There has been a debate for years now regarding the impact of Chelsea Manning and whether or not she is a hero or traitor. Manning was prosecuted for leaking numerous classified materials and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks. While traditionally opposed to the protection of big government, conservatives have been mixed on the Manning issue – especially military and veteran Americans, who claim that Manning endangered lives overseas.
It may or may not be true that the leaks endangered the lives of soldiers. Stirring up outrage against the United States of America by leaking things such as the Collateral Murder video didn’t help relations in the Middle East.
Given that some people were giving the military a bad name, what would have been a better course for Manning? Take the politically correct route and go through official channels? That worked out well for Edward Snowden, too.
Let’s assume that Manning did actually endanger lives and that lives were lost because of her actions. Was the actual loss of life from a Private leaking information worse than a government sending the military into harm’s way without proper authorization? Or did the Bush Administration’s using questionable justification to send soldiers to war surpass the toll Chelsea Manning took on the military?
It’s a legitimate question to ask. Many opponents of Manning’s actions have done so because it risked the lives of active duty military and put American lives at risk.
Should former President George W. Bush be arrested for putting the lives of active duty military in danger?
The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, was a tragic attack, but it was also an incredible intelligence failure. As information has later shown, some of the hijackers had been followed and certain intelligence agencies had various pieces of the puzzle. By the time anyone had a clue, it was too late.
Regardless, we invaded Afghanistan to avenge the fallen and the Bush Administration formally launched the “War on Terror” to stop terrorism abroad. The problem with this broad policy point is that it was used to justify anything, both domestically and across the globe. The surveillance state, much of which Snowden exposed, was expanded under the guise of stopping the terrorists. We also marched into Iraq to stop evil.
In the time since the Iraq invasion, information has come to light that has put the reasoning for the conflict in questionable light. Furthermore, whether it was justified or not, it was not properly authorized. Under the United States Constitution, Congress must formally declare war for military intervention to be legal.
Congress has not formally declared war since World War 2, though. From Korea to Iraq, the conflicts have all been unauthorized and thus have endangered the lives of the military illegally. But some Americans are outraged over a whistleblower?
Chelsea Manning was mistreated while awaiting trial and now is being placed in solitary confinement after attempting suicide due to her treatment. Her opponents say this is justified because of her actions. If leaking documents justifies mistreatment, what are the Manning opponents really saying about every aggressive President in the second half of the twentieth century? Should former President George W. Bush be imprisoned?