The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.— Bradley Manning
Disappointed that Rand spoke of the Iraqi invasion but didn’t mention that Saddam switching oil sales from dollar to euro was the major cause of war or that article to declare war with Iraq were drafted well before 9/11 took place.
I am from a middle class family. My parents could easily have paid for my education. I joined the Army instead. Now the government is paying for my education. At a very prestigious school I might add.
You may think we don’t have a choice in the matter, but we do. To say that Americans were forced to join the military is a logical fallacy. There are plenty of other options to cure desperate situations. Why do you think they turn to robbing liquor stores?
In the end, it wasn’t a trap. In fact, I am better off now than I was when I graduated high school. And don’t make it sound so terrible. The military is a great institution. You take a kid off the streets and instantly he is surrounded by role models. People that he can relate to.
And you think we join because we don’t have another way to work or pay for school? I don’t think you realize how patriotic service-members are. It sounds like the only ones you know probably came from IVAW or Operation Winter Soldier.
Suicide mission? Really? You talk like we’re back in WW1 charging trenches. The blue to red KIA ratio is entirely disproportionate.
Last thing, I don’t want your sympathy. I may not have known what I was getting myself into, but I knew where I would end up. And believe it or not, I am ok with that.
Cool, but your circumstances don’t refute the overall fact that the poor are targeted as recruits: http://www.pslweb.org/liberationnews/newspaper/vol-6-no-10/the-economic-draft-and-the.html
And I never said no one has a choice, everyone has a choice, it just so happens that the choice of joining the military is the most attractive to many. There is no logical fallacy here, it’s simple economics, the gains from joining the military (free college, above average pay) is more attractive than the alternative for many 17 and 18 year olds who are just coming out of high school (some of which who don’t have the grades, money or connivance of going to college).
“You take a kid off the streets and instantly he is surrounded by role models.” No, he’s surrounded by power hungry authoritarians that spend months breaking your will and turning you into an obedient organic weapon and telling you that you are better for it. They rewire your brain function to not question and to only obey. You are not taught to think freely, you are taught to think intelligently within their bandwidth.
I don’t doubt that many are patriotic, I’m patriotic, too. I just don’t advocate mindlessly doing the bidding of others and killing people simply because someone else told me I should kill them. Murder is not patriotic.
Can you even give me a justification for why we are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, etc? You really think those people are a threat to America? You sound like you’ve been there, tell me, do they have the means of attacking and invading America? They live in clay huts, farm goats, smoke drugs and pray all day. Some of them don’t even know what 9/11 is. We aren’t there for “justice”. If you think that’s the case, you’re delusional.
Yes, it’s a suicide mission. You are willingly entering a War Zone where people are actively shooting at you. There have been 2,000+ deaths in Afghanistan and 4,000+ deaths in Iraq. That’s over 6,000 dead soldiers in 10 years. I don’t know about you, but when’s the last time an accountant died from punching in numbers? Military service is a hazardous occupation, to deny as much is idiotic not patriotic.