Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » If Found Guilty, Bradley Manning Deserves a Very Long Prison Sentence

If Found Guilty, Bradley Manning Deserves a Very Long Prison Sentence

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter1Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

PFC Manning recently testified and described his imprisonment since his arrest. Some, perhaps most, of my fellow left wing liberals in the progressive media are protesting with righteous indignation the imprisonment and treatment of PFC Bradley Manning for his release of over 200,000 classified documents to Wikileaks.

I cannot say that he gets no sympathy from me; he was a young soldier who knew full well that he had sworn a solemn oath to not do what he did, and the training he had received had to include just how vital is the protection of our national secrets. While I feel sorry for Manning, it is necessary, repeat, necessary, that if he is found guilty, he be made an example of to the military intelligence community and receive the full weight of military justice. There will be those who read this who will feel outraged at the notion, but it is necessary.

Why? I’ll try to make it simple. When one reads classified material, the first thing one thinks is “How the heck can this be classified? This is stupid!” That’s certainly what I thought when I first started reading classified traffic about this or that routine purchase of parts, or about routine maintenance on machinery as simple as an electrical generator or a passenger vehicle engine. Why someone would classify something as mundane as that was beyond me, but it was classified and I treated it as such.

But after a while something clicked, when I remembered something I learned in the sixth grade. Back in WWII, the stage for our victory at the Battle of Midway was set by our intentional leak of classified material concerning the repair of a water desalination machine. That’s right: a simple freaking water desalination machine. By leaking that message to the Japanese, we knew they were targeting Midway and we were able to send our carrier fleet there for the single most important naval victory in American history.

Was there anything included in that mass of over 200,000 classified messages, which included not only DOD traffic but diplomatic traffic as well, that was so important? None of us this side of the State Department and the CIA will ever know. That is, none of us, including PFC Bradley Manning. You see, Manning almost certainly could not have had the time to read all those messages, and as a relatively low-level functionary he certainly did not have the wherewithal to be able to determine the importance (or lack thereof) of each message. But you know what? China does have that wherewithal, the time, resources, ability, and political will to determine the worth of those messages. So do Russia, Iran, and every other nation that doesn’t like America, and it is a certainty that every one of those nations eagerly pored over those messages, particularly the diplomatic ones, to identify domestic informants and U.S. spies, and to determine U.S. intelligence capabilities in their own nations.

There are probably some here who don’t realize how important those intelligence capabilities are, but the two greatest factors in our victory in WWII were the epic struggle in the USSR, and Western intelligence. Our intelligence enabled us to call the Soviet Union’s bluff in the Cuban Missile Crisis, allowed Nixon to open China, gave us clear warning several times of Osama bin Laden’s intentions (which Bush flatly ignored), and kept us on the winning side in the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Most recently, Syria just cut off all internet access to their nation. Our intelligence agencies knew that was coming and, in advance, provided communications equipment to the Syrian rebels to keep the information pipeline open.

Sun Tzu is one of the most influential military thinkers in history. He considered intelligence crucial to the function of the state. It was so then, and it is so now. For anyone who doubts the importance of a nation’s intelligence community, read this page on the CIA website. Failures to listen to intelligence led directly to the near-total destruction of the Soviet armies in the opening months of WWII, and to the fall of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. A robust intelligence capability is crucial to the survival of a nation.

It is that intelligence capability which PFC Bradley Manning endangered through his stupidity and ignorance. The only factor which should save him from life in prison is that there was apparently no malice towards America intended on his part. As I said, I feel sorry for the kid; he saw injustice and thought he was doing the right thing, but by his actions he may very well have enabled far greater injustice. He should have honored the oath he took. He willfully violated that oath and is paying, and will continue to pay, the price for his violation.

What most people who want to stand up for Manning don’t realize is that he is not alone in standing up for injustice committed by the military; we very nearly had one such protester as president: John Kerry. But there are ways to go about such protests, and there are lines one must not cross. I very nearly lost my career because I blew the whistle and embarrassed people who didn’t take kindly to my impertinence, so I can understand to an extent what was going through Manning’s mind. The difference lay in that he went far beyond the pale and very likely endangered lives, not only of US agents, but also of informants guilty of nothing more than trying to stand up for injustice within their own nations.

It is for all these reasons that it is necessary that if found guilty, PFC Bradley Manning must pay in full for the crimes he committed; not only for justice for those he endangered, but also as an object lesson to everyone else within the intelligence community. A lesson that teaches that, even when one sees injustice, for the good of all, there are lines one must not cross.

Powered by

About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • Nick

    You are out of your mind and should be fired instantly for the content of this article. Such a shame that unconscious, foul-minded individuals like you are even given the chance for your atrocious words to be heard or read on this planet. You are a disgrace to humanity, and to the truth. I hope that one day you recieve the karma that is due to you for writing this blasphemous piece of beguiled trash. So very sad.

  • edward c. stengel

    If found guilty, he deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor for exposing the terrorist acts of his own government. It’s the people running our country who should be on trial for treason, not PFC Bradley Manning.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Nick and Ed –

    Do both of you think it’s okay to endanger our intelligence agents and their informants? Do either of you have any clue how crucial our intelligence agencies are, and what role they’ve played in our history, in world history? Apparently not.

    And Ed –

    It’s the people running our country who should be on trial for treason, not PFC Bradley Manning.

    I would strongly agree that Dick Cheney and everyone else involved in the Plame case be put on trial for precisely that, for that’s what they committed. Same thing goes for everyone involved in Iran-Contra, for that matter. And George W. Bush should be standing in front of the World Court at The Hague on war crimes trials, to boot.

    But if either of you can show me how what Manning did made it okay to endanger our intel agents risking their lives in the field, then please, go ahead!

    Oh, and welcome to Blogcritics!

  • troll

    while it would seem that Glenn’s reasoning is sound if the intention is to maintain the status quo in international relations and the perception of law’s legitimacy can we conceive of a realpolitik based on our ‘better natures’?

    maybe the re-emerging meme ‘reciprocity’ holds a clue

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    I’d love to see the day that we don’t need spies anymore, that wars are no longer deemed necessary. Indeed, even given the Rwandan genocide and our wars in the Middle East, the past twenty years is – relatively speaking – the most peaceful two decades in human history. We may very well have reached a point where the most powerful nations have realized that wars against other major powers simply isn’t worth the cost. But as long as there are people who are destitute, downtrodden, discriminated against, and don’t know where their next meal is coming from, there will be terrorism, tragic attacks where many people die, and, yes, wars…and there will always be those who will take advantage of such people and use them for their own political, power-driven ends.

    And because of that, we will always need spies and informants and a robust intelligence community to support them, and we will need to give them them the protection they need.

    Not only that, even among the major ‘peaceful’ powers, industrial espionage is much more prevalent than ever before…and witness the number of cyber-attacks most governments and major corporations undergo every single day. This is called ‘progress’.

    As I said, we’ll always need a robust intelligence community. As long as some people desire power over others, we’ll need that intelligence community.

    troll, you know I’m quite liberal. I pity Manning – I believe he did not do what he did out of malice towards anyone. BUT he almost certainly put at great risk many who live in the shadows who put their lives on the line for the rest of us. He’s got to pay the price, not least for the sake of serving as an object lesson to the rest of the intelligence community.

  • troll

    Glenn – always and forever sounds like a long long time

    …you point out elsewhere that what you call ‘human drives’ are subject to change – perhaps this holds for domination

    ‘be the change’ – right?

    (as you know already I take little comfort in the notion of ‘relative peacefulness’ which seems absurd and regressive in the face of modern hunger and our degraded environment)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    Feel free to point out any twenty-year period in human history where some major war or genocide or great persecution of some kind wasn’t going on. I can’t think of one – you might well be able to prove me wrong…but when you do, remember that I used the word ‘relatively’. We have to discuss this in relative terms.

    And do you really believe that there will come a time when there will not be humans with desire for power and domination? Do you really? Come now, troll, I think you know the human animal better than that. You’re too intelligent to think that the drive for power isn’t at least to some extent a crucial part of our psychological makeup.

    In the comment on another thread to which you refer, I gave concrete examples that seem to share a distinctly common thread, and I gave the best explanation I could think of since I don’t think the examples fall afoul of the correlation/causation fallacy. Feel free to refute it if you can.

  • troll

    Glenn – (good morning)

    1 it’s your terms that I object to

    2 I know human animals well enough to recognize that errors can attend regarding drives as completed rather than as things in the process of becoming – constructively developing delimited by social context

    3 this awarness of process underlies your explanation as it would any satisfactory alternative

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    Good morning to you, too.

    (1) – So what terms would you prefer that would still serve to address the observations presented? I try to be open-minded – I won’t quibble over words as long as the words others prefer work just as well.

    (2) – Are you saying, then, that people are choosing not to be a part of social/fraternal/religious/political organizations because they have a ‘completed drive’? Please clarify.

    (3) – Again, please clarify…and I may have already addressed that in a small way when I stated: I suspect the reason lay in a ‘perfect storm’, if you will, of lack of free time, societal pressures, increase in overall prosperity, the mass media (for the early days of the decline), and particularly the internet (for today). Might that “increase in overall prosperity” be the ‘completed drive’ that you referred to? If so, then the same ‘uncompleted drive’ could be identified in poorer nations, don’t you think?

  • troll

    1 in this case – measures of peacefulness – I would accept terms that don’t subsume individuals as quantifiable data but rather incorporate the criterion of ‘if it works at all it works for all’

    thus one ‘appropriate’ measure of peacefulness would be %/gdp invested in weapons

    2 no – rather that their choices reflect changing drives

    3 I would agree that prosperity and poverty impact drives…psychologically speaking that is

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Glenn, you seem to have an odd idea that “underdeveloped” nations want to become “developed” nations or that ancient wisdom somehow lacks when compared to modern wisdom, that a human being continues to remain unformed. While there may be some truth to this, paying homage here, I suppose, to the popular idea that man continues to evolve, you err in the opposite direction. And it surely suits the propaganda on the part of “developed” nations.

