The Gay Terrorist – YE GAY OL’ VALLEY

Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning

By: Dani Langevin – April, 2012

Army specialist Bradley Manning was arrested on May 29, 2010 for downloading and sending thousands of sensitive military reports related to missions in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks, a website known for divulging classified information. Upon his arrest, Manning was charged with 22 counts which include indirectly aiding the enemy and possible treason.

During the first ten months of his incarceration, Manning was placed in solitary confinement. From my research, I’ve learned that during this time Manning was also subjected to cruel and unusual punishment which has been confirmed, acknowledged and reported to the U.S. Government and UN General Assembly by UN special rapporteur, Juan Mendez.

According to Mendez’s investigation, Manning endured severe solitary confinement that was detrimental to his physical and mental state, forced to remain naked for the majority of his detention, and given one hour of exercise a day when, if he stopped moving, would be returned to his cell. And, at this point, his detention is indefinite.

I first read about these conditions in the March issue of The Advocate, an activist magazine for the homosexual community first published over four decades ago.

Their articles are timely, informative, interesting and most of the time agreeable.

However, their March article about Bradley Manning entitled “The Most Dangerous Man in America?” was all but one of those things. It was not agreeable at all to this member of the gay community.The Advocate’s spin on Manning’s arrest, charges and incarceration is due to the fact that he is an openly gay man.

This infuriates me. I find it hard to believe that the United States government would waste its time, energy, security forces and money to punish a soldier simply because he is gay. The man leaked almost half a million pieces of classified military information to a company he knew would be more than happy to share with the public risking the safety of our military personnel their operations and not to mention the security of the world. Even so, the article states that, “Manning is not an enemy combatant but an American citizen.”

In this American citizen’s eye and mind, he is most certainly both. What caused Manning to betray his uniform and country? Part of the reason, he says, was because he was angered by the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. However, he joined knowing this policy was in place. I don’t buy into this.

He has also stated that he was bullied by his fellow service men because of his sexuality. I’m sure this is true and it disgusts me. As a member of the military you are trained to uphold the strictest and most honorable conduct. You are fighting for people’s freedoms and should respect their choices. Those men and women who take the oath of military service should be held up to a higher standard and we should not expect them to be splashed across the news for homophobic actions, rape, urinating on dead enemies or, the worst yet, going on a shooting spree and killing innocent civilians. At the same time, Manning should not use the excuse of his bullying to justify jeopardizing national security.

“Manning is the forgotten soldier, emblematic of the struggles queer service members face,” wrote The Advocate. That may be, but it still does not justify what he did. Apparently Manning was seeing a counselor and expressed his growing frustration over the war in the Middle East, being a gay man in the military and feeling like he was a woman in a man’s body. It was days after this admission that Manning downloaded and sent the sensitive information. The Advocate wonders if his being labeled a traitor after his arrest was because he was either a soldier, gay or felt like a woman.

Ludicrous! It was because he is a traitor.

Manning, an intelligent young man, was quickly rewarded with the rank of Army intelligence specialist. He lost that rank when he punched a female officer in the face. Classy guy. Along with talking to a counselor he also spoke to commanding officers about his being bullied. The Advocate paints him as a very troubled gay soldier who was, “. . . deployed anyway.” He was a soldier! He signed up for this. He should expect to be deployed especially as an intelligence specialist.

Being gay is not a crutch. It’s not a badge to justify special treatment and it is certainly not an excuse for illegal or treasonous behavior. Manning, although his treatment has clearly been severe and, as reported by Mendes, against the Geneva Convention, cannot and should not be blamed on his sexuality. Manning is charged for putting national security on the line.

Plain and simple!