Check out this headline that ran on the front page of The Nation’s website: “Bradley Manning vs. SEAL Team 6.” Let’s not let the suspense kill you about who the self-described “flagship of the left” chooses between the WikiLeaks leaker and the elite Navy anti-terrorism squad; The Nation is Team Manning all the way.
As scribe Chase Madar lays it out:
The prosecution of Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks’ source inside the US Army, will be pulling out all the stops when it calls to the stand a member of Navy SEAL Team 6, the unit that assassinated Osama bin Laden. The SEAL (in partial disguise, as his identity is secret) is expected to tell the military judge that classified documents leaked by Manning to WikiLeaks were found on bin Laden’s laptop. That will, in turn, be offered as proof not that bin Laden had Internet access like 2 billion other earthlings, but that Manning has “aided the enemy,” a capital offense.
Well, that’s exactly the problem with revealing a huge amount of classified information willy-nilly, as Manning is accused of doing. Some of the two billion people with Internet access are the enemies of our nation, and that leak gives them access to the data, as well. Manning isn’t accused of sending bin Laden the classified material directly via email, but his actions couldn’t have gotten the info to those committed to destroying America any more efficiently.
This doesn’t make much of a case for Manning, but Madar makes a play for liberal victimology:
Think of it as courtroom cartoon theater: the heroic slayer of the jihadi super-villain testifying against the ultimate bad soldier, a five-foot-two-inch gay man facing twenty-two charges in military court and accused of the biggest security breach in US history.
Manning isn’t on trial for being gay. Since Manning is white (pale, even), Madar can’t accuse the military of racism, so he throws the Randy Newman long bomb and says Manning is targeted as a short person. This isn’t a cartoon, however; it’s the biggest security breach in U.S. history, as Madar himself says. That’s why the conclusion the The Nation reaches is so bizarre.
But let’s be clear on one thing: Manning, the young Army intelligence analyst who leaked thousands of public documents and passed them on to WikiLeaks, has done far more for US national security than SEAL Team 6.
Of course, SEAL Team 6 has done a lot more than just taking down bin Laden; they are one of the United State’s four highly secretive counter-terrorism groups, along with units like the Army’s Delta Force. Even their full mission is classified, and the details of most of the work they’ve done may never be known but includes fighting in terror hotspot Somalia and rescuing people from the Taliban.
None of this matters, however, if you agree with Madar and The Nation that the United States is a force for evil in the world. In that case, Manning wins. Madar concludes hie piece:
Did Manning violate provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice? He certainly did, and a crushing sentence of possibly decades in military prison is surely on its way. Military law is marvelously elastic when it comes to rape and sexual assault and perfectly easygoing about the slaughter of foreign civilians, but it puts on a stern face for the unspeakable act of declassifying documents. But the young private’s act of civil defiance was in fact a first step in reversing the pathologies that have made our foreign policy a string of self-inflicted homicidal disasters. By letting us in on more than a half-million “secrets,” Bradley Manning has done far more for American national security than SEAL Team 6 ever did.
So, who is author Chase Madar? He’s a New York civil-liberties attorney and author of the book The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story Behind the Wikileaks Whistleblower who has written for The Huffington Post, Salon, Al Jazeera English, Michael Moore’s blogs, and The American Conservative. If that last one throws you, Madar defends it in this interview on a pro-Manning site:
I’m a broad-minded guy and I’m happy to work with other people towards common goals, even if we don’t agree on everything: that’s coalition politics and I wish there were more of it. Ron Paul, by the way, is the only Presidential candidate on either side to defend WikiLeaks & Bradley Manning, which is terrific. So despite disagreements on things like abortion, gay rights and healthcare, I’m very happy to work with the paleocons and the libertarians on matters of foreign policy and civil liberties, where they are just rock-solid.
The premise of the pro-Manning forces–left or libertarian–all share is that the United States is a bad actor, the world’s most dangerous superpower. Terrorism? We brought it on ourselves. Totalitarian governments bent on world takeover? Hey, that sounds like America to this group. It’s a profoundly naive form of anti-Americanism.
Madar’s article makes a few references to the NSA scandal that show why the PRISM revelations have become the left’s favorite Obama scandal; the interview with NSA whistleblower Snowden was done by Manning supporter Glenn Greenwald right as Manning’s trial is ramping up.
Pray we don’t have an Atlas Shrugged moment in the military where the SEAL Team Sixes of the world don’t quit and leave our nation’s defense to the likes of Bradley Manning; the resulting carnage might possibly make Madar and his ilk realize that the problem wasn’t the United States but the sworn enemies of freedom. And that realization would come far too late.