For ten months, a now-23-year-old man has been held in solitary confinement by the United States military, on charges of sharing classified military information with WikiLeaks. Included in this information was a video of an Apache helicopter crew firing on civilians in the streets of New Baghdad in 2007.
While this young man named Bradley Manning spends his days alone in prison, and faces charges that could keep him there for life, the soldiers who murdered the civilians have been charged with nothing.
“All’s fair in love and war.” (John Lyly)
“War is hell.” (William Tecumseh Sherman)
“No one cries like a mother cries for peace on earth.” (U2)
Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabelle. (16th century French carol)
The official name of the Statue of Liberty, a gift of the French people to the people of the United States of America, is Liberty Enlightening the World. As a nation, we have held this ideal high, and mostly fallen short. By attempting to “spread democracy” with military force, and then keep secret the inevitable crimes like this one committed in our country’s name, our government has failed to let the light of liberty shine bright.
You can learn more by viewing the videos at collateralmurder.com (the testimony of Ethan McCord, the soldier who discovered the seriously wounded children, is especially eye-opening), and if you wish to support Manning, visit bradleymanning.org.
There are many facets to this story. If you read the “Wired” interview with McCord and the Wikipedia article about Manning, you will encounter some of them. Thinking about our nation’s military involvement around the world on a deeper level, including the right of citizens to access information about our military’s actions, is a vital part of maintaining the liberties we claim to be ours.
This letter written by McCord and fellow veteran Josh Stieber is a note of hope, and another opportunity for concerned citizens to act.