    Troll, as I see it, was giving you a long rope when he admitted the notion of “uncompleted drives” into the discussion. The recent lack of participation in religious, political and social organizations, to which you alluded to in a comment to my own article, is an example of what I have in mind. Instead of seeing it as an instance of the modern man becoming whole and complete, I suggest is more reflective of a return to the old (because of our disenchantment with the corrupt forms of the new).

  • C.A.S.

    You Hippies are not getting the point here. He broke the law and needs to be punished. Should we let anyone just walk, when they steal classified info? It doesnt matter what it exposes, or the fact that hes gay,etc. He is a grown man who knowingly broke the law! I dont even agree with the wars,supporting Israel, or foreign Aid, until our country is on its feet. Aslong as we have 1 homeless person, not a dollar should be given in foreign aid,let alone giving money to Syrian rebels or arms to Israel. We help rebuild Haiti, Indonesia, etc, while most of New Orleans is still a dump. Eventhough im againt big govt, I am for punishing law breakers. And the law he broke is several hundred yrs old, not some new BS secruity law! The only ppl who think he did nothing wrong, are the same ppl who do NOT have the capacity to process a complete situation and act solely on biased, uncontrolled emotion. Just remember, no matter how hard you bitch, this criminal is going away for a very long time….So go back to your legalization of pot ptotests or move to Canada. We wont miss ya :)

  • troll

    …..not to worry CAS – he is well and truly fucked

    I suspect that a jail break will be the only way to FREE BRADLY MANNING

  • troll

    …and Bradley too

  • religion=HATE

    troll- Why are you on here rambling about psycology, trying to sound intelligent, when any educated person can see you are just out talking yourself? Its quite funny and a common practice by ppl whom are not born with the intelligent capacity they believe they are, but are well read. Thus just repeating things they have read, instead of self produced theory. They type of human development you speak of, is 1000s of yrs in the future of the natural order of man. What you speak of is a pipedream. Your greed is as big as any mans…..unless you own nothing, live 100% off the grid, with no need for currency

  • C.A.S.

    Troll- I highly doubt a jail break will be possible where he ends up. Ive been to our County Jail here, and that was built like an impenitrible fortress! I do feel bad he ruined his life so young.

  • troll

    well HATE while we disagree on timelines at least we agree that the type of development I’m talking about is possible in the long run

    and I certainly agree that minimalism is something of a positive meditation

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    troll, just thought you might like to know that “religion=HATE2 and “C.A.S.” share an IP address…

    It’s always quite funny when people criticise others as lacking education when their comments are littered with spelling and grammatical errors!

  • troll

    I wonder if they’re dating

  • Glenn Contrarian

    To those who want to free Bradley Manning –

    If that’s what you really think, first tell me why you feel why he shouldn’t pay the price for doing something which almost certainly endangered some (or many) of our intel agents and informants all across the world. Tell me why you think that’s not a big deal.

    And I’ll agree that people like CAS and his or her alter ego above should be ignored.

  • troll

    Glenn – assuming Manning’s demonstrated guilt – do you see any judicial road that leads to his release or a light sentence?

    the question in my mind is how did this kid get a ts/sci clearance…snafu

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    1. The government can’t give him too light a sentence for the reasons I listed in my article. OTOH, they can’t give him too harsh a sentence because of all those who IMO don’t grasp the magnitude of his alleged crimes. So I figure he’ll get a moderate sentence, say, 10-15 years. Again, don’t get me wrong – I don’t think he had an ounce of malice in him (which normally counts a great deal IMO)…but what he allegedly did is inexcusable.

    2. Anyone who has a spotless record both prior to and during their military service and has demonstrated reliability and competence can get a TS clearance. John Walker had a spotless record and a TS clearance, too – and he became a spy working for the Soviets. His case has been described as the most damaging espionage against the U.S. military in history. I don’t think I need to tell you what the rest of us in the Navy – including me, at the time – would have liked to do to him.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, some reality bites – you’re not left wing; you’re not liberal; it wasn’t “our victory” in WWII unless you mean the Allied forces of which the USA was just a (mostly mercenary) part; the winning side in most Arab Spring revolutions is more hostile to the USA than the regimes they replaced; the Syrian rebels are also not pro-American, so you are probably aiding your enemies; as far as we know nothing Bradley Manning did endangered the USA’s intelligence capabilities; breaking an oath of service for moral or ethical reasons is acceptable behaviour; “but by his actions he may very well have enabled far greater injustice” is simply speculation on your part; so is your assertion that he “very likely endangered lives” as there is no evidence of that; there is no such thing as “lines one must not cross”; there is more than one recent US president that has done more to harm the USA and nobody is proposing they be charged with anything.

    As far as we know Bradley Manning embarrassed the United States, nothing more, and the country is scapegoating him as part of its oppressive control of its population and allies.

  • troll

    Glenn – the story I’ve read is that the kid generally viewed as quirky washed out of basic and was recycled through due to his IT skills

    his superiors showed exceptionally poor judgment putting sensitive info in his hands – story goes that they had even questioned whether sending him to Iraq was a good idea

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    Either way, the kid slipped through the cracks. If he did what he did, he has to pay the price and serve as an example.

  • Cindy

    I will go with what Christopher Rose said in #23.

  • troll

    …..the documents are probably part of a nasty disinformation campaign cooked up by the CFR with logistical support from the Masons anyway

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    I’ll never denigrate England’s part in the war – but England didn’t win it. Even America and England together could not have won it. The Soviet Union would have won it by themselves without our help.

    That said, while England had more ‘skin in the game’ than we did (by virtue of being under direct threat of invasion), if it hadn’t been for America, the western Allies could never have invaded France, and all of the continent would have wound up under Communism.

    When it comes to what Manning did or did not do, Chris, you yourself have zero experience in the military. You might have a friend or two, but you have zero experience therein. Just as I will never gainsay Clavos or Dave for their combat experience, you should have enough self-awareness to know that you cannot know what military service is like, and why we call it ‘service’.

    If you’d read my article, you’d find why we’ll likely never know the damage Manning did, because any such damage that the government allowed to come to public knowledge would only further expose and endanger operations, agents, and informers in those areas. If you had as much as a clue as you seem to believe, you’d understand this already.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, as I didn’t say England won it, your remark is as pointless as it is absurd. You have absolutely no way of knowing that the Soviet Union would have won it, again you are just projecting…

    And, as you have been told many times before but are apparently incapable of retaining the information, I DO have military experience, so please stop making up your little fantasies and then pretending they are real, it just makes you look silly.

    I HAVE read your article, that’s why I was able to include rebuttals of your various claims in my comment! Do you ever actually pay attention to the facts in reality as opposed to your own beliefs and presumptions? Sheesh!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    I remember pointedly asking you your military experience, but I don’t remember you EVER telling me that you did have such experience. I do remember you telling me you had a friend in the military, but that’s about it.

    So if you did have military experience and posted it, I didn’t read it – and this may come as a surprise to you, but you should not ASSUME that everyone sees everything you post.

    This is my article, so please post your military experience, and I’ll make sure I see it.

    That said, I didn’t say that you said England won the war. I had hoped you’d have understood the context that we – America and England combined – could not have won that war by ourselves. The USSR would have. And apparently you didn’t pay enough attention to how aggressively the Soviets wanted to expand their empire – I do remember very well, because they supplied pilots and aircraft in both Korea and Vietnam; they tried to foment revolutions (often through their proxies in Cuba) in much of South America and Africa; they did their best to infiltrate England, too (see Philby, Kim). Their whole history from WWII until the mid-1980’s was one of belligerence. To be fair, America did many things that were war crimes and we played just as dirty as they did – but the Cold War was still a war, and the Soviets did their damnedest short of declaring war on the U.S. to spread their empire throughout the world.

    For you to ASSUME that if they had taken the whole of Germany while Germany still held France, that the Soviets would have let German-occupied France simply go back to being France without installing a Soviet-controlled puppet government just like they did in every one of the Eastern Bloc nations…that, Chris, is the very height of naivete.

    Is this actual courtroom-worthy evidence that the Soviets would have taken France? No…BUT I guess the existence of the Iron Curtain didn’t get your attention – their actions in every other nation where their troops set foot give a very, very good idea what they would have done in France. Okay, Chris? There’s times you make good points – but this isn’t one of them.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    One does not have to have military experience to have an opinion. That is like saying one must have been a Republican to criticize a Republican.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Very true, and well said. But by the same token, the one stating the opinion should realize that without direct experience, one must bring something extra to the table – evidence, historical record, testimony from others who do have experience, and so forth – to make up for their own lack of experience, don’t you think?

    I mean, sure, Cindy – everyone has a right to their own opinion…but the opinions of those with experience count more, and so it should be incumbent upon those without experience to go the extra mile to make their case.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    I do understand what you are saying. For example, I am not a male, and thus, I can imagine what it is like to be a male but I cannot know what it is like. That said, I can still critique what the culture decides maleness should be.

    I do not have to actually BE a male to argue against rape.

    Now, when you consider my position on domination and its lack of necessity (It is needed as much as a Scientologist needs a Xenu.), then you might see that I do not approve of men or women going into the military in the first place.

    And if you think that those in the military, STILL have more important opinions, then I will have to, once more agree with Christopher Rose, since he has been in the military, and I am in complete agreement with him, I will allow the importance of his his opinion to replace that of mine (for your satisfaction).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    I can understand your pacifistic preference – I really can. Problem is, if America were to suddenly turn pacifistic and get rid of its military tomorrow, do you really think China would do the same? Or would they suddenly become much more belligerent? If their past conduct is any indication, very much the latter.

    In other words, the military – as with the police force – is a necessary evil. Domination may not be necessary in your view, but that doesn’t count for much when there’s power-hungry people who really do want to dominate you and everyone else…so whether you like it or not, you NEED the military and the police for your protection.

