Thursday, August 22, 2013

On The Internet, Nobody Know You're Really A Cat

     Or maybe a cockroach typing by leaping up and down on the keys.*  (Title reference explained for the history-impaired.)

     Been a lot of snark and blather about Bradley Manning's long-telegraphed ("bombshell"?  Puh-leeze)  announcement that he would far rather be a she, much of it altogether crude.

     Let's step back a moment, shall we?  Like you, I'd just as soon so much recent history didn't read like Jerry Springer transcripts, but in the case of Pvt. Manning, a guy that small and that young was going to be in serious risk of rape in a heavy-duty Federal pen even if his nickname was "Spike" and he could punch though walls bareknuckled.  Going public -- and probably getting sent to the "sexually-different prisoner" unit you'll find at nearly every large prison, official or not -- is Manning's safest possible course.

     I have repeatedly opined that a sworn member of the military in particular has a price to pay for breaking security, no matter how morally motivated their actions or how trivial the official secrets revealed.  He took an oath to serve and then broke it, and now the piper must be paid.  In this case, the bill is 35 years in prison.  --It's not 35 years of sexual abuse.

     The kinds of abuses prisoners inflict on one another, and particularly on the most vulnerable among them, are no joke.  It's just another way in which prisons become finishing schools for crime and bent minds; it doesn't punish in any proportional way and it doesn't do a darned thing to reform criminals.

     Is the whole call-me-Chelsea thing kind of, well, tacky?  Yes.  Is it discomfiting?  Damn skippy.

     That doesn't make it a very funny joke.
* archy wants you to know that computer keyboards have solved his problems with the shift key.  And there's an odd connection, here, too: the original illustrations of archy the cockroach and his pals were drawn by George Herriman, better known and much loved for Krazy Kat -- and from behind a drawing board, nobody knows you're black.  For all his talent, for all his work was enjoyed by millions, he spent his whole life hiding his hair under a hat, talking about Greek ancestors to explain his dark complexion, "passing" lest he be despised for his true ancestry.


Bob said...

Have to agree. Prison rape should not be winked at the way that it is in this country, and it's unworthy of a country that purports to be advanced and civilized. I think the reason that prison rape is winked at is that it is seen as more of a deterrent than simple incarceration, and is probably the reason that many criminals suicide rather than face jail.

Keads said...

I concur with your assessment of this situation.

Borepatch said...

Well said, Roberta.

Geodkyt said...

The Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth are not quite the same as your typical prison. MUCH lower risk to prisoners from other prisoners, and BONUS!

Nor is it the same as Leavenworth Penitentiary. (Common mistake. The Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth is not even co-located with the federal pen, nor is it run by the Bureau of Prisons. It's four miles away and run by the United States Army.)

Manning gets to deal with the stuff EVERY SINGLE DAY that made him throw his little temper tantrum. Because it's the "Disciplinary Barracks", not "Muscle Club for Murderers". Leavenworth was one of the few places you could actually be required to spitshine your boots, back when the Army still wore boots (the prisoners, I mean -- technically, the GUARDS couldn't be ordered to spitshine their boots, even though they generally did.) Still under military discipline, complete to daily cell inspections for neatness IAW regulation layout.

Erin Palette said...

"If you want a vision of Manning's future, imagine a white-gloved hand checking for hospital corners - forever."

Divemedic said...

I must admit that I don't know the details, so correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I remember, all he did was expose atrocities and underhanded behavior that the US Government was engaged in.
If true, how is this any different than a private refusing to go door to door in an American city, confiscating guns?
In my mind, no different from exposing the domestic spying scandal.

Tam said...


"(A)ll he did was expose atrocities and underhanded behavior that the US Government was engaged in."

That's more than a bit of a stretch.

From Wikipedia, hardly the most sympathetic of sources to the .gov and .mil, "The material included videos of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; 250,000 United States diplomatic cables; and 500,000 army reports that came to be known as the Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs."

perlhaqr said...

I don't really see what's so tacky about it.

For those who have been following things, it's not much of a revelation. It's not like it's something that Chelsea made up at the last minute, here, she was seeing a psychotherapist about it before the leaks even happened.

