention divulging years worth of diplomatic cables, including cables with countries uninvolved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he divulged them en masse, without regard for their content.
More importantly, Manning did give a bunch of unredacted content to people whom he trusted to release it appropriately. And they did for a while, redacting names in the cables. But then, "[t]he rest of the cables were published unredacted by WikiLeaks on 1 September 2011, after David Leigh and Luke Harding of The Guardian inadvertently published the passphrase for a file that was still online..." 
Also, who's to judge the quality of each release of info? Divulging the name of operatives would be a bad thing (Wikipedia says the state department had to relocate some people after the Cablegate leak), but not to pacifists who believe the US shouldn't be conducting secret ops overseas.
Define reputable. If his objective were to have talking heads bicker about it on CNN, then handing it over to WaPo or NYT would have been well-advised. If, on the other hand, he wanted real people to have access to the information so they could participate in an informed debate (which is what he said he wanted), then those outlets would have been a terrible place to go. Wikileaks could at least guarantee that the material would reach the public unaltered; the MSM could not.
He explains away his actions as an act of patriotism. He acknowledges the laws were broken and lives were endangered in order to accomplish his goals, but he acted anyway out of love for country. That sounds like similar logic that could be used to explain a lot of the action he revealed.
We are being forced to choose between realities.
Either his action is a noble one born of patriotism, or those that he revealed are.
Both sides are claiming to be right, noble and patriotic, and both sides see themselves as acting appropriately.
The question is which reality do we want to be true? which side do we want to be associated with and to support?
Pick your side, and see where that decision takes you.
There are no objective realities here. Just a personal decision regarding the reality we wish to support, encourage and stand with.
Of course, in this case you have patriotism used as a prop for furthering secret government and corporate objectives, or patriotism as a means to expose corruption and the authorized murder of civilians in a post-WWII world replete with the United Nations.
You be the judge.
Hopefully we can create some kind of planetary federation to keep a lid on this privacy/freedom shit before it gets too out of hand.
It kills me that Joss wrote one of the better "tree of liberty" quotes in recent memory ... maybe that's just where we're at as a culture:
"Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave."
But, he's misled: In simplest terms,
"War is hell.", and this is not news.
Germany bombed London and killed
mostly civilians. Japan bombed
Pearl Harbor, and civilians were a
large fraction of the deaths.
The US fire bombed Japan
and killed maybe 80,000 civilians
in one night and did that on many
nights. The two atom bombs killed
many more civilians. The US
and England bombed German cities
and created horrific conditions
for mostly civilians (although
often war production workers) maybe
best addressed just by hoping that
the deaths came quickly, which no
doubt often they didn't. Germany
attacked to the East all the way
to Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad
and likely killed many more civilians
than soldiers. Did I mention that
"Was is hell"? It is.
In Iraq, a civil war was going on,
and the US, to its credit, eventually stopped it,
but while it was going on no doubt
many Iraqis did all they could to
kill other Iraqis, and civilians
got caught in the crossfire.
Gitmo? Of course there is "due process",
as defined and executed by the US
DoD but, right, not as in the US
criminal justice system. We treated
them as prisoners of war out of
uniform or some such. That's the
form of "due process" they get
from the US DoD fighting a war.
Did we follow some statements of the
UN? Maybe not, but the UN wasn't
fighting the war, either.
As prisoners of war, in many
ways they are very well treated.
If the US were to let them go,
then a significant fraction of them
would attack the US again. Last
I read, it's costing the US $1
million per prisoner per year --
we are being very generous.
The poor guy just is not looking
We tortured those poor SoBs. We never torture PoWs. You know why? So that we have a reputation of never torturing PoWs, so that when our soldiers are captured, they stand a good chance of also not being tortured. That reputation has been obliterated, and for what, exactly? What accurate, actionable intelligence ever came from Gitmo? We have put our soldiers in very real danger for absolutely no gain whatsoever.
I hope to hell whatever real power we end up tangled with next can overlook our crimes and summon the basic human decency to treat its captured American soldiers with decency and respect.
But, the standards have long been that
easily a PoWs life can be so bad that
maybe usually there will be little
difference. Consider what the USSR
did to German prisoners -- marched off
to Siberia or some such and never heard
from again. North Korea did to US
prisoners in the Korean War? What
North Viet Nam did to Senator McCain?
And our torture was water boarding,
cold rooms, loud music?
Your "decency and respect" are
asking a bit much. Did I mention,
"War is hell"?
Supposedly at times prisoner interrogation
can yield quite useful results, but
you may be correct that from Gitmo
we didn't get much (at least that we
didn't already have).
But there is such a thing as a
dumb ass clusterfuck, or the older
FUBAR or SNAFU, and there's been
a lot of that since 9/11.
narrowly we elected W, and with
9/11 he and Cheney seemed to get all
super-hyper concerned about their
oaths of office to "protect and
defend the US", paid a bit too much
attention to threat scenarios of
Saddam putting a nuke in a cargo
ship, sending it to a major US port
city, and setting it off, etc.
Yes, it was a difficult threat
to evaluate -- small risk of a
As we know now, Saddam was talking about
WMDs mostly to scare his own people
and neighbors, and our intelligence
was so poor we didn't know better.