    This sorta reminds me of that poor girl who went to protest the Israeli oppression of the Gaza Strip (and yes, I agree that’s what it is) and got crushed by a bulldozer. The people felt it was sad, but also that she was being stupid for getting in the way.

    And before I give Chris any credit, I want to hear what his experience is – as I said above, I seem to remember him claiming that his experience lay in his having a friend or two in the military and they told him this or that…but that’s not experience and will never count as such. When he tells me what his experience was, I may need to ask a question or two, but I’ll know whether he’s on the up-and-up.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Perhaps if the “people” of both countries stood together, Glenn, even in the face of the impossible; perhaps if the Chinese people stood for your wife’s right to live and you stood for their childrens’ right to live, we could go beyond what governments could do. Governments and peoples interests are not necessarily one and the same. Perhaps you are “siding” with the wrong players. I wonder how that might happen.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The police have done more harm to me and mine than any civilian, Glenn. Perhaps you should have a taste of my experience before you decide what I need.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Don’t get me wrong, I do not blame any individual police person. I have met individuals who are good apples. But for the most part I have met not so good police people.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Try living someplace without any police presence before you say you don’t need police around – there’s a lot of people in Africa who know what that’s like.

    And again, I can appreciate the pacifistic point of view – but as long as there are evil men in this world, we’ll need police…and as long as evil men make themselves leaders of nations, we’ll need a military. I wish it didn’t have to be that way, too. I’d personally love to dump every gun – and bomb and artillery piece and sword and spear – into the nearest smelter (and then I’d go watch Saving Private Ryan or The Untouchables or The Expendables again – I am a guy, after all)…

    …but as long as there are evil men in this world, we’ll need what is necessary to stop them…and all too often, innocent people will be caught in the crossfire.

    Cindy, It’s a point of pride to me that during my military career I never had to draw a firearm in anger or in the line of duty. I don’t want my sons to join because I know what they may face. But I am responsible for my family – I must be able to protect them, and so I must know and accept the reality of the evil men in this world.

    Again, as long as there are evil men, we’ll need what is necessary to stop them.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I don’t want my sons to join because I know what they may face.

    Okay. Let’s start with that. My hope for you, because I do understand you are coming from a “good heart”, that is, you are very sincere and really imo want to do the right thing….is that you try on another pov some time. Not now. But some time.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Okay – we’ll go with that, and please accept my sincere thanks!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Thanks?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh, the “good heart” assessment? Yes, that is true, I believe you have a good heart. Just, I wonder, whose sons (or daughters) do you want to join?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    That comes from the ‘serenity prayer’ – you know, the one that says we should change what we can, don’t change what we can’t, and try our best to know the difference between the two. I know that’s one thing I won’t be able to change, so why try? My efforts can be much more effective in other directions.

    For what it’s worth, my oldest son is from my wife’s first marriage and I wasn’t able to teach him as I’d have preferred, but I told my youngest son a long time ago that I want him to learn two things – how to be happy, and how to adapt. That, and I’ve taught him that having gratitude in all things and malice towards none is the path to that happiness.

    I’ve watched with deep, deep pride as I’ve seen him tell me and others why this or that other troubled person might be so prone to trouble – he never assumes that the other person is simply a bad person, but that something made them that way, and he holds no malice towards them, but only pity. He’s a lot better young man than I ever was.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, your memory is playing tricks on you – I’d seriously consider medical advice or therapy if I were you.

    I can only respond to what you actually write; unlike you I have no experience with magical thinking so can’t make up a context to fill in what you meant as opposed to what you said. Please try to articulate more clearly and maybe you’ll write less nonsense.

    The latest of your puerile ravings is your attempt at patronising me with your lecture about “For you to ASSUME that if they had taken the whole of Germany while Germany still held France”. As I said nothing about that at all, you have once again simply made up a load of complete shite, so please get a fucking grip!

    There are very occasional times when your comments at least make some sense, but neither this article or any of the comments addressed to me are even coherent, let alone persuasive.

    Cindy, Glenn often tries to use that kind of argument; it’s a faithist thing, you can’t understand or comment if you don’t belong. It’s one of the many tactics he uses to try and shape and control arguments, especially when he is losing them.

    It is actually embarrassing to see him attempting to defend such manipulative tactics, as if experience on its own in some way automatically brings with it expertise, understanding or clarity. If that were the case there would be no bad drivers…

    Reading on, Glenn, you are even more deluded than I thought you were if you think for one minute that I am going to justify or “prove” my military experience to you. As your raddled little mind can’t retain information and prefers to believe what it wants (and please spare us from any repeats of your bogus assertions that you “at least admit when you are wrong”), you are totally mistaken if you think that I want or need any “credit” from you or that I give a flying fuck whether a deluded loon like you thinks I am “on the up-and-up”. You can either believe what I am telling you or drop dead for all I care.

    Moving on, your rant about needing the military or the police does at least have some substance to it, but that by no means justifies the aggressive military posturing of the West or the aggressive policing of its citizens that the USA and many other so called free countries are increasingly introducing. The USA still has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, to say nothing of its fondness for killing people in the name of justice.

    It is entirely possible to have a defensive military posture – and please avoid the temptation to trot out any banalities about a good offence being a good defence – and a protective police structure – if you want to, that is, but the USA is trying to assert control, both abroad and at home, and that never works. In politics as in family life, a light touch is often the better strategy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielskibnb

    … your rant about needing the military or the police does at least have some substance to it, but that by no means justifies the aggressive military posturing of the West or the aggressive policing of its citizens that the USA and many other so called free countries are increasingly introducing. #44

    Precisely. That’s how Glenn fudges his “argument” by moving on from (1) personal self-defense to (2) community’s need to protect itself to (3) justifying the US aggressive stance.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    unlike you I have no experience with magical thinking

    Hm. Let me see here. The Soviets installed puppet governments in East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and Yugoslavia, but it’s ‘magical thinking’ for me to posit that they would have done the same in France if we hadn’t been able to invade and free France before the Soviets made it to Berlin.

    Sure, Chris, if you say so.

    It is actually embarrassing to see him attempting to defend such manipulative tactics, as if experience on its own in some way automatically brings with it expertise, understanding or clarity. If that were the case there would be no bad drivers

    Really? Gee, that means that I no longer need to go to an experienced auto mechanic to get my car fixed – I can just go get some high school kid to do it!

    Chris, your argument – and your insults – evince a substantial amount of insecurity, of the need to be defensive. Those who do have long years of experience rarely have need for such. Look at Clavos – he and I agree only rarely, but I never question his experience – I don’t need to. When he posts his own experience, it has the ring of truth. Sure, he’ll include an insult here or there, but he speaks with a measure of gravitas. That’s why, even though I disagree with him in so many areas, I listen to him, and he knows it. You should learn from him.

    you are even more deluded than I thought you were if you think for one minute that I am going to justify or “prove” my military experience to you.

    Like I said, I seem to remember you stating that your experience was that you had a friend or two in the military. Until you say otherwise, I’ll stick with that…particularly since you seem to believe that one’s experience doesn’t count for much.

    but that by no means justifies the aggressive military posturing of the West or the aggressive policing of its citizens that the USA and many other so called free countries are increasingly introducing.

    By your logic, if we took our carriers and whatnot and parked them all back stateside, China would not even think about invading Taiwan or taking the oil-rich Spratly Islands. North Korea wouldn’t consider ending the 60-odd year-old cease fire between themselves and South Korea. There wouldn’t be open war in the Middle East between Israel and the Arab nations (even though Israel is led by an idiot and supported by idiot neo-cons stateside)…and that war, if Israel were losing it, would never go nuclear. And we certainly don’t belong in Africa helping in the search for the leader of the “Lord’s Resistance Army”. Yes, Chris, all the fears of those of us with experience is just ‘magical thinking’.

    Chris, there’s a lot of places we should not be in – I wouldn’t begin to dispute that. I’d love to see us pull out of England, Germany, Italy, and Spain – except for logistic support for other areas, we really don’t need to be in those places. But there are places where we are needed. A great example is Japan – the people of Okinawa don’t want us there and I can’t blame them. But the government doesn’t want us to leave – the recent diplomatic row between them and China over a few islands is but one reason why. Diplomacy is but the velvet glove over the mailed fist – you should bear that in mind.

    The USA still has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, to say nothing of its fondness for killing people in the name of justice.

    You and I are in complete and utter agreement of America’s idiocy and outright evil on this matter.

    It is entirely possible to have a defensive military posture – and please avoid the temptation to trot out any banalities about a good offence being a good defence – and a protective police structure – if you want to, that is, but the USA is trying to assert control, both abroad and at home, and that never works. In politics as in family life, a light touch is often the better strategy.

    Chris, I’ve stated before that England’s forgotten more about running an empire than America’s ever learned. I agree that a light touch is often the better strategy – but ‘often’ is not synonymous with ‘always’.

    Look back on history, Chris, at all the great empires of antiquity. Whenever an empire stood alone at the apex of power within what it felt was the known world, was that empire known for using a ‘light touch’? Not to my knowledge – even England, when the sun never set on her Empire, could not lay claim to having a ‘light touch’ – and we should all be eternally grateful that she didn’t! Why? Because if England hadn’t kept an aggressive posture, would Elizabeth have been able to send Drake to stand up to the Spanish Armada? Would Nelson (one of my personal heroes) have been able to intimidate the Spanish and French fleets with mere rumors of his presence before bringing them to heel at Trafalgar? Would Wellington have been able to end at Waterloo Napoleon’s dreams of replicating the Norman conquest of the British Isles? Would the British Navy squadrons have been able to cow the much larger Italian navy in the Mediterranean in WWII? They did nearly as much damage with 20 biplanes at Taranto as the Japanese did with 350 more modern warplanes at Pearl Harbor!