Klinger, she is not.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Divemedic: IIRC, the information she leaked also included references to Iraqis who were assisting US forces in tracking down insurgents/terrorists/etc., and some of them may have been killed in retaliation as a result. She also (again, as I understand it) revealed operational information that endangered US soldiers that had nothing to do with any of the atrocities.

If she had just exposed atrocities and underhanded behavior by the US Government, I would be calling for her to get a medal. With what she actually exposed (as I understand it), significant prison time is more than justified.

rickn8or said...

And Erin, it's also being an E-1 for that thirty-five years and no retirement pay at the end.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Seems that Historically, 30-40 years is the Punishment that has been set out in similar cases.

But the thing that got me was who let this Guy in the Military in the First place? And why was He allowed to go through all the Schooling and Placed in the that Position? Has the Concept of "Background Checks" and "Watching the Watchmen" become Obsolete in the Intelligence World?

Drang said...

Geodykt beat me to the clarification on what "Leavenworth" means in the military.

Every company commander in the US Army has attended training (they seem to have changed the name, again, probably 2 or 3 times since I retired) at the Army's Command and Staff College of Leavenworth, which includes a tour of the Disciplinary Barracks.
Paraphrase: "Imagine the harshest possible mash-up of Basic training, OCS, and ranger School..."
When the prisoners mow the lawn, they do so with parade ground precision: The description literally includes all participants doing right flank/left flank march at corners.
Before the tour they ask all students "Is there anyone here you sent here?" I was never sure if that was for protection of the ossifer, or so they could taunt the prisoner. (Pretty sure the former, though.)

Drang said...

Also, not too concerned about Manning's desire to swap parts.
I do find the suggestion that we should finance this outrageous.

So far as I know, "gender-reassignment surgery" still disqualifies one for military service. Several years ago I was comparing notes with an Air Force vet LPN, and mentioned that "Yeah, for some reason they didn't seem interested in un-retiring a Korean Linguist for the GWOT", and she said "They were all excited about me coming back, until they found out about The Operation." Took me a second to figure out why she pronounced "The Operation" capitalized.

wv: "uantsHe 19". I unconsciously pronounced it "you ain't she"...

Roberta X said...

perlhaqr said...

"I don't really see what's so tacky about it."

In context, it's kinda... --So, we had this big-deal court case about a soldier stealing classified information, tons of it, and handing it over free for nothing to a kind of crusading international jerk. The cursading jerk gets hounded into hiding -- but over a "being a creep" issue; meanwhile, soldier gets arrested and held in solitary, under suicide watch conditions whereby they don't even trust him with an undrshirt in the dark... Etc. etc., all writ very large and stark.

...And we come right down to the denoument, 11:59:58 on the countdown clock, and the untrustworthy little soldier (who has, admittedly, been dropping hints) *suddenly* comes out with a made-for-TV-chat-show-rating-booster admission-- *That's* tacky. It's not so much the "I wanna be a gurrrrl" thing in and of itself; it could be any one of a zillion sensationalized topics, none of which sit very congruently with the serious issues that are the real heart of the matter.


Anonymous said...

Weird captcha test.

Drang said...

Just to make the case weirder, Manning was in basic training, and a little more than halfway through they started processing him for discharge, probably under a "failure to adapt" clause. (Which is usually interpreted as "bed wetter", but in this case, if Wikipedia can be believed, he was so wacky that he was creaming at Drill Sergeants.)(!)
Then, for some reason, they canceled his discharge, and made him do Basic all over again.
Then he got in trouble at Ft Huachuca, while in training to be an MI Analyst, because of some YouTube videos he posted, including one "describing the inside of the SCIF."
Then he was borderline, at best, at Ft Drum, and the chain of command was "discussing" not deploying him, but "Intel analysts are in short supply..."
Congratulations, Captains and Colonels all, you are now featured in case studies at the Command and General Staff College for decades to come, in How Not To Screw Up.

Wulfgar said...

More to Bob's point; Its disturbed me for years that the entire basis of our legal system is the threat of anal rape.