Private Bradley Manning, the soldier who is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of top secret military files and State Department cables to the website Wikileaks, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Lionized as a hero by the worldwide left, Manning is the latest in a long line of outrageous nominations considered by the peace prize committee, including past winners Yasser Arafat, Mikhail Gorbachev and Kofi Annan. Although it certainly comes as no surprise that a soldier alleged to have committed traitorous acts and severely damaged the interests of the United States would be included in the nominations for the award, the controversy over Manning’s case obscures the truly lamentable figure the young man makes as a liberal icon.
Manning was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by the Movement of Icelandic Parliament, a group eligible under the rules of the Nobel Committee to put his name forward. The group claims that Manning “ha[s] helped to fuel a worldwide discussion about America’s overseas engagements, civilian war casualties, imperialistic manipulations, and rules of engagement.” One member of the Movement, MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, said, “It is extremely important that we honor the whistleblowers of our world” so people will not be silenced from performing their civic duty of “reporting on crimes, be it corporate, state or military.”
Ms. Jondottir failed to mention any “crimes” committed by the US nor did she happen to say how people are “silenced from performing their civic duty” when three quarters of a million secret US government documents end up on the Internet for any and all to write about, comment on, or otherwise make value judgments about. In this context, the left is never satisfied unless one of its own can be seen standing on the battlements waving a bloody shirt while claiming to be persecuted for his or her beliefs. Thus, as Manning fits this image perfectly, regardless of what damage was done to US interests – or who has lost their life as a result of the leaks – the former private rates hero status on the left.
It is hardly surprising that a far-left, insignificant Icelandic party would see fit to enter Manning’s name for the prize. The question is, how can such an objectively wretched person as Private Bradley Manning be raised up to theses heights and end up being nominated for one of the most coveted awards in the world?
It is best to dispense with the notion that there is a shred of doubt about Manning’s guilt. The military has him cold, as was revealed at his arraignment last week. A series of email exchanges with known aliases of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange discussing the download of 700 prisoner reports from detainees at Guantanomo (700 prisoner reports from that facility showed up on the Wikileaks site), and Assange’s subsequent acknowledgment that the download was complete pretty much closes the case. Previous to this revelation, Manning’s computer was found to contain encrypted files that opened to his password and revealed access to hundreds of thousands of action reports from Afghanistan and Iraq. There is also evidence that Manning had access to the leaked State Department cables.
Since the evidence seems ironclad, the left has tried to change the subject, saying that while in custody at Quantico, he has been “tortured.” Glenn Greenwald of Salon has been the most hysterical in this regard:
In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything. And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig’s medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.
When asked about the conditions of Manning’s confinement, President Obama said at a news conference last year, “With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are.”
Manning is not believed to be suicidal, but he has admitted to being severely depressed. He claims to have a “gender identity problem” – a woman trapped in a man’s body – and even wrote a letter to one of his supervisors. “Everyone is concerned about me,” Manning wrote. “Everyone is afraid of me and I’m sorry. I joined the military hoping the problem would go away and it did for awhile.”
His supervisor claims that his “problem” led to violent outbursts, including punching his team leader at the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) where he worked. The female soldier, one of the few in the army who believed that Manning was unfit for intelligence work and should not have been in Iraq, kept telling her supervisors about Manning’s unfitness for duty but they ignored her.
An introvert, an openly gay man who had recently ended a love affair, a soldier working in extremely close quarters at SCIF (he referred to his job as “Groundhog Day”) where he was shunned and belittled, and someone who convinced himself that leaking the classified material would make him a patriot – this is the real profile of leftist hero Bradley Manning. A forlorn loser elevated by liberals to a status reserved for Nelson Mandela or Fidel Castro. He has been granted civic sainthood and declared a martyr for betraying his country.
Matt Shaffer at NRO complied a smattering of perspectives by the left on Manning. The city of Berkeley, California entertained a resolution that would have declared Manning a hero. Chase Madar, writing in The Nation, claims that Manning has “brought these wrongdoings to light out of a profound sense of duty to his country, as a citizen and a soldier, and his patriotism has cost him dearly.” Kevin Zeese writing at Huffington Post says that Manning “shows the true meaning of patriotism,” and is being “punished for seeking a more perfect union.”
We saw the same treatment given to Cindy Sheehan, the mother who lost a son in Iraq and who the left adopted as a “typical” suburban mother who was standing up to President Bush by demanding to see him and ask why her son had to die. Eventually, Sheehan’s zany antics and hyperbolic rants about America proved even too much for most on the left and they quietly tiptoed away from the “Mother of the Anti-War Movement,” leaving her to spew her bile in obscurity.
It is hard to see how Manning can avoid the same fate. His actions have demonstrably harmed American diplomacy and American interests. By any rational application of logic, whatever supposed “good” that came from publishing our secrets is far, far outweighed by the danger to individuals who have helped us, the irreparable harm done to the personal relations our embassies have with foreign government officials, and the valuable intelligence given to our enemies as they are able to study our doctrines and tactics in a way that would be impossible otherwise. And there is little doubt at his upcoming trial that part of his defense will rest on his disturbed mental state.
This is the “hero” the left is holding up as an icon of self-sacrifice and patriotism.
The chances are slim that Manning will actually be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Other nominees include Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and Gene Sharp, an American scholar and advocate of nonviolence cited as an inspiration for the Arab Spring and other protests.
But even nominating Manning as a serious candidate for the prize is an outrage. Past winners have fought for peace and justice in countries where raising one’s voice against oppression could lead to jail time, or even death. Manning has done nothing remotely praiseworthy unless one wishes to count feeding the leftist media machine with fresh examples of supposed American perfidy and crimes.
For that, he will almost certainly, and deservedly, spend the rest of his life in prison.
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