    Such actions as these, Chris, could only have been accomplished by a nation that knew how to be aggressive. Sometimes that aggression took on darker aspects as well – you probably know more about the Opium War than I do, but we both know that’s a classic example of the aggression of empire, as were most of England’s acquisitions in its race to keep up with world colonization by the continental powers.

    Chris, if history is any guide, the ONLY reason that England is not as aggressive as America is that they no longer have the wherewithal to do so. The same pattern fits every great empire of antiquity. What America needs to do is to learn from England how to back off from empire with grace and dignity – that’s the lesson Kipling told us we needed to learn in his brilliantly devastating White Man’s Burden.

    Chris, America’s faults are legion – but so were England’s, and so I don’t feel too bad.

    One last thing – to us Americans, the English have almost a national tradition of being able to insult intelligently, in such a way that the insulted feels chastised but is unable to issue a proper retort. Doc Dreadful is quite handy with this ability, but you haven’t developed it yet. You’re using your insults like a shotgun blast, hoping that one or more pellets of spite will leave a lasting mark.

    There’s an old saying – those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach. I can’t insult worth a damn and I know it. But as for you, if you simply must do so, then know that insults would be a lot more effective if you used them as a sniper rifle instead of as a shotgun. Look at is as a form of discipline – any discipline that is used too often becomes much less effective. The rarely-used insult becomes much more effective and makes a lasting example of the insulted. I hope that helps

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just got to get back to my Magical Mystery Thinking Tour.

  • troll

    …….so Glenn – have you had time to consider whether or not the way forward in our ‘peacefulness dialog’ I offered up thread works for you?

  • Dr Dreadful

    No, the USSR would not have been able to defeat Germany alone. Hitler’s number one aim was to destroy the Soviet state, and the technological and tactical superiority of his military, especially in the early stages of the eastern campaign, was almost embarrassing. The Soviets were losing, and losing badly, until British victories on the western front and the entry of the United States into the war took some of the pressure off them.

    Also, Glenn, your #46 is a spectacular example of what Chris is talking about. You’ve spent goodness knows how much time and brain effort constructing a 14-paragraph refutation of something he didn’t even say in the first place.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, as you insist upon piling imaginary false scenario upon “statement I never made” ad infinitum, I am truly at a loss as to how to respond to your mindless diatribes.

    Your entire #46 is a classic example of advanced meaninglessness, speculation, miscomprehension and outright misrepresentation, compounded by a shockingly poor and inaccurate attempt at amateur psychology on your part so I can not in good faith respond to it.

    I will point out though that I haven’t insulted you once. Everything I have written is direct and responsive, whereas you just simply make shit up and talk complete nonsense – not an insult, a fact!

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Thanks for that, Doc, maybe he’ll believe you as he clearly can’t bring himself to believe me!

  • Dr Dreadful

    I also think my memory is better than Glenn’s. Chris was in the British Army when he was young and impetuous. I seem to recall him saying that he didn’t like it and served only the minimum term of enlistment, which I believe is, or was at the time, two years.

  • Igor

    The nice thing about recounting history is that the path leads inexorably to todays situation. That’s comforting to the extent that one is comfortable with today.

    I’m comfortable with today, but only because I’m adaptable and I have amassed some skills and resources. Like some dragon that has transmuted thru evolution to a bird.

    All the striving, all the claims of achievement. All dust.

    IIRC, the last lines of Sandburgs fine poem “The cool Tombs”:

    Do any get more than the lovers,
    in the tombs,
    in the cool tombs?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    It’s not often I strongly disagree with you, but this one qualifies.

    No, the USSR would not have been able to defeat Germany alone. Hitler’s number one aim was to destroy the Soviet state, and the technological and tactical superiority of his military, especially in the early stages of the eastern campaign, was almost embarrassing. The Soviets were losing, and losing badly, until British victories on the western front and the entry of the United States into the war took some of the pressure off them.

    Not true. The victory at El Alamein was Britain’s decisive land battle in the west, and it wasn’t complete until November 6th 1942 – by then the Germans were battling for the tank factory in Stalingrad. The Soviet counterattack – Operation Uranus – began on November 19th 1942. AFAIK there were no forces that were diverted by the Germans from the Southern Front in the USSR to the Mediterranean.

    What’s more, the Battle of Moscow – which resulted in another million casualties – was one of the largest of the war and may have been as big or bigger than the Battle of Stalingrad…and it was over by January 1942.

    In other words, by the time El Alamein was decided, the Germans had been stopped cold on all three fronts by the Soviets, and the counterattack was about to take place. I stand by my statement that the Soviets would have won anyway, with or without England’s and America’s help – though one could say that through his micromanagement and failure to know his enemy, the Soviets couldn’t have won without Hitler’s help.

    Also, Glenn, your #46 is a spectacular example of what Chris is talking about. You’ve spent goodness knows how much time and brain effort constructing a 14-paragraph refutation of something he didn’t even say in the first place.

    Doc, this was a continuation of an argument that Chris and I had had on a different thread, where he maintained that I had no reason to assume that the Soviets would have taken France and held continental Europe. That – and not so much the current thread – is why I argued as I did. You couldn’t have known about that, of course.

    Furthermore, I still don’t remember Chris ever telling me of his service, even though I had asked him more than once. He said that he told posted it…but it’s as I said in a comment earlier, that one should not assume that one’s comment is read until a reply is made to that comment. If he’d told me that he had spent two mostly unsatisfactory years as a Tommy, I’d have believed him – he wouldn’t have had to justify it at all, for I can see the proof of it all over his comments (though probably not in the way you would think).

    So if you want to call me guilty of going overboard, sure, I probably am. It won’t be the first time or the last. My defense would probably be the same general vein as Patton’s retort about Montgomery in the movie: “I know I’m a prima donna. I admit it. What I can’t stand about Monty is, he won’t admit it.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Doc –

    I also think my memory is better than Glenn’s.

    Quoted for truth – my memory is famously faulty and I’ll never deny it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    I will point out though that I haven’t insulted you once. Everything I have written is direct and responsive, whereas you just simply make shit up and talk complete nonsense – not an insult, a fact!

    Sure, if you say so. The knowledge that you spent two unhappy years in the Army told me a great deal in addition to explaining much of your bitterness and spite towards me…and for your sake, I hope that someday you’ll comprehend the understanding I now have of you.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, it’s not just your memory that is faulty, it’s your perception too.

    Doc didn’t say that I had two unhappy years in the army, he just said I didn’t like it.

    That has nothing at all to do with what I am saying to you, which is that you are incapable of comprehending simple information because you are in thrall to your magical thinking.

    Your #55 is yet more proof of that; you just can’t help making shit up. I really hope I never understand whatever the fuck you are on about in that sentence; it could only mean I have become as disconnected as you. *Shudders*

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ah. Excuse me for saying “you were unhappy” instead of saying “you didn’t like it”. There – is that better?

    I really hope I never understand whatever the fuck you are on about in that sentence; it could only mean I have become as disconnected as you.

    *chuckle*. Now that I see you in the proper context, no matter what kind of insults you post – and they are meant as insults and you know it – they won’t offend me. I really do hope that someday you’ll understand why that is. And please don’t take that as condescension – it’s closer to sympathy than anything else.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Glenn, the fact remains that thanks to Hitler’s talent for pissing off and/or invading anything that moved, Germany was not only fighting a war on two fronts but also forcibly occupying several western and central European countries: a problem that was exacerbated by the arrival of the Yanks.

    Had that not been the case, it would have freed up ample resources for the continuation and intensification of the eastern campaign. Operation Barbarossa might still have stalled in the Russian winter but the momentum would not have been completely lost.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    They were stalled at Leningrad. They lost the battle of Moscow and were already being counterattacked there. And you can read for yourself the results of Operation Uranus to the northwest of Stalingrad where they cut off and doomed 300K German soldiers. The German momentum was completely lost – the best they could do was to fight delaying actions. The only really significant battle afterwards was the battle of Kursk – the largest armor battle in history – and the Soviets won that one, too.

    The German generals were as you know very competent, and they themselves asked permission from Hitler time and again to make strategic retreats to regroup and shorten their battle lines, and Hitler wouldn’t allow it. But in any case, from the beginning of Operation Uranus, the Germans never again regained the initiative to any significant degree on the Eastern Front.

    That, and remember that even if America had never joined in the war and England had sued for peace, thereby enabling some (but not all, due to occupational requirements) of the 100 or so divisions they had in the West to go east, it becomes a matter of logistics – German locomotives didn’t fit on Soviet tracks, and the Germans didn’t have enough trucks to transport their armies – they mostly went on foot, just like the Roman armies 2000 years before. It was only a matter of time, and while the Germans were taking months to move their extra divisions there, the Soviets were also building extra divisions. All those extra German divisions would have done was to prolong the war for a few months, not more than a year.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielskibnb

    No one really knows whether Hitler could have conquered Russia if he were unopposed, so if anything qualifies as engaging in pure speculation, this is it.

    If history be any guide, I’d have to side with Glenn on this one point: Russia was never conquered, nor was China, Great Britain and yes, even Afghanistan of all places. So perhaps we all should put our patriotic sentiments aside and be thankful for the Allies victory.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    With all due respect, Glenn C., you don’t have the military experience that Ethan McCord has.

    “Serving with my unit 2nd battalion 16th infantry in New Baghdad, Iraq, I [Ethan McCord] vividly remember the moment in 2007, when our Battalion Commander walked into the room and announced our new rules of engagement:

    “Listen up, new battalion SOP (standing operating procedure) from now on: Anytime your convoy gets hit by an IED, I want 360 degree rotational fire. You kill every [expletive] in the street!”

