Bradley Manning, Obama, and The Iraq War.
Bradley Manning is a 24 year old U.S. Army solider from Oklahoma, who is facing life in prison because he spoke out against what he believed to be wrong. An openly gay solider who had access to classified networks for long periods of time. He believed that files and videos that he had access to deserved to be in the public domain. He said he hoped the material would lead to “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”. Manning leaked this information to Wiki Leaks so the public could really know what was actually going on in these wars that cost millions of deaths, and billions of dollars.
Manning was arrested on May 29, 2010, on July 29, 2010 Manning was moved from Kuwait to the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. He was held for 9 months as a “maximum custody detainee”. During those 9 months he stayed in a 6x12ft cell, with no windows for 23 Hrs a day. He was denied sleep between the hours of 5am and 8pm, no sheets for his bed, no pillow, and forced to sleep in his boxers, which resulted in server chaffing of the skin. Frustrated with his treatment Manning made a sarcastic comment to one of the guards saying if he wanted to hurt himself, he could do so “with the elastic waistband of his boxers or his flip flops”. After that comment Manning was forced to sleep naked, and stand in front of his cell naked every morning.
Manning’s treatment was brought to the public’s attention and there was immediate outrage. In March of 2011 State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley speaking to a small audience called Manning’s treatment “ridiculous, and counterproductive, and stupid”. This caught headlines, and at a Press Conference a few days later, Jake Tapper from ABC News asked President Obama if he agreed with P.J Crowley’s statement. Obama responded by saying “I asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards.” “They (the pentagon) assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well.” A few days after that press conference P.J Crowley resigned as State Department spokesman.
In April of 2011 during a fundraiser Obama was asked again about Manning’s treatment, he responded by saying: “I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source,” Obama told an unidentified questioner. “That’s not how … the world works. If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law … We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.” Mind you this statement was made a year before the Manning trial would actually begin. So now according to Obama the Commander-in-Chief, Manning broke the law and he is guilty before he even stands trial before the military courts.
It is an outrage that a President like Obama who ran on a platform of ending torture, and transparency would allow this to happen. And, when confronted about what was going on he would just respond with “He broke the Law” and “his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards.”. Glad to see “Our” basic standards are what Obama considered torture when he was running for President in 2008, and in which he bashed former President Bush of doing to alleged foreign terrorist. Now “Our basic standards” are allowing torture of an American Citizen, who didn’t even stand trial. If this would of happened today, under the NDAA 2012 (which Obama signed into law 1/1/12) Bradley Manning or anyone who speaks out against war crimes, or wrong doing by their government would be arrested and detained indefinitely with no right to a trial. You would just disappear and your voice would be silenced.
On October 21, 2011 Obama makes a big announcement: “After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011. As Commander-in-Chief, ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities.” also stating by the end of the year all troops will be withdrawn from combat in Iraq. Woo, everyone praise Obama, Hooray!!! He fulfilled another promise….Wait not so fast. Obama and Leon Panneta both said that they intended on keeping up to 20,000 combat troops in Iraq past the 12/31/11 deadline. They didn’t want to end the war, they were forced out by the Iraqi Government. Why were they forced out you ask? Well in a cable released by Wiki Leaks, in which they received from Bradley Manning, it shows that US forces were responsible for at least 10 Iraqi civilians (LINK) which included a 70 year old grandmother, and 5 month old infant. The US government covered this up by bombing the house in which the crime was committed, but before they could , the people of the village captured photos, and reported eye witnesses account to back up the cable provided by Bradley Manning. Which stated that an autoposy performed on the victims showed that they were handcuffed and shot in the head. The Iraqi government was furious about this and refuse to accept Obama’s plea to keep 20,000 combat troops in Iraq for the years to come. Now, Obama uses this as a big campaign message, that he fulfilled his promise to the end the War in Iraq, yet when the real hero is Bradley Manning.
So now Bradley Manning, a brave solider who has been tortured for 9 months, charged with “aiding the enemy”, and now faces life in prison, for what? Speaking out about something he thought was ethically and morally wrong. Something he felt that the American people deserved to know what was going on in the Middle East. Tortured by the administration of a President who claims to care about humans rights, and transparency. Who says that ”I was clear throughout this campaign and was clear throughout this transition that under my administration the United States does not torture,”
“We will abide by the Geneva Conventions. We will uphold our highest ideals.”. What a crock of shit. And people wonder why I dislike Obama so much, they say “Oh, it’s just one person who broke the law” When did speaking out against murder, rape, violence, and depravity become breaking the law. Bradley Manning did what was right and now faces life in prison. Make your voice be heard and speak out!!!
“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” -Thomas Jefferson