So, W/Cheney convinced themselves that
Saddam, definitely a bloody thug,
following Stalin, was a threat to the
US and that the US should invade
and occupy Iraq and set up a
democratic government and could do
so quickly for maybe $60 billion.
The guy who said $120 billion
or some such got fired. The guy
who said we'd need 500,000 troops
to occupy the country got fired.
Did I mention clusterfuck, FUBAR,
SNAFU? Saddam had told us that it
would be tough to hold the country
together. We didn't listen and,
instead, ignited essentially
a several sided civil war. By the
time we put down the civil war,
likely more Iraqis had died a
violent death, from us and/or
other Iraqis, per month and in total than
at any time under Saddam. We
killed, what, 5000+ US soldiers?
Seriously injured, what, 50,000+,
100,000+? Blew, what, net present value
$3 trillion? SNAFU? FUBAR?
There was a lot of really sick violence.
E.g., when an angry Shiite captured
a Sunni or an angry Kurd captured a
Shiite, or an angry Sunni captured
a Kurd, etc. new chapters in torture
could be drafted. And several US
workers where strung up from
So Manning didn't t like it. Easy enough
to understand -- I didn't like it, either.
But, W/Cheney were elected, about as
fairly as the US can manage. Of really
high importance, the US Congress
authorized Gulf War II and appropriated
the money for it. And the result was
a bloody mess: The people really
badly injured were the lucky ones
because they died quickly and, thus,
didn't suffer as much
before they died.
But, that was reality. It's not too
difficult to see just why it happened.
It's clearly what is likely to happen
in many situations of military action
and US national security. It's not
really a big surprise. I'm sorry
reality is like that, but in this
universe, in this solar system, on this
planet, now, that's the case. Heck,
there were bloody battles in the US
Civil War, Medieval wars, Roman
wars, etc. There's been plenty of
torture, as I recall, by some Spanish
Roman Catholics. Again, the lucky
ones were the ones who died
quickly. Death? There's been
a lot of that. Ugly? Once
I was reading the Bible and got
to where the pregnant women were
cut open, threw the book across
the room, and have not opened it
again since then.
For W/Cheney, as far as I can tell,
they were superficial,
silly, sloppy, stupid, etc. and put
in less thought and planning than
needed for a good Sunday BBQ.
The thing for a person to do is to try
to stay out of the way of such a huge
disaster. That's what Manning should
More generally all US mainstream
media and all US voters should
clearly understand that when
a politician starts talking
passionately about "protecting
the US" (translation: covering
his ass so that if something
happens don't blame him) and US
military action in foreign lands,
firing experts with skeptical
"to spread democracy, freedom, and
prosperity", see a big chance of
throwing away a lot of US blood
and treasure, ugly, violent deaths
of a lot of people "over there",
and a really big clusterfuck,
Track record: Korean war,
mixed. Viet Nam war, total
SNAFU, accomplished essentially
nothing good. Gulf War I,
pushed Saddam out of Kuwait
quickly and relatively cleanly.
Gulf War II, total clusterfuck
and will likely result in just a
Saddam II in Baghdad. Afghanistan,
smaller scale clusterfuck, essentially
nothing good. Syria, seed of
a total clusterfuck -- just add
Egypt, the US supplies
the Egyptian military, and they
keep down the radical Islamists,
don't attack Israel very much,
and keep the Suez canal open.
Comparing American torture to Korean or Russian torture is not the point. (The misbehavior of other countries doesn't excuse the misbehavior of ours.) The point is that, as a matter of policy, we do not torture because it doesn't provide usable information, and it gives enemies more reason to torture our troops when they capture them.
I carefully read the remainder of your reply. While I agree with one of your over-arching points (poorly lead large organizations in chaotic situations often produce sub-standard results), I don't see how the remainder of your reply relates to my condemnation of and furious anger toward those who destroyed our reputation as a country that humanely handles PoWs by ignoring centuries of history and research.
At some point, I will learn that HN is not the place for intelligent expression of political expression divergent from its denizens' norms.
Instead, we have a military that slaughters innocent people with zero accountability. Fuck that.
At some point, I will learn that many people just aren't capable of pulling the blinders off and realizing that killing thousands of innocent people every year without any sort of accountability is just complete lunacy.
Honestly, it seems like your definition of "intelligent" is "middle of the mainstream road." I can't really see how that holds up to tell you the truth.
A military "accountability" of individual conscience would essentially be a reversion to feudalism, with armed power first migrating to leaders based on visions of conscience, then deteriorating to coalitions of interest. And now you're back at "might makes right" but without any ethic to get you out.
Even granting we are killing thousands of innocents without accountability, Manning's statement is not a safe way out.
That was my point. I was returning the undue egoism.
> And now you're back at "might makes right" but without any ethic to get you out.
That's where we are right now. It's the definition of democracy (close enough to republican government for the pedants).
> Even granting we are killing thousands of innocents without accountability, Manning's statement is not a safe way out.
Anything that reduces our imperialistic tendencies is safer than allowing the imperialistic tendencies to grow. To throw it back at you: might doesn't make right.