Is Chelsea Manning a hero or a traitor? | The Tylt
Is Chelsea Manning a hero or a traitor?
Harvard withdrew its fellowship invitation for Chelsea Manning after criticism from officials like Michael J. Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, and current CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The school is still inviting her to come speak to students, just not as a Visiting Fellow.
Morell resigned from his fellowship at Harvard, saying:
“It is my right, indeed my duty, to argue that the school’s decision is wholly inappropriate and to protest it by resigning from the Kennedy School.”
Pompeo wrote a letter to the Kennedy school saying:
“Ms. Manning betrayed her country. It has everything to do with her identity as a traitor to the United States of America and my loyalty to the officers of the C.I.A"
However, Manning's supporters say the outrage is bullshit. No one has any issues with Sean Spicer, who lied to the American public on President Donald Trump's behalf. No one has issues with Corey Lewandowski either, who allegedly assaulted a reporter.
Chelsea Manning leaked hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, military reports and videos to WikiLeaks. The leak famously included a video showing a U.S. military helicopter firing on civilians and a journalist.
Worse yet, Manning was subjected to humiliating and brutal conditions while in military custody. She was kept in solitary confinement and was forced to stand nude for inspection.
Her leaks had minimal impact on the security and safety of Americans and American allies. But it brought to light the worst atrocities committed by American and allied forces during the Iraq war. It revealed corruption in the war-torn region and even helped to spark the Arab spring.
Chelsea acted because her conscience couldn't let her stand idly by. She's a hero, not a traitor.
Manning's critics say she is a traitor. She stole information and recklessly released it to the public. It's true there is no evidence the leaks endangered or killed anyone. But that's just pure luck. Manning made no effort to filter the information or ensure that it would not cause any damage.
There's a huge difference between whistleblowing and what Chelsea Manning did. She exposed information about military operations, U.S. allies, and other state actors without identifying any single issue or minimizing harm. Moreover, she abandoned her duty as a member of the military. She potentially put the lives of her fellow soldiers at risk. That's a traitor, not a hero.
To be clear, this wasn’t whistleblowing. He didn’t identify a specific wrong and expose it responsibly while taking care to minimize the harm of disclosure. He just disclosed documents without regard for their contents. He didn’t know if anyone would die because of his actions. He didn’t know to what extent vital missions or programs would be compromised. He just did what he wanted to do. There was no honor in his action. None.