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View Diary: Bradley Manning - In His Own Words (104 comments)

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  •  Is the military itself an authoritarian (0+ / 0-)

    structured organization? The answer is yes.

    Our military may be the military of a democracy, but it itself doesn't run on democratic principles. It's top-down. One would hope that anyone that goes into the military realizes that.

    I wasn't saying that people that go into the military themselves want to be on the top of an authoritarian structure. I'm saying that if you go into the military, you'd better realize that the military now OWNS you, for your term of service.

    And Manning went in not only after we were well hip-deep in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and while Bush and the rest of the slimeballs were still running the place. If he didn't know what he was getting into, that's on him.

    And, of course there are kind, generous, thoughtful, righteous people that are in the military. But they've given their lives to a top-down authoritarian organization. As long as they realize that.... And, no, people that join the military are far more patriotic than I am. I'm not patriotic at all. I'd move to Sweden in a fucking heartbeat if I could.

    "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

    by ChurchofBruce on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 08:14:41 AM PDT

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    •  By your definition... (1+ / 0-)
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      ...most, if not ALL, institutions are 'authoritarian' to one degree or another...which makes the argument a little weak.

      Isn't someone who goes to work for a tobacco company OWNED by that company?  Don't they sign all kinds of non-disclosure contracts?  Does this preclude him or her from running to Mike Wallace with a report commissioned and hidden by that tobacco company linking smoking to lung cancer?

      Obviously, Manning, by his own admission, stated that he BELIEVED that what we were doing in Iraq was proper PRIOR to his service in the military.  He discovered that he was mistaken while serving because he was witness to the lies that were being told on a daily basis.  This is important because there is a HUGE segment of the population that never questions the pronouncements or actions of the government (especially the military), and these people VOTE.

      So no, I still don't buy the argument that joining the military means you have to accept some sort of authoritarian mind-set...or any more of an authoritarian mind-set as when you obey your company's 'Dress Code' or submit to a drug test as a requirement of employment.

      He is paying -- and will continue to pay -- a great price for having the courage to oppose that very mind-set by acting according to the dictates of his conscience.

      •  As someone who is completely (1+ / 0-)
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        anti-authoritarian, I agree with you that most institutions are authoritarian to some degree or another. And, yes, dress codes and pee-in-a-cup apply to a degree.

        But the military is a number of steps above that. Your tobacco executive example is a good one, because it shows the similarities and differences. There would be consequences for violating the non-disclose agreement. What are they? Depends on the terms of the agreement. But there would be consequences. If you're comfortable about exposing yourself to those consequences because you have a moral imperative to do so, good on you--but don't pretend you didn't know the consequences.

        So, what are the consequences for passing along classified material when you are an employee of the US Army? I think we all know what they are. I think Manning does, too.

        For the record, I get the impression Manning knows there are consequences to what he did, he's just trying to mitigate them. (I don't blame him--this shouldn't be anything close to a capital crime, or even life in prison--as I said elsewhere, time served or even a couple more years on top of that I think would be fair justice.) However, I get the impression that some of his supporters think there should be no consequences. I don't agree with that.

        He signed on the dotted line for an organization that has one of its major tenets, "Obey orders and keep your mouth shut."

        As for him thinking what we did in Iraq was proper before he signed up--he signed up after Abu Ghraib blew up.

        After many years in retail, last July, I finally got sick of the abuse and told a nasty idiotic customer who was screaming at me to fuck off. Did I know the consequences? You bet your ass I did. I got fired. I knew I would. I didn't mind at all--but I didn't expect to keep my job.

        "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

        by ChurchofBruce on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:03:25 AM PDT

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        •  :) First thing... (0+ / 0-)

          ...I'll start with your last point, because I certainly empathize with your scenario because I want to tell clients to fuck off at least 20 times a day, and I live in constant fear of the consequences were I to give in to that impulse:

          A major, if not DEFINING, component of working in a service-related field is customer service.  You weren't fired because of some insidious authoritarian mind-set, but because you failed to perform your job properly -- as much as I would have supported you in telling someone to fuck off.  And believe me, in 99% of the situations where I see someone in retail roll their eyes, the customer usually ALWAYS has it coming.  :)

          Second, I'm not among the Bradley Manning supporters who think there should be no consequences for his actions.  Quite the contrary, I think there should be swift and severe consequences:

          They should pin a medal on his chest and promote him as soon as possible.  

          Also, the people in the chain of command who rebuffed his actions when he took steps to make his superiors aware of the illegality he was witnessing should see the inside of a brig and receive a court martial.


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