    …On April 5, 2010, American citizens and people around the world got a taste of the fruits of this standing operating procedure when WikiLeaks released the now-famous Collateral Murder video. This video showed the horrific and wholly unnecessary killing of unarmed Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists.I was part of the unit that was responsible for this atrocity. In the video, I can be seen attempting to carry wounded children to safety in the aftermath…

    The incident I was part of – shown in the Collateral Murder video – becomes even more horrific when we grasp that it was not exceptional

    …We have to change these kinds of policies and operating procedures. To do so, we need to know the truth about what’s really happening. We need information. That’s why we need whistle-blowers.

    We all need to speak out for Bradley. We can’t let our government punish a true hero because they are embarrassed by the truth.” That was Ethan McCord, military man.

    Doing things “by the book” served you well in your career, Glenn. Your military experience reinforced the idea that it is neither acceptable to question authority nor to hold it to account in any way. Maybe you could’ve questioned authority at various points in your career, and maybe you should’ve questioned authority, but you didn’t. Probably there was conflict, and second-guessing, and your ability to reason your way through territory filled with so many emotional landmines has been compromised. What’s done is done, Glenn. Let it go. This isn’t about you anymore.

    You can read more at Free Bradley Manning: the People have the Right to Know

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Have you started taking in paying guests, Roger?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    Yes, Manning exposed what we did wrong there. BUT what you’re forgetting – and what your source did not address – is what I pointed out in my article, that by making public 200,000+ classified documents, many of which were diplomatic messages, he almost certainly endangered American agents and informers in many countries around the world.

    Now maybe you’ll sit back and somehow make the claim that we’re always the bad guy, but here’s a clue – we’re not always the bad guys. We’re not always the good guys (see 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children dead because of an illegal invasion on false premises pushed by Bush), but much of this world still sees us as good guys, and with good reason…which is why a few days after our ambassador was killed in Benghazi, tens of thousands Libyans protested in support FOR America. But of course you never hear about that in the MSM, and especially not on Fox News. It’s goodwill like that, that our diplomats try to encourage…and by exposing thousands upon thousands of diplomatic messages, Manning damaged – HAD to have damaged – our diplomatic efforts.

    Maybe Manning did a good thing for exposing that particular incident…but he took it far beyond the pale. Doing one very, very good thing does not excuse one for doing over 200,000 bad things.

    And btw – you said:

    Your military experience reinforced the idea that it is neither acceptable to question authority nor to hold it to account in any way.

    Wrong. It taught me that there are ways to do things, and ways not to do things. There are matters that are worth risking one’s career (which I did, unknowingly at the time), and worth risking one’s life.

    If Manning had only released that particular video, then he would have been a hero. But his release of 200,000+ classified messages – the vast majority of which cannot have been related to that video at all – he did something very, very wrong, and almost certainly endangered good people.

    I’m not going to pretend that I’ve changed your mind one whit, because even if the government came out and pointed out that we had agents and informants (and their families) killed as a result of Manning’s actions, you still probably wouldn’t change your mind. But we’ll never know – and anyone with a clue about the importance of intelligence operations knows that it is a GOOD thing that we not know about it.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Irene, #61 – great comment by you there. Delighted to be in full agreement with you!

    Glenn, I know this is an epic waste of energy on my part but “he almost certainly endangered American agents and informers in many countries around the world” is pure SPECULATION on your part.

    More irrelevant burbling on your part: neither Irene or anyone else here has claimed the US is “always the bad guy” so YET AGAIN you are wasting your energy and our time with an IRRELEVANT ARGUMENT.

    We did hear about the post Benghazi Libyan protests in the mainstream media; and yet more speculation by you “Manning damaged – HAD to have damaged – our diplomatic efforts”.

    My experience of the military, both as a soldier and as a civilian, is that putting them in charge of anything is always a mistake and my experience of you is that you have a chronic need to be part of an institution.

    IF you are a liberal in American terms, and I really hope you’re not, then I have come to understand why the right dislikes liberals so much.

    No wonder US politics is in such a mess and most people just don’t bother any more.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Went completely by me, Dreadful, and no, don’t ask me to google it. I’d consider it a waste of time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Glenn, your argument about endangering lives, etc. is total BS. Anyone who goes into government service in that capacity is well aware of the risks that come with the job. They’d be a fool not to.

    You can’t have it both ways, buddy, engaging in spook work and asking for immunity. Get fucking real for a change.

    Irene is hundred-percent on target. You’ve never left the military.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Chris,I do take Glenn at his word, that he is a liberal, and progressive (in American terms, of course).

    As to my conformation of the fact, I look to the kudos from such as zingzing or Igor, the good ole but not forgotten Handyman, Jet himself, yes, even Dreadful at times: they’re all in awe of the Contrarian’s intellectual heights and his mastery of facts.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    “The incident I was part of – shown in the Collateral Murder video – becomes even more horrific when we grasp that it was not exceptional…”

    You often lob the “you’re just cherry-picking” argument over the net, Glenn. It won’t work here. Exposure needed to happen. The cover needed to be blown off the whole stinking mess.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Furthermore, Glenn, you need to sit down and ask yourself why the suicide rate among active and former military personnel has become so high…No, don’t ask yourself, why don’t you sit down and have a chat with a few vets who have returned from that bizarro world, where ethics are turned upside down and inside out, and one is under standing orders to behave, not like a principled soldier defending the rights of Americans and citizens around the world, but rather, like a barbarian. Look at the impact that has had on the families of the soldiers who return. Look at the disturbing number of homicides that have happened in those families.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    If you are concerned about the relative negative impact of that information in its leaked vs. unleaked form, on soldiers and civilians alike, you need look at the real, hard data to which I’ve alluded in the last few comments.

    Consider where the US has been led by its current guiding principle vis a vis foreign policy: “the end always justifies the means.” Glenn, those leaked documents were shot through with evidence of the all-pervasive nature of that attitude. Bringing out the whole lot has gotten people’s attention, and exposed the deep-seated nature of the problem, far more than just a mere tip to the Press about a single order for 360 degree rotational fire on civilians one day in 2007 in New Bahgdad, Iraq.

    THAT would have looked like cherry picking. In the context of all the other leaked documents, it is seen for what it is, evidence, among an overwhelming amount of other evidence, of an attitude that it is at the ROOT of what is wrong with our foreign policy.

  • troll

    I don’t see how the myth building will help Manning…perhaps a presidential pardon down the road

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Glenn, your argument about endangering lives, etc. is total BS. Anyone who goes into government service in that capacity is well aware of the risks that come with the job. They’d be a fool not to.

    So we shouldn’t have been at all concerned when Dick Cheney had CIA agent Valerie Plame exposed – and by extension, everyone overseas with which she had contact, hm?

    Here’s what she had to say about her exposure:

    The CIA goes to great lengths to protect all of its employees, providing at significant taxpayers’ expense painstakingly devised and creative covers for its most sensitive staffers. The harm that is done when a CIA cover is blown is grave, but I can’t provide details beyond that in this public hearing. But the concept is obvious. Not only have breaches of national security endangered CIA officers, it has jeopardized and even destroyed entire networks of foreign agents, who in turn risk their own lives and those of their families to provide the United States with needed intelligence. Lives are literally at stake.

    I should think she would know more about intelligence than you or I…oh, but I forget – that’s an ‘appeal to authority’, and so we shouldn’t take her word at all, I guess.

    So how does this relate to Manning? Remember, Plame was ONE agent exposed by ONE article…and here’s what Manning admitted:

    Manning told Lamo he was also responsible for the “Cablegate” leak of 251,287 State Department cables, written by 271 American embassies and consulates in 180 countries, dated December 1966 to February 2010.

    OVER A QUARTER MILLION STATE DEPARTMENT DOCUMENTS IN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY COUNTRIES! And you want to pooh-pooh what he did???? Here’s a clue, Roger – ANY name in those State Department documents, and ANYONE associated with those names past or present, comes under instant suspicion by people who don’t like us.

    Are you aware that of the role that Manning’s leaks had in the Arab Spring? Personally I think that the Arab Spring is mostly a good thing so far…but nobody knows yet where it will eventually lead. But the main point is, Roger, people DID see what Manning put into the public view, and it helped spur them into action for good or ill.

    Yes, people who enter into government service are aware of the risks…but that by no means excuses those who expose and endanger them.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Rog, I was just curious about the “roger nowosielskibnb” monicker you’d adopted.

    And you are right in your #60. We’ll never know what a singly-focused Wehrmacht might have been able to do in Russia. But I do think Glenn’s confidence that the USSR would eventually have been able to defeat Hitler on its own is severely misplaced.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Irene,

    Excellent comment. Thanks for posting that.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    And also the ones that followed the first.

  • troll

    …I think Irene misses the point that we need another generation of warped suicidal youth in order to maintain our relatively peaceful world

  • troll

    “this is how we remember our past; this is how we safeguard our future” after all

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene #69 –

    Do you somehow imagine that I supported the Iraq War, that I’m somehow a mindless military drone who is okay with whatever the military does? I was a whistleblower too, Irene, and it almost cost me my career because I went about it the wrong way. Given what I know now, I would still have blown the whistle, but I would have done it in a more acceptable and more effective way. That’s one thing that you and the others here don’t seem to get, that there are ways within the system to make things happen, to expose wrongdoing. If it can’t be done without going outside that system, then fine, by all means do so – but do it in a way that is responsible and judicious, and not by throwing everything out willy-nilly. That’s like swatting a fly with a bottle of nitro, because while you might still get the fly, you probably made things a lot worse in the process.

    If Manning had just sent out that video and related info, he would have been a hero just like the guy who exposed LT William Calley back in the Vietnam War. But Manning didn’t do that, did he? No, he instead released a quarter million classified State Department documents from one hundred and eighty countries around the world – the vast majority of which has absolutely SQUAT to do with the video you referenced. THAT, Irene, is what he did wrong, and it is inexcusable.

    I’m no mindless military drone, Irene. I’ve stated several times how I don’t want my sons to join the military, how its budget is wildly overblown and – if I had my choice – the first military cuts I’d make are to the hideously-expensive aircraft carriers that I loved serving on. Do I really sound like the mindless drone you seem to think I am?

