Once upon a time, in a time that feels long ago, the American left was staunchly opposed to war. Former President George W. Bush was an evil man because he sent the United States military into Iraq as part of an invasion based upon lies. The weapons of mass destruction justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein turned out to be false, as long suspected. It was all a lie and people died.
Wikileaks, a whistleblower website that was dedicated to transparency, in an age when governments won’t have any part of it, became a hero of the left for helping expose the Iraq War. When the “Collateral Murder” video leaked, exposing potential war crimes in Iraq, the left was outraged.
Just as we never should have been there, it was time for our military to get out of Iraq.
The whistleblower who leaked this video and countless other documents was a young man named Bradley Manning, a Private First Class who turned over this information to help expose what he was concerned about. Now identifying as a woman named Chelsea, she sits in prison for her contribution to exposing the problems with the wars.
The left celebrated Wikileaks’ constant contribution to transparency as they aired out the dirty laundry our government and others did not want outed.
Everything changed in 2016.
The Democratic Party nominated one of the most prominent career politicians in the United States to run for President. Hillary Clinton was a former First Lady, Secretary of State and United States Senator. Serving as a spouse in the White House and in two branches of government, she had at the core of business as usual in Washington D.C.
As Julian Assange sat holed up in an Ecuadorian Embassy while British authorities waited to arrest him, Wikileaks began releasing documents of enormous significance. Democratic National Committee leaks showed internal hatred and bigotry that contradicted their official line of rhetoric, and proved the allegation by Donald Trump that Senator Bernie Sanders had indeed been cheated out of a fair primary.
John Podesta’s e-mail was hacked and haunted by daily leaks. Some days were uneventful, whilst other days exposed some interesting and unsettling things about the inner workings of the Clinton camp.
Despite the fact that Clinton herself, as a United States Senator, was a party to the Iraq invasion, the Democratic Party that once celebrated Wikileaks now took offense to the organization’s mission of transparency. Transparency was now a vicious Russian conspiracy, and Assange was acting on behalf of Vladimir Putin from within his room at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Chelsea Manning, after detailed mistreatment by the government, continues to sit in prison. Even though she has formally asked President Obama to give her time served and allow her to be a free woman again, there has been no response from the President and it remains unlikely he will ever respond.
Where is the American left?
Even while constantly attacking the Republican Party for opposing LGBT rights, the American left has remained silent as a transgender woman who helped expose the Iraq war remains imprisoned for being a whistleblower. After spending years hammering a Republican administration for the disastrous impact of the Iraq War, they abandoned Wikileaks for exposing a woman who has been at the forefront of aggression towards Iraq and ultimately voted to send our soldiers there in 2003.