Wednesday, August 11

How the Military Destroys the Lives of Soldiers Who Try to Tell the Truth | World | AlterNet

How the Military Destroys the Lives of Soldiers Who Try to Tell the Truth | World | AlterNet

Whether I agree with it on a moral level or not, I recognize that Manning, if he is actually guilty of leaking the video in question (technically, he's still only accused), broke the law. Personally I think he deserves a medal but I have low expectations for real justice in that sense. I also believe that, when regular people take matters into their own hands and don the whistle-blower or civil disobedient mantle, they have to know that there will be consequences. Hell, those consequences are part of the reason for civil disobedience; It's drawing that unjust fire that forces people to pay attention, isn't it?

That said, this kind of disproportionate prosecution is just one example of the ongoing popularity of the criminalization of dissent by supposedly 'democratic' governments. When people actually call the government, any government, to task and force some measure of honesty out of them the reaction is sadly predictable. The first instinct, it appears, is to try to silence the truth and then make it as dangerous and daunting as possible for anyone else to ever consider doing it again.

In all of these cases the sophomoric reaction reveals more about how afraid and insecure the authorities are in their power and justification. Their actions remind me of toddlers that react to a disappearing toy by grabbing the nearest flesh and biting as hard as they can. Which in turn reminds me of a poorly trained dog.

Manning, Wikileaks, the political arrestees from the Toronto G20, the Mavi Marmara, 1.5 million Palestinians; all of these are current examples of this kind of bully-thinking. When is enough going to be enough?