    You refer to the suicides and the homicides – but what you don’t realize is that it’s NOT wholly or even mostly the military’s fault – it’s the fault of the ones in charge. In peacetime, Irene, the military is a SAFER and MORE LAW-ABIDING place than the civilian world, and the statistics back it up, particularly when one considers the age groups involved.

    But something happens to people and to men in particular when we are sent to war. We change, and almost never for the better…and that’s where the suicides and homicides come from. If you want to blame someone, Irene, blame the ones who sent us to war…

    …especially the idiot who ignored the repeated warnings about bin Laden and thus helped enable 9/11, and then used that attack as an excuse to invade Iraq, which he began planning eight months before 9/11! It is George W. Bush, more than anyone else in the world, who is to blame for our wars in the Middle East, for all the death and destruction to their people and our own, and for how our military and their families and our nation’s economy were all adversely affected.

    Blame the people at the top, Irene – THEY are the ones who are responsible!

    And when it comes to Bradley Manning, if you can’t see what’s wrong with someone releasing a quarter million classified documents from embassies and consulates in one hundred and eighty different nations, then that’s your problem, not mine.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Good comments, troll. I wonder if Glenn will pause long enough to comprehend them.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    see what you mean now, Dreadful. Just a typo.

    You should know be better, however. Need no alter ego or “visiting guests” to post anonymously: my ego is big enough. Sorry for over-reacting.

  • troll

    Cindy – despite his years in the military I don’t get the impression that Glenn has ever fully tasted the bile of self-revulsion that can attend service to the killer machine

  • troll

    …..he’s a lucky man

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    When I contemplated going into CIA after my military tour, it was for the glamour and the excitement of it all, not out of love of country, And I seriously doubt whether most of those who serve in that capacity maintain the level of patriotism they may have started with. Having been exposed to dirty dealings as part of every-day work, I’m certain that most would tend to become very cynical, certainly more cynical than you. Which places an exclamation mark on troll’s last comment concerning your true exposure to what’s really going on, in spite of the twenty “honorable” years you have put in.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    Nor would I want to. You have to remember that I was in the Navy, and while we’re every bit as part of the military as the Army, in time of war sailors (and the Air Force, for that matter) have never been as likely to have to kill someone up close and personal. I never needed to draw a weapon in anger, and only once was I armed in expectation of hostility…which, thankfully, turned out to be a false alarm.

    But go back to my previous comment, troll – in time of peace, statistics show the military is as a whole safer and more law-abiding than the civilian world, particularly when one considers the age groups involved. It is in time of war that we can become monsters.

    That is why the blame lay not so much on what you called the ‘killer machine’, but on the one who puts that killer machine into action.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And troll –

    Yes, I’m lucky – I’m the luckiest (or most blessed, depending on your POV) man you’ll ever meet. It’s said that God looks out for drunks and fools – take your pick.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    When I contemplated going into CIA after my military tour, it was for the glamour and the excitement of it all, not out of love of country, And I seriously doubt whether most of those who serve in that capacity maintain the level of patriotism they may have started with. Having been exposed to dirty dealings as part of every-day work, I’m certain that most would tend to become very cynical, certainly more cynical than you. Which places an exclamation mark on troll’s last comment concerning your true exposure to what’s really going on, in spite of the twenty “honorable” years you have put in.

    As with all else, moderation in everything, Roger. Too cynical is every bit as wrong, as misguided, as not being cynical enough. You speak of cynicism as if it’s a mark of greater knowledge or of higher development – and it’s anything but. If anything, those who too cynical should be every bit as pitied as those who are not cynical enough.

    And as for the quotation marks around ‘honorable’, Roger, I’ve long felt that most poor single parents raising children in the inner city are at least as deserving of respect as many (perhaps most) of my fellow veterans. But I’ve also found that people who are unwilling to give respect to someone when they haven’t walked a mile in that someone’s moccasins, such people are often undeserving of respect themselves.

    But I’ve given you no such disrespect. Remember that.

  • troll

    Glenn – like soylent green the killer machine is people…each responsible for his or her actions from the pres right down to the prole making uniforms

    blaming leaders doesn’t work for me

    just say no boys and girls

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Don’t get too philosophical on me, Glenn. It’s not your forte.

    Quotation marks were put on purpose, to highlight the fact you wear your years of service like a badge of honor (I wouldn’t have), and a whipping stick besides. So no, it wasn’t an insult, just an observation.

    You may call yourself a lib and a progressive to boot, but as far as I’m concerned, you’ve never left the Delta.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Why should where a person is from disqualify them from being a progressive, a philosopher or whatever?

    Sounds rather snobbish and elitist to me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That wasn’t the basis of my assessment of Glenn’s philosophical skills, Dreadful — not his political or other kinds of views, in any case. It’s how he defends them.

  • Igor

    IMO what Manning did was bad enough, but then I wonder why the incompetents above Manning allowed so much burden on that skinny kids shoulders when he was so green. Are THEY being prosecuted and hounded. Looks like a Big Management Screwup to me.

    And then, to compound the crimes, the custody officers allowed Manning to be severely abused, to no purpose other than personal pleasure (IMO) at persecuting someone.

    Maybe Mannings crimes were the least of those.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    US Military Approves Bombing Children

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Glenn.

  • pablo

    Roger 88 and 92 spot on brother.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    Do troops get exposed to the mind-numbing idiocy of combat without being ordered there by someone commanding them? And the question is especially pertinent if there’s a draft: John Doe gets drafted, told to go fight, enters into combat, and kills people…

    …is he to be told that he’s the one who caused those deaths?

    It’s always the guy in charge who bears the greatest responsibility – the greatest fault – for everything that goes right or wrong on his watch.

    While I will agree that there are quite a few kids who join in the hope of replicating what they do on a Playstation 3 playing Call of Duty, the vast majority don’t. Most people who join the military do so because they need a job, or they need direction, or their parents pushed them to go somewhere that will help them mature. Most people who join the military do NOT want combat.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Don’t get too philosophical on me, Glenn. It’s not your forte.

    Roger, I’ve got little patience for philosophy. I care much more about what really did happen and what didn’t happen, what made lives better and what made lives worse. Given a choice between philosophy and pragmatism, I’ll choose the latter almost every time, because too close an adherence to philosophy for philosophy’s sake makes one an ideologue…and when they’re in charge, ideologues tend to lead us places where we really don’t want to go.

    Quotation marks were put on purpose, to highlight the fact you wear your years of service like a badge of honor (I wouldn’t have), and a whipping stick besides. So no, it wasn’t an insult, just an observation.

    Riiiight, just like Martin Luther didn’t feel his anti-semitic writings weren’t insults, they were just observations! Roger, you’re a wonderful example of how people find it so easy to judge others without having walked a mile in their moccasins.

    You may call yourself a lib and a progressive to boot, but as far as I’m concerned, you’ve never left the Delta.

    The key phrase there being “as far as I’m concerned”, because that, sir, is your OPINION, just like the time that you said that people like zing and myself are the greatest threat to civilization.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    US Military Approves Bombing Children Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Glenn.

    So tell me, Roger – what do you do when the other side has used children to carry out suicide attacks using explosives? That’s the other side of the story.

    This is the kind of hard question one faces in the field – you see a child doing something that can kill you and your buddies. You can’t walk up to the child and tell him to stop, because he’s only doing what his village leaders are telling him to do. And you can’t just tell your commanders to avoid this area – your operational requirements won’t allow it. Can your people drive on the side of the road around where the holes were dug? Maybe, maybe not – and if you leave the children alone, once you leave, will those children go out digging more holes in the road where you’ll be unaware of them? It’s not like you can assign someone to watch the area 24/7 – can’t be done.

    So WHAT DO YOU DO, Roger? If you do nothing and walk away, your buddies might get killed. It doesn’t matter which choice you make, you’re going to be carrying the result of that choice the rest of your life and you know it. So what do you do? (btw, it’s choices like this that have led to the high suicide rate)

    Here’s a clue, Roger – NOBODY this side of a very, very few really sick people WANTS to kill children. The Marines and soldiers in question faced a choice – do they continue to let the kids do what they (the military) thought would lead to something getting them and/or their buddies killed, or do they stop the kids from doing so, and how do they stop the kids? And when it’s the enemy that is known to sometimes send children on suicide bombings – in this nation where girls can get disfigured for life or even murdered for simply wanting to learn how to read – it becomes obvious that operating by Western moralities can get one killed. Sometimes the choices one gets aren’t really choices at all.

    Oh, wait, let me guess – you just pack up and leave. But outside of your personal Wonderland, things aren’t so simple. Most people there couldn’t care less about Hobbes and Locke and high-falutin’ philosophy. They are a tribal society and have been since Alexander marched through. They make their choices based on THEIR traditions, on THEIR laws, on THEIR moralities…and if you are a soldier there, if you don’t allow for the fact that their culture allows them to make choices that are unthinkable for you, you’ll likely wake up dead someday.

    War is hell, Roger. It turns us into monsters. It gives us choices that aren’t really choices since even if we live through the experience, it gives us nightmares reminding us of the evil we had no choice but to commit.

    So you go on sitting in your ivory tower passing judgement on all who don’t do as you think they should…but you don’t have a clue as to the kinds of choices that many people throughout this world really face. You’re very intelligent – I’ve never said you were anything but – but intelligence and awareness are two completely different things. You are more ignorant than you imagine of the kinds of choices that people face, and of how all too often they aren’t choices at all.

  • troll

    Glenn – no one needs to tell him that he “caused those deaths”…he knows that already

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Glenn, there is no way to shake you up from your acquired beliefs. Your indoctrination by the military mindset has been so thorough and complete that I’m convinced that no matter what counterarguments, cogent or not, one advances by way of retort, if only to make you stop for a moment in order to reflect and think, they’re bound to have just the opposite from the intended effect: they’re bound only to confirm you further in your ways.

