Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The truth comes with a hefty price tag

Two-and-a-half years ago, the U.S. Army accused Pfc. Bradley Manning of leaking classified documents that embarrassed the U.S. government to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. For nine months he was held in a brig at Quantico, Virginia and subjected to physical and mental torture. When word leaked out about the way the government was treating him, he was moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he has been held since.

Now, in another twist to this case, Mr. Manning has offered to plead guilty to some of the lesser charges but still maintains he never aided any enemy of the United States.

The documents that Wikileaks published contained cables from the U.S. government that showed the duplicitous, cynical nature of U.S. diplomacy. The documents highlighted how the U.S. got itself involved in the internal affairs of other nations. The documents outlined how our government was torturing so-called enemy combatants in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Mr. Manning is a whistleblower. He exposed to the American people just what our government does in our name. Yes, some of the documents were very embarrassing. So freaking what? If our government can't defend its actions, then maybe someone in Washington needs to be thinking twice before deciding to meddle in another country's affairs.

We don't need any more secrecy. What we need is transparency. We shouldn't have to root around in the dark trying to find out what's being done in our names. We have a right to know what our elected, and appointed, officials are doing. Never forget that they work for us.

I have a theory that if all the backroom dealings that go around the world had to be conducted in broad daylight in the street, that there would be far less conflict. If governments were forced to answer for their deeds, someone might think twice before acting. If elected officials were held responsible for what happened under their watch, maybe someone would actually keep watch.

Bradley Manning is being punished for exposing the truth. How is that a bad thing?

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