‘Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to Live in a Free Society’ August 24, 2013Posted by rogerhollander in Criminal Justice, LGBT, Whistle-blowing, Wikileaks.
Tags: chelsea manning, david coombs, Guantanamo, Iraq war, roger hollander, torture, transgender, whistle blower, whistleblower, wikileaks
Roger’s note: We need to get used to calling her Chelsea and using the female pronouns. She is the same person as the one we have been calling Bradley Manning all this time. This statement of hers shows us the real Chelsea/Bradley Manning, someone of whom we can continue to be proud, a far cry from the “disturbed” soldier portrayed before the judge during the sentencing hearing. I can imagine the sniggers amongst the idiots of the right about the transgender nature of Chelsea Manning. Recently I came across this quote from Charles Bukowski: “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubt while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” Although this is a sweeping generalization, I see some truth to it. Note how the quote works by replacing the words “intelligent people” with “middle class liberals” and the words “stupid ones” with “bigoted tea party.”
The following is a rush transcript by Common Dreams of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley Manning* as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday following the announcement of his 35-year prison sentence by a military court:
The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on a traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
Manning invoked that late Howard Zinn, quoting, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people”
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.
*(Subsequent to this statement on the following day, Manning announced, via legal counsel, the desire to be regarded as a woman and to be called Chelsea, a request Common Dreams intends to honor moving forward.)