ahhh, the life of a diplomatic princess . . .

My Chelsea (Bradley) Manning Purge

Fair warning, this will be less blog and more rant but if I don’t get this out of my system I will become completely non-productive and I just have too much to do for that to happen. So … I swear to God, if I read the impassioned words of one more human rights activist who is defending Bradley (now Chelsea, so I will refer to her in the feminine from here on out) Manning I’m going to scream.

I’m curious to know what human rights activists who are defending Manning think about the fact that her actions have further exposed people around the globe who are also human rights activists–civil society activists, opponents of repressive regimes, people who risk everything to try to make their countries more just places. Their names were in the classified State Department cables and now any foreign service intelligence agency can see who they are, they are at great risk. Many already risk everything on a daily basis–their jobs, their freedom, the safety of their families, their lives–in order to try to make their countries more humane and just places. When they interact with the State Department their identities are classified for a reason and, for the sake of diplomacy as well as for their sake, they need to stay that way. Manning’s actions weren’t a precise revealing of war crimes, she made a massive document dump, an indiscriminate revealing of information that has now put at risk people whose anonymity needs to be protected. How are those the actions of a heroine and why is that something some human rights activists are applauding? I’m gobsmacked, seriously. Do they not realize how much more at risk those people now are? Are they not thinking past the headlines surrounding the now folk heroine? Are they just jumping on a bandwagon? Jesus. I expect more from organizations like Amnesty International and School of the Americas Watch (whose founder, Father Roy Bourgeois, is an absolute hero of mine). Shouldn’t they be more worried about protecting and advocating for the people Manning exposed? People whose lives are at actual risk? People who could be tortured and murdered, dumped by the side of the road? Their support of her makes me want to beat my head against a wall.

My personal pissed offness has also been focused on the fact that her actions potentially put at risk people like my husband and other diplomats, and her fellow soldiers. Yes, I realize it has been established that no evil things transpired because of the leaked cables but she did not know what she was revealing, she just did a flat out, no holds barred, dump and could have very easily revealed things that put those people at great risk–my inner mamma bear is poked big time when someone potentially puts my family at risk. Period. So there’s also that.

Manning is being treated as a heroine. She isn’t. She took an oath and part of that oath is to keep classified documents classified because they are classified for a reason. I have a husband with a security clearance and I have never, not once ever, asked him to reveal anything to me. I wouldn’t do that. Nor would he, not in a million years, reveal anything to me. Because he took an oath, because it’s his job, his career, his duty to our country and, if at any time he felt he couldn’t uphold that duty to the absolute highest standard, he would resign. If you feel, morally, you cannot believe in the oath you take when you have a job like Manning’s then step down and I will applaud your moral strength and integrity. Until that point, do your freaking job because lives actually do depend on it.

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3 thoughts on “My Chelsea (Bradley) Manning Purge

  1. FSO still cleaning up on said:

    Thank you for making some very important points. As far as human rights organizations, it’s not just about the threats that our NGO contacts in some countries have been exposed to by having their names revealed. It’s also about the NGO contacts who will no longer meet with us because they can no longer trust that they will remain anonymous in the public domain. It ticks me off beyond measure that the State Department’s mandate to report on human rights around the world – one of our most important tasks in terms of keeping American foreign policy in line with American values – has become more difficult because of what a disgruntled Army specialist chose to do. It infuriates me that s/he apparently had no oversight or safeguards on her/his access to our classified information (especially when I think about all the safeguards that State Department officers have to navigate.) And it saddens me that the kind of intelligence sharing that the interagency community felt we needed more of in the wake of 9/11 has become harder, now, because of Manning’s actions.

    Above all, as you pointed out, Manning deliberately violated his obligation to protect the classified information entrusted to her/him – not to release targeted information about war crimes, but in an incredibly sophomoric “F*** you” to the United States Government. That’s not the action of a hero, that’s the action of a bratty child in a fit of pique. And shame on Amnesty and others for not calling that out.

    • Absolutely 100% agree, and I’m incredibly disappointed that human rights activists are being so short sighted about their involvement with her. She’s not a bloody martyr, she committed crimes, she betrayed her oath and her obligations. And you would think that human rights organizations, especially major ones such as Amnesty, would be able to see beyond the headlines to the consequences of having our diplomatic relations with NGOs whose focus is human rights damaged. Not to mention the fact that strong, effective diplomacy (and I happen to think the members of our Foreign Service do a damn fine job) can prevent war. This particular bandwagon is incredibly frustrating.

  2. Oh my gosh, 1000% right and thank you for writing this. I finally broke down and shared a status from the transgender former Navy Seal saying much the same thing, and some of my friends lost their freaking minds! It is as if the fact that she was saying she was gay and now is saying she is transgender makes what she did understandable. But as a gay person serving our country, that offends me. Being gay or transgender is not an illness that leads you to commit treason! And neither is it a reason to feel sorry for her. If she wanted to blow the whistle on a particular issue, do it. As an American Indian, I am the first to acknowledge our countries flaws. But what she did was neither heroic nor whistle blowing. Our jobs are harder and the world is more dangerous because of people like her. I

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