    I kinda suspected that all along, but gave it a shot anyway, which was my mistake. And I would be doing you greater disservice rather than good trying to sway you from the positions you hold, so no longer, friend. I definitely don’t want have that kind of impact on anyone.

    Meanwhile, please forgive me if my comments to you were on the edgy side. Accept, however, that my intent wasn’t to insult, only to make you think. And since I haven’t the resources to accomplish that, I respectfully withdraw. Others might have better luck where I have failed, and I wish them and you my best.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Troll (76) and Cindy (prev. page) and Roger (98) Aye, aye. (sigh.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Thank you for the courteous reply. I know you won’t want to address this, but look again at the choices the Marines faced, particularly given the local mores and traditions.

    My point is that Western morality, Western thought, Western philosophy, whatever you want to call it..none of these are not and can never be one-size-fits-all. It was not so in the time of Alexander and it is not so now. By not addressing the hard choices faced by the ones at the scene, all you’re doing is Monday-morning quarterbacking at best.

    That’s why I keep saying that one should not be so quick to judge someone without having some experience concerning the same kind of choices that someone faced.

  • Clavos

    what do you do when the other side has used children to carry out suicide attacks using explosives?

    Happened in Vietnam, with some frequency.

    If you could (i.e. if circumstances permitted), you captured them and turned them over to higher (Vietnamese) authorities, but sometimes they were armed and extremely aggressive, in which case your only alternative was to take the fight out of them as quickly and humanely as possible. Withal, sometimes they wound up dead.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Deciding what to do about children who are about to kill is an entirely different matter from Bradley Manning’s deciding to expose standing orders to shoot at unarmed civilians, including children, in Iraq. And it wasn’t just one incident, as in the My Lai massacre, that could be reported and make Manning an unqualified hero. That was just one of many pieces of galling information, facts not just about atrocities in Iraq but about corruption around the world – too much information to be meted out piecemeal.

    You ask, “Did he do it the right way?” Glenn, it seems to me that the guy determined the situation had reached a tipping point. There was less to lose from releasing classified information, and more to lose, not for him, but for civilization, by letting all that data slip by him, a good man doing nothing, keeping the rest of the world unaware of the depth of the corruption around the world, the prevalence of atrocities committed by those in power.

    Maybe you’re the one who should be putting yourself in Manning’s shoes, Glenn, instead of telling the rest of us to walk another’s mile.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    look again at the choices the Marines faced, particularly given the local mores and traditions.

    They had the choice not to go.

    Did the locals (with their different mores and traditions) have choice not to exist?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    You may not like this, but your position justifies the state’s acting as a killing machine, Glenn.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    There was less to lose from releasing classified information

    And you base that on what, exactly?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    That’s the point Glenn. Neither you nor I were the ones sitting on top of all that information trying to make the call. Manning was.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    They had the choice not to go.

    If we take something Chris said to its logical conclusion, most people in the military are effectively mercenaries. I didn’t join out of some naive desire to ‘serve my country’ – I needed a job. The same may apply to Chris. Clavos and Dave may have been drafted – I don’t know – but those who join simply out of a desire to serve their country are certainly the exception to the rule.

    When we met, my wife had already decided to join the Army – but changed her mind so we wouldn’t be apart. She had decided to do so not just for a job, but also so she and her son (our oldest) could have health care.

    You see, Cindy, it’s not all about “let’s go kill us some A-rabs” – it’s more about having a stable job with a steady paycheck, access to health care, and a damned good retirement system…and you don’t see this kind of combination much anymore, do you? I happily encourage most young jobless people to consider the Navy or the Air Force – but I tell them to not even think about the Army or the Air Force, solely because of the likelihood of being in combat.

    Maybe that makes you want to pull your hair out, but I assure you that it’s a heck of a lot better than you think. I’ve known many a man who is eternally grateful to the military for getting them not just off the ranks of the jobless, but off of drugs and out of constant trouble. Speaking for myself, the Navy taught me just how wrong racism is (I was a racist, remember), how to appreciate other nations, other cultures. It opened my eyes to a world that most Americans never see…and I’m a better man for it.

    If you must lay blame for what the military does wrong, Cindy, one of the most important lessons I learned was that the fault almost always lay with the guy in charge – for it is he (or she) that sets the tone of the command, who enforces discipline or allows the lack thereof, who keeps a professional command or allows it to run amok. It is always, always, always this way. If one or two low-level people do something wrong, they are rightfully punished and are used as examples to the rest. If twenty or thirty do something wrong, they will all be punished as they should be…but the guy in charge will be fired, too – because he allowed his command’s discipline to slip to that point.

    Remember, Cindy, the vast majority of people in the military are there because they need a good job, especially if they’ve got a wife and kids back home. You might disagree with that statement, but that’s the reality of it all.

    Did the locals (with their different mores and traditions) have choice not to exist?

    The children weren’t given a choice as to whether to go out there and plant IED’s – they were doing what they were told. So what other choices did the Marines have, Cindy?

    You may not like this, but your position justifies the state’s acting as a killing machine, Glenn.

    Cindy, while it is true that any military’s goal is to BE a killing machine, the American military is meant to be a TOOL, an instrument to be utilized by the nation’s civilian leadership to do what that leadership says needs to be done. You would not use a hammer to fasten nuts and bolts, right? Of course not – it’s the wrong tool for the job. Likewise, what a military should NOT be used for, is for “nation-building” or long-term occupation.

    All your protestations to the contrary, if human history is any guide whatsoever, every nation needs a military. The need for it now is less than before (thank God!), but the need is still there…and a military that is not trained to be a ‘killing machine’ is not much of a military, but rather lambs for the slaughter.

  • Clavos

    It has long been said that you cannot really know what it’s like to fight in a war until you’ve done it, and those who have, know beyond the shadow of a doubt, the truth of that. I would venture that a similar kind of unique knowledge is obtained from military service short of combat, but to a different degree, of course. I say this because, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, to those who enter the military, whether voluntarily or by being drafted, the experience of all the training, the molding and yes, “brainwashing” in which recruits and trainees are immersed for several weeks at the beginning of their service, not only teaches them how to, as we used to say, “break things,” and survive horrendous situations that would overwhelm those lacking that experience, but it also serves as a life-changing experience (and not necessarily for the worse) which never leaves them. I was released from active duty in August of 1966; forty six years ago, and it still seems as if it all took place just a few years ago. At this point, I believe it always will, which to me is the essence of “life changing.”

  • troll

    Clavos while it is truish that one cannot really know a cult and its life changing sacrements short of participating what’s your point here?

    and commenting that many people in the US military are ‘mercenaries looking for work’ as if this explains something strikes me as a sophistic response to questions of personal responsibility and choice

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You have a knack for getting to the point, troll, although I trust Clavos has better sense than to argue that exposure to live-changing experiences, aside from broadening one’s horizons, abrogates their personal responsibility to act first and foremost as a human.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    and commenting that many people in the US military are ‘mercenaries looking for work’ as if this explains something strikes me as a sophistic response to questions of personal responsibility and choice

    Picture this: you’re a single parent. You can’t find more than slightly-above-minimum-wage work, much less any that will provide health care for you and your child, not to mention there’s almost nothing left over to set aside for a rainy day. You really, really don’t like the thought of going on food stamps and Welfare and Medicaid.

    Then you see what the military is offering: a stable job with a good paycheck, health care for you and your child, the opportunity to buy a home. You see the opportunity to provide for your child as you believe you should be able to as a parent.

    That was the choice facing my wife just before we met. Can you really, truly gainsay her for the choice she was about to make? Can you?

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, yes…

    Your argument just boils down to the ends justifies the means and that is often a way to justify abuse or other bad behaviour.

  • troll

    of course he does…:>)

    the second part of 109 was for 107

  • troll

    113 was for Roger

    Glenn – yes…what Chris said

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    That’s the point Glenn. Neither you nor I were the ones sitting on top of all that information trying to make the call. Manning was.

    But did Manning have the wherewithal to decide if the information he was about to release might cause more harm than good? No, he didn’t – he couldn’t have, because it was a quarter million documents covering events in one hundred eighty nations.

    Here, I’ll give you an example that hasn’t be brought up before. It’s been pointed out that there’s no proof that what he did caused any harm to innocents…but it’s very, very unlikely that it didn’t. Why? Most of those messages were probably mundane – or at least mundane-sounding – boilerplate communications, like requests for clarification and transfer notifications. But you know what? Back in the military, every single transfer notification included the social security number of the one(s) being transferred.

    Now let’s just pretend that that’s the ONLY bad thing that happened when he released the documents, that their social security numbers got sent out to the internet for public consumption. All of a sudden the Russians or the Chinese have access to the SSN of this or that admiral or general or DOD representative – you really don’t think they’d take a great interest in that? Their interest wouldn’t be for anything as petty as identity theft – they would be thinking about something more like blackmail or access to personal or professional files. Do you think that this, too, is no big deal?

    Again, is there absolute published proof that this happened? Not to my knowledge. But it’s like deciding whether or not to put your child in a child safety seat – you know in your gut that a wreck probably won’t happen, but you have a very good idea of what can happen if there is a wreck.

    So it goes with keeping classified material out of the public eye – you don’t absolutely know that something bad will happen, but you have a very, very good idea of how bad it can get.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris and troll –

    Chris said:
    Your argument just boils down to the ends justifies the means and that is often a way to justify abuse or other bad behaviour.

    troll said:
    Glenn – yes…what Chris said

    Then we’ve nothing to discuss. You’ve both seem to have decided that there’s no good reason why anyone would ever choose to go into the military. We veterans are all just stupid, evil people willing to go maim and kill others just to make a few bucks.

    And you both have my pity, though I doubt you’ll ever grasp why that is so.

