Thursday, August 15, 2013

Latest "Revelation" In The Manning Case

     I'm reminded of what happened Arlo Guthrie on the "Group W Bench" when one of the "mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things" guys already there, "...sat down next to me and [...]said, "What were you arrested for, kid?" And I said, "Littering." And they all moved away from me on the bench there, and [gave me] the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things...."  D'you suppose Julian Assange and Edward Snowden flinched away in like manner when the Army released a photograph of Bradley Manning in a wig and makeup?  (See there what happens when you embarrass the Army? They'll tell everybody what was in the note you sent the Algebra teacher!  O-M-G, adult life is just Junior High writ way too large.)

     ...But I don't mention that to trot him out like Milton Berle in a gold lamé* miniskirt, a human punchline.  The afternoon chat shows have done learned me that Life Is A Many-Patterned Quilt and has little if any fashion sense.  Nope, I'm still wondering how an Army Private ends up with access to such sooper-sekrit documents and exactly what kind of "rigorous, in-depth screening program" cleared a soldier with that much baggage for such a job -- and kept him in it, long after warning signs that would get most people bounced from running a cash register at Ted's All-Nite Discount House Of Stuff?

     I disapprove of gummint secrets on general principles; history tells me a government sneaky enough to need so damn' many secrets is likely to be gettin' up to nasty stuff, there in the shadows.  Military secrets (in the classic or war-movie sense) are a different sort of thing, usually one with a short shelf-life: D-Day is no secret the day after troops land in Normandy.  Nevertheless, you take the oath, you've got to know the price for breaking it.  I'm pretty sure you don't get a discount for being a girl and even more so for tryin' to put in for a transfer to the distaff side -- even in the post-DADT military, they frown on that.

     Is it too much to hope for that this sort of leak-thing could happen with a little less ready-for-Jerry-Springer drama?  Congratulations, modern whistle-blowers and leakers: you've managed to make the process not merely sordid but tacky.  All you need now is Bette Midler to belt out a theme song.

     Of course, in a world with a lot less CYA-secrecy (and that's what at least eighty percent of it is) to be unveiled, Manning would've been sent home from the Army on a General Discharge, Snowdon would still be just another .gov IT nerd snapping a whip over lowest-bidder servers, Assange would merely be a creep who gets slapped a lot at parties and we'd'a never heard of any of them.  O, happier, better world!

     Don't hold your breath.
* It was probably really gold guipé, but why confuse matters?  More than already, I mean.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

All you need now is Bette Midler to belt out a theme song.


Bubblehead Les. said...

From my understanding of the Current Military System, it seems that when one is depending on an All-Volunteer Army, and the Victory Conditions are "Stay the Course," while the Media is on the Ground giving out "The Body Count Today is....", and the Army is saying "Back to Iraq for You!" (even though you just left 2 months ago, and you are Stopped-Lossed), Recruitment Standards tend to Slip a bit.

Of course, this kind of thing should be expected when the War Operations are Overseen by one of McNamara's Whiz-Kids......

Rob K said...

People without secrets and issues can't be controlled by either side. I imagine they initially thought it made him less likely to do anything that would embarrass them.

Robert Fowler said...

" I'm still wondering how an Army Private ends up with access to such sooper-sekrit documents".

After I got out of boot camp in 73, I was sent to the marine Corps Communication and Electronics School in 29 Palms. During the 3 weeks we spent on mess duty before our classes started, the FBI did a background check on every one of us. When our class finally started, I was a private with a top secret clearance.

When I left C&E school, I had to sign a document that I would not discuss anything I had seen or read for ten years. Things like crypto codes and such.

The Freeholder said...

It's also possible that they trying to reduce public sympathy for him.

Anonymous said...

A few years before Robert (1971), my TS was held up because I had left off reporting going to 1 technocracy meeting that was part of a high school civics class from my clearance paperwork. I have no idea to this day how the folks who processed my clearance even found out about me going to the meeting. It sure made me pay attention when I signed the paperwork stating that a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 was punishable by a minimum of 20 years and 20 thousand dollars. EdC

Roberta X said...

Freeholder: Yes, just like when my friend found the mean cheerleader's diary in 7th grade and let everybody read it.... It's a tactic, certianly, but a pretty silly one considering A) they got the perp, B) said perp is not deying having leaked just all kinds of stuff, from the General's Classiffied lunch menu to vids that look pretty bad for the .mil to the kinds of actual secrets that could get -- and may have gotten -- soldiers killed, C) The Army not actually having to win any popularity contests, and D) this is the kind of thing that the people, mostly antiwar Left, who are already seeing Manning as an unalloyed hero are going to be sympathetic with.

General comment:
...The only moral course (IMO, IANAA, YMMV, etc.) is to 'fess up and accept the court's verdict. Yes, even if the leaking was one hundred percent justifiable in the wider view (dubious, IMO), it's still a crime, he knew it was a crime, and there's a price to be paid. Decent folk don't try to weasel out of a speeding ticket when it's a clean gotcha and this is much the same thing played for much higher stakes.