Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette
One of the many things that PFC. Bradley Manning has been accused of is the release of the “Collateral Murder” video which depicted the indiscriminate murder of innocent civilians and two Reuters journalists by an Apache helicopter crew in a suburb of Baghdad. Now former soldiers who were members of the ground troops are coming forward and speaking out about the video, illegal orders and how the media is unfairly depicting Manning to to cover up war crimes. These brave men are calling Manning a hero if he is indeed the person who released that video.
One of the responses was a criticism of how Manning is being used to propagandized the war by journalists, specifically referencing a personal profile of Manning by Stephen Fishman in the New York magazine. The article written by former Army Specialist Ethan McCord, who served in Bravo Company 2-16, the ground troops involved in the “Collateral Murder” video, is published in its entirety by Glenn Greenwald. Here is just a little of what Spec. McCord wrote:
Serving with my unit 2nd battalion 16th infantry in New Baghdad Iraq, I vividly remember the moment in 2007, when our Battalion Commander walked into the room and announced our new rules of engagement:
“Listen up, new battalion SOP (standing operating procedure) from now on: Anytime your convoy gets hit by an IED, I want 360 degree rotational fire. You kill every [expletive] in the street!”
We weren’t trained extensively to recognize an unlawful order, or how to report one. But many of us could not believe what we had just been told to do. Those of us who knew it was morally wrong struggled to figure out a way to avoid shooting innocent civilians, while also dodging repercussions from the non-commissioned officers who enforced the policy. In such situations, we determined to fire our weapons, but into rooftops or abandoned vehicles, giving the impression that we were following procedure.
The video released by WikiLeaks belongs in the public record. Covering up this incident is a matter deserving of criminal inquiry. Whoever revealed it is an American hero in my book.
Fishman removes politics from a story that has everything to do with politics. The important public issues wrapped up with PFC Manning’s case include: transparency in government; the Obama Administration’s unprecedented pursuit of whistle-blowers; accountability of government and military in shaping and carrying out foreign policy; war crimes revealed in the WikiLeaks documents; the catalyzing role these revelations played in democratic movements across the Middle East; and more.
Demonizing and discrediting those who expose the criminality and corruption is now the weapon of choice by journalists and the media that wish to be subservient to a corrupt government. As Greenwald said in his article:
Who needs White House fear-mongers, propagandists, plumbers and character assassins when so many in the establishment press compete so vigorously to perform those functions instead?
Manning is now being held at Ft. Leavenworth, KS after being subjected to months of conditions that amounted to torture in the brig at Quantico Marine Base. The U.N.’s top official on torture, Juan Mendez, announced last December that his office would formally investigate those conditions and has repeated requested private access to talk to Manning. He has been repeatedly refused permission by the Obama administration. Mendez is publicly accusing the Obama administration of violating U.N. rules. Considering the Obama administrations attack on whistle blowers and the continued refusal to prosecute the crimes they expose, they are very likely afraid of what Manning would say to Mendez.