The United States of America, a country that prides itself on being the “land of the free and home of the brave”, stands this week as a monument to hypocrisy. In a bitter twist of irony, it has been made clear that those who act with bravery can expect to pay for it with the loss of their freedom.
Never has this been more clearly evidenced than by the recent sentencing of army whistleblower Bradley Manning. The biased and inhumane treatment of Manning, a man willing to give up his personal freedom and security in the spirit of justice and humanity, has been legally sanctioned even while Washington takes further steps toward global militarization in countries like Syria and North Korea.
As Norman Solomon wrote in an open letter to President Obama:
“Bradley Manning… didn’t just follow orders or turn his head at the sight of unconscionable policies of the U.S. government. Finding himself in a situation where he could shatter the numbed complacency that is the foundation of war, he cared — and he took action as a whistleblower.”
Upon receiving his 35-year prison sentence and dishonourable discharge, Bradley Manning issued the following in a statement to the U.S. President:
“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.”
The bottom line is clear: in a country that glorifies armed conflict, Manning’s sentencing comes as a warning to those who choose peace over war, truth over deception. In the words of Stephen Lendman:
“America today represents heart of darkness harshness. It’s a hair’s breadth from full-blown tyranny. Manning’s fate can be anyone’s.”
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