Chelsea Manning was not picked on or harassed because of her gender or identity; she was not bullied because she was small or appeared easily overpowered or dominated. No, Chelsea Manning was ostracized. Because some unknown in her character prevented her from ever truly entering into that covenant of self-sacrifice upon which collective group defense depends, she could not ever satisfactorily contribute to the welfare of the group. In a social schema where the defense of the group becomes the perpetual rationale for why the group should even continue existing, Chelsea Manning either could not or would not sacrifice enough of herself to inspire loyalty among comrades. Soldiers usually adopt these values in reaction to physical and emotional stressors, to the demands of group accountability, and to their dependency on the group for survival. For that reason, by the end of Basic Combat Training most grudges have been put aside, and any rivalries have abated; this happens exactly because Soldiers have by then learned those lessons in loyalty and self-sacrifice. Everybody learns those lessons.

    Everybody except …



johnnyFive:

What absolute nonsense. It's just an elaborate exercise in straw Manning -- if the intelligence community and military establishment can make it about the person, they don't have to get into the far stickier "shining a light on war crimes vs. keeping them secret" thing.

He takes one aspect of the defense argument, that Manning was ostracized in the military, acts like that was Manning's entire reason for doing what she did, and then says that's bullshit.

    What is not accurate is the false and felonious image of the U.S. military on which the defense of her conduct has been, at its root, predicated: that somehow everyone in her formative years in the military was practically part of a tribe of 6’2”, overly-aggressive Alpha males pumping testosterone out their pores who ganged up on the smallest in the group and tore her apart out of hyper-machismo intolerance...

"Felonious" is a word that has no business in this sentence. But again, it's a meaningless argument. He cops out by saying that the idea that "everyone" was this alpha male type is wrong. That's fine, but even if that's true, how does that refute Manning's assertions? Notice too how he fails to mention that higher ups in the military said Manning shouldn't have been sent to Iraq (from the Guardian link Huwieler himself posted).

Moreover, he's failed to address any other possible motivations, such as the ones actually espoused by Manning:

    These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives—with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them—then it's difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.

Which was confirmed by a psychiatrist who evaluated Manning during the court martial:

    Well, Pfc Manning was under the impression that his leaked information was going to really change how the world views the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and future wars, actually. This was an attempt to crowdsource an analysis of the war, and it was his opinion that if ... through crowdsourcing, enough analysis was done on these documents, which he felt to be very important, that it would lead to a greater good ... that society as a whole would come to the conclusion that the war wasn't worth it ... that really no wars are worth it.

But again, that would require the government to justify its secrecy and the underlying actions, which is much harder. It's far easier to write a hit piece on the person's character (that she's transgender makes that even easier). That way they can take advantage of the "ick" factor in so many people's minds too. Plus you get plenty of those sweet, sweet page views.


posted by thenewgreen: 664 days ago