Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bradley Manning: The Angry Gay Soldier

On Thursday it will be one year since Bradley Manning was arrested by the U.S. military and accused of leaking classified documents and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.

The massive leak revealed war crimes, embarrassed the rich and the powerful, and is credited with sparking the Arab Revolution.

Now the PBS program Frontline takes a close look at Manning by resurrecting his Facebook account, and finds an angry young gay soldier trapped in a homophobic nightmare.

Frontline offers a compelling picture of Manning’s youth and army career – a young gay man who seemed to be endlessly at war with authority. What the Facebook material reveals is a person who hated the baiting and harassment he received for being gay. Because of the U.S. Army’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” rules, he could do little except internalize his anger.

A lonely young man, sensitized to injustice by the bigotry he experienced, and disgusted at the world around him.

A young gay activist tired of being forced to live a lie. And not afraid to stand up for his rights.

Here's an excerpt from the PBS documentary.

I don't think many understand how angry homophobia can make gay people. How they can't escape it no matter how hard they try. How it attacks them and the ones they love.

And how it can motivate them to fight for the rights of others. From the civil right's struggle of black people, to the war on women's rights. With no quarter given.

But I do.

As John Doyle says it's an amazing story.

You couldn’t make it up, and the truth as it is chronicled here is beyond bewildering.

A motherlode of “if” questions ensue for the viewer. But the key one is this: “If” the U.S. Army were better equipped to absorb into its a ranks a young gay man, would the events never have happened? There’s a shock of recognition there, too.

Yup. Bigotry is bewildering, and has consequences.

The truth will set us all free.

And Bradley Manning is a gay hero...

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  1. It's a really strange world when US leaders that grew up in the 60s and 70s with watershed moments for democracy like Daniel Ellberg's "Pentagon Papers" turn around and fail to recognize it in Bradley Manning or, to a lesser extent, Thomas Drake.

  2. And all that excuses nothing. He was still wrong to leak that information.

  3. Anonymous10:58 PM

    Sorry rabbit, but you are wrong. Bradley Manning is a hero to many.

  4. hi Michel...yes it is depressing isn't it? But then sadly not surprising. The Obama administration's position on Guantanamo and the treatment of prisoners is as hawk-like as any who have come before it. As for Thomas Drake, his case has received so little publicity it's practically scandalous....

  5. hi Rabbit...he may be technically wrong to have leaked that information, but I think he did us all a huge service. It blew the cover off a corrupt world, and inspired millions to press for change. You may not agree with me, but when I say the truth will set us free I mean it...

  6. hi anonymous... he is indeed, especially to those like me who believe in a more transparent world, because democracy without truth is nothing more than a farce...