  • Dr Dreadful

    From a purely biological standpoint, then end does justify the means. For example, accepting a dangerous, possibly unethical and potentially fatal job in order to ensure your family has enough to eat; or exterminating a rival tribe to ensure your own tribe’s unmolested access to land and the resources contained therein.

    It’s where we draw the moral line that determines whether we use those means or not. Most of us would probably draw it somewhere in between my two examples, but until we’re actually put in that sort of situation, we can’t really say for sure. The biological imperative is powerful.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @ 116

    Nice turning of tables, Glenn. So now we’re deserving of your pity for not going along with your program.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Accepting a possibly unethical job

    Is that like the case of Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread?

  • troll

    …its your argument that is a weak misdirection Glenn

    that there are ‘good’ reasons to enlist is not pertinent as I see it

    and if you wish to shut down our meager attempts to communicate that’s ok – as Irene might say I’ve tarried too long at the fountains of Damascus and long for my desert hermitage

    what is a ‘purely biological standpoint’?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Roger: Could be. Like I said, everyone draws the line in a different place. That’s what’s so tricky about morals – which change over time too. Today most of us would accept that Valjean was justified in stealing the bread; at the time of the French Revolution, clearly enough people didn’t think so that Victor Hugo was able to construct an entire plausible plot from it.

    troll: The survival instinct. It’s not infallible of course: it’s probable that many Hutus genuinely believed, on no good evidence, that the Tutsis were going to murder them in their beds.

  • Doug Hunter

    Our morality seems focused on physical comfort, fear of violence and death as the ultimate in individual evils with everything else a far distant concern. Obviously I can’t live it, but evidence is that’s not true in all, or even most cultures. The state is granted a monopoly on physical controls and is therefore responsible for food and healthcare (as well as prisons, police, and military).

    The Matrix struck a chord for me, we don’t need sentient machines we have ourselves and the state, we’re voting ourselves into the pods… comfortable productive pods… everyone equal and safely encapsulated… floating… freedom only inside your own mind… yippee!

    (What an exciting vision, no wonder first worlders are offing themselves at a grand pace and can’t even muster the virility to reproduce… a future as a number in a pod)

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, I don’t really know why you can’t avoid re-interpreting people’s words to mean something that they never said, but suspect your belief system and its associated magic thinking may be the cause.

    You are setting new lows even by your standards when you translate what I or troll said as meaning “there’s no good reason why anyone would ever choose to go into the military”, when that is clearly not what was said. Please get a grip of yourself and stop doing that.

    As to pity, as someone who has been institutionalised all their life, perhaps you are more deserving of it…

    Doc, your examples of situations when the ends might justify the means are highly theoretical. There are lots of alternatives to “dangerous, possibly unethical and potentially fatal” work and I can’t think of any examples when it was actually necessary to exterminate a “rival tribe to ensure your own tribe’s unmolested access to land and the resources contained therein”. I can think of many occasions when it wasn’t necessary but happened anyway, not least to the pre-European inhabitants of the USA for example, but actually necessary? No…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Chris, I never said it was necessary: it just has to be perceived to be necessary.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @121, second paragraph

    I think troll’s emphasis was on the word “purely.” Is that a valid perspective at all?

    If it isn’t, then what’s the point? And if it is, what does it say of us?

  • Doug Hunter

    “I can think of many occasions when it wasn’t necessary but happened anyway, not least to the pre-European inhabitants of the USA for example, but actually necessary? No..”

    Nothing is ever ‘necessary’, the universe will go on regardless. Native Americans tribes battled for land and resources long before we arrived here, we were simply better at it and I’m not apologizing for that. Applying modern ideas of morality upon history is fairly nonsensical… it does give pause to reflect on how superior you are and how much you have progressed though. Personally, I’m glad Homo Sapiens committed genocide on the Neanderthals in Europe then turned on themselves, the natives in America… resulted in a fine place for me to live. They knew how to finish the job back in the neanderthal days though… none of them left to apologize to and offer casino ownership.

    I have been called a neanderthal before, perhaps Europe does owe me something…

  • Dr Dreadful

    I don’t want to get hung up on single words, Rog. What I’m getting at is that humans, like every other organism, have a biological imperative for survival. As part of that imperative, certain automatic or semi-automatic reactions kick in as a response to threats. The threat doesn’t have to be real, just believed to be real. For example, you’re sitting at home late one night. You see a movement out of the corner of your eye. You know you’re alone in the house so your adrenaline kicks in and you prepare for fight or flight. Even though you then determine that the movement wasn’t a mountain lion but merely a curtain blowing in a draught, your response to it was nonetheless genuine and would have been identical no matter what it turned out to be.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Nice turning of tables, Glenn. So now we’re deserving of your pity for not going along with your program.

    Like I said, you’ll simply never grasp why you have my pity. The same apparently goes for troll, but the greatest pity I have is for Chris.

    Roger, there are certainly situations where it is not just accepted, but expected that one would disobey orders. We do our best to act honorably and morally. Let me ask you – in your job, if you lied to your co-workers not about where you live, but about what kind of house you live in, would that result in you being demoted or fired? I strongly doubt it. But at the supervisory level in the military, someone who lies (without a very good reason) can and does get demoted or fired – I’ve seen it.

    Do you get demoted or fired for having a DUI on your time off? You do in the military. If you are a supervisor, are you responsible for the conduct of your subordinates when they’re off duty? In the military, you are.

    Yes, we have our problems…but I think what you’re not getting is that we’re not any different, not any more or less moral, than the population as a whole. We are simply people who are in a different environment. It’s flatly wrong of you and troll to imply that we’re somehow less moral than yourselves, for neither of you have walked a mile in our moccasins.

  • troll

    …which of course was not the intended implication – you are full of shit Glenn

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Nobody argued, Glenn, for that kind of difference. Various people enlist (or, in the past, got drafted) for a variety of reasons, some good, some bad, some indifferent, and at different stages of their lives. This has never been in dispute. Nor has it ever been in question that you’ve done your best to serve dutifully and with honor. It’s your defense of the military both as an institution and culture, against all odds, it’d seem and under all circumstances, that is in question.

    Again, the present-day realities as regards the necessity for nation-states to be able to avail themselves of adequate military prowess is not in question here either. None of that, however, should excuse you from not considering the larger picture. You’re not a kid anymore but, considering the twenty years you’ve put in, an adult.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    I think that what might be at the real root of the question question is that you and I have two different perceptions of what comprises that ‘larger picture’. Different paradigms, and all that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    you are full of shit Glenn

    Maybe I am – wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last. I looked carefully back at your comments and no, you did not strictly imply that we were less moral simply because we joined the military. Others have done so in this thread, and I associated you with them. So…my bad – my eyes are brown for a reason, you know.

  • troll

    re 131: one would hope in that case that the effort would be to establish shared terms on which to enter dialog rather than win arguments

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Who knows Glenn, maybe this article will be the brushing of the butterfly’s wing setting off a chain of events that will ultimately land Bradley Manning in jail “for a very long time.” Maybe that will discourage some people from taking unconventional avenues to address injustice when the avenues creating the injustice turn out to be, unsurprisingly, a dead end in that regard.

    Or, alternatively, maybe someone will be emboldened to speak out against all odds, someone who has read this article, read your description of how you blew the whistle “the wrong way,” and ended up with a “damned fine retirement,” and a Mercedes as well (albeit a used one.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Troll and Doug: The Advent candle has burned for a week already. Thankyou for your oblique reminder, Troll.

    Doug Hunter, those whom you don’t depress the hell out of, are given a swift kick in the pants to get moving. Thankyou, as well. Adieu.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    one would hope in that case that the effort would be to establish shared terms on which to enter dialog rather than win arguments

    The effort has to come from both sides, don’t you think?

  • troll

    Glenn – see #10 above where I offer a way to discuss peacefulness that takes population growth into account while avoiding the concept of ‘relative’ peace and also avoiding emphasis on the empirical observation/fact that people are dropping like flies

  • james halverson

    [personal attack deleted by comments editor] The use of disinformation, secrecy, and deception as war time tactics, has been around as long as war itself. That has nothing to do with this case. Manning shed light onto a corrupt, secretive, unchecked and unconstrained power structure that was, and still is, carrying out inhumane acts with utter impunity. And frankly, MY government, whom I elected to represent MY interests and to jealousy protect MY freedoms, that is SWORN to uphold MY constitution……NEVER has the right to keep secrets from ME in the name of my safety. PERIOD!!! YOU need to wake up sir.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And frankly, MY government, whom I elected to represent MY interests and to jealousy protect MY freedoms, that is SWORN to uphold MY constitution……NEVER has the right to keep secrets from ME in the name of my safety. PERIOD!!!

    Naivete, thy name is James. Same goes for rank ignorance.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    What’s especially comical is that the Jameses of this world are the same people who are in the front row standing up and applauding sentiments such as those expressed in Warren’s latest, in which people who vote in THEIR own SELF-interest are decried…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great show, Dreadful (Grateful Dead come to mind). Now you’re encouraging Glenn in his delinquencies. Gone are troll’s fine words about finding a common ground to helps us negotiate between conflicting paradigms.

    So long as you have the last word, I suppose that’s all that matters!

  • Igor

    I was about to conclude that MY IP is at fault. Many time coincidences. This OpSys is Win7, not linux.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Just because Doc might agree with me concerning ONE person’s conduct does not mean that he agrees with my “delinquencies” – in fact, IIRC, he in no wise endorsed what I wrote in this article.

    The reason you wrote that in #141 is IMO for the same reason the Republicans immediately castigated Chris Christie for complimenting Obama – for to them, their first rule is Thou Shalt Not Say Anything Good About Obama Or Agree With Anything He Does…and it seems your first rule is much the same about me. Perhaps you’re more conservative than you think….

  • Wil Greene

    Right-wing thug Richard Armitage should be in prison for outing Valerie Plame. Manning’s a hero because he let the American taxpayers know some of the disgusting crap our military did in Iraq and he didn’t aid the enemy in doing so!