Ann Coulter | Bradley Manning | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | Wikileaks

Bradley Manning: Did Homophobia Make Him Leak?

Bradley_Manning_2_(cropped)I mentioned this briefly in last night's links roundup, but it's become a pretty big deal: Private First Class Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence specialist who allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, has officially made his sexual orientation a keystone of his defense. From Salon:

The young Army intelligence specialist accused of passing government secrets spent his 24th birthday in court Saturday as his lawyers argued his status as a gay soldier before the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” played an important role in his actions.

Lawyers for Pfc. Bradley Manning began laying out a defense to show that his struggles as a gay soldier in an environment hostile to homosexuality contributed to mental and emotional problems that should have barred him from having access to sensitive material.

So: Manning -- whose defenders have spent countless hours and expended countless millions of breaths proclaiming his nobility and rectitude -- is now tacitly acknowledging that the Wikileaks leak was a wrong and regrettable thing, and that he'd never have done it if he was in his right mind. Whether he really believes that, or whether he's only saying it because his spirit was broken by ten months in solitary confinement in some dank Army oubliette, is unknowable. What is knowable, and queasy-making, is that lawyers are now arguing in a military courtroom that gays can't be trusted with classified material until the military is purged of homophobia.

As it happens, Manning's lawyers aren't the first attorneys to make that argument in recent memory. Ann Coulter made it months ago, in an article entitled "Bradley Manning: Poster Boy For 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'." Maybe he should hire her. It'd definitely score points with the allegedly homophobic military personnel hearing his case.

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Comments

  1. Describing him as both a private first class & then a Army officer is a pretty funny. The guy deserves a trial, but if his defense is going to try and run with an oppressive environment argument, I sure hope he like living in a cell. Whether it was classified, secret, or top secret, if found guilty of unauthorized release of government communications he deserves to be put away for a long time.

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Dec 18, 2011 10:50:14 PM


  2. I am sorry, MAXmillian for failing to keep it short. It was politically incorrect of me to go on so in a society that is morphing from a culture steeped in language to a text-based , twittering, dispassionate, monosyllabic culture condensed into emoticons, and half the alphabet with no more than 140 characters.

    Because after the one second it took to read ALPHAS replies to my dissertation I can see that I made a mistake, not only in having exceeded 140 characters, but having addressed him at all.

    Posted by: RiccoRicco | Dec 18, 2011 11:16:29 PM


  3. @Riccoricco: Cry me a river. Manning broke his oath and betrayed the uniform he wore. That he is using this kind of defense only shows even more clearly what a dishonorable and despicable POS he is. He is a traitor and will be spending the rest of his life at Ft. Leavenworth, where he belongs. Make all the excuses you want for him and what he did, lionize him to your heart's content for all I care, but nothing is going to change that. He is toast.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Dec 18, 2011 11:27:31 PM


  4. Corrected. Danke.

    - BKT

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Dec 18, 2011 11:39:55 PM


  5. Manning is not a hero. He is a mixed up kid who couldn't live up to the image his father expected of him. He was tormented his entire life for not fitting in. He joined the military to "man up" but, naturally, didn't fit in at all. He sought relevance by dealing in stolen information.

    this is not heroic. He didn't use the information to advance a cause. he simply downloaded and dumped information and hoped to "get back" at the system that rejected him.

    To call him a hero is to demean the many military men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

    Sure, there are corrupt aspects to the military. It isn't perfect by any stretch. (It is still appalling that we went to war in iraq. the corruption--pat tillman etc.) But this guy is not poilitical, he's a mixed up kid desperate to mean something to someone.

    And what he did so callously, was put people's lives at risk.

    This is not heroic no matter how you feel about the military.

    Posted by: dms | Dec 18, 2011 11:43:20 PM


  6. He's been treated despicably since his arrest, but his actions before were hardly heroic. That said, the information he released was available to more than 1 million people inside and outside the military. It was hardly top secret. They're making an example of him to scare others.

    That said, I lack sympathy for people who go into the military and then say they can't handle the stress, before or after DADT. Bringing your sexuality into it is even more pathetic. So he broke up with his boyfriend and was surrounded by trigger-happy rednecks. Given his age, he couldn't have been with his boyfriend all that long, and given the culture of the military, he shouldn't have been surprised by his fellow soldiers.

    Wikileaks is a hypocritical organization led by a megalomaniac desperate for attention. Putting at risk the lives of innocent people and the needs of international diplomacy by releasing information isn't noble and didn't achieve any goal. Manning was simply a pawn, and he should have known better. He videotaped himself committing this crime---obviously he's stupid, unstable, or both.

    I find any attempt to base his defense on his sexual orientation an embarrassment. It plays right into the hands of our enemies.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 18, 2011 11:48:38 PM


  7. If you like men who use "gay panic" as a defense to murders/attacks, then you'll LOVE Bradley Manning's reprehensible defense.

    Once again, Manning ENLISTED. He voluntarily signed up knowing full well there was a different set of rules in the military. One cannot pick and choose which rules to follow in the military, and it's no place for those who wish to be activists.

    Manning BRAGGED about leaking the largest cache of secrets in American history. We don't know if his actions endangered others or not, but it really doesn't matter.

    The man is a traitor to his country who should spend the rest of his life in prison, and those who hold him up as some sort of "hero" are delusional.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Dec 19, 2011 12:05:10 AM



  8. ALPHA:

    Umm . .honey. . .what is this? The 10th century? Shall we put Mr. Manning in the Tower? On the rack? Will the execution be by sword or axe? Shall he be hung, drawn, and quartered? Oh boy! So many choices!

    But really, my dear, treason? In the Western World in the 21st century? WTF?

    No offense buddy, but you seem to be a little (and by little, I mean WAY to) eager to put this poor man to death. Unless you can prove he was a terrorist and was trying to pass off top secret information that would be used to kill American civilians directly into the hands of someone like Osama Bin Laden, your calls for his execution are, frankly, pathological. You need to rethink your attitude to your fellow humans, stat.

    Isn't it funny that manly manly men who like guns, God and country (and sometimes their fellow men, though of course, they don't like to broadcast it) always get their panties in a twist over "treason", whatever the *%$# that refers to. Gotta love GOProud. Are y'all around this blog thingie, by the way? Come out, come out wherever you are. . .
    Aren't you people the individualistic, "end the fed" libertarian types? What Mr. Manning did was the most individualistic, "fight the system" "don't tread on me" thing you can do. Was he right to do it? I really have no idea. . .but calling for his execution is $#%#ed up, yo. . .

    Unless, of course, we're barbarians, which we may well be.

    Please don't prove me right.

    Posted by: Dramaticartchild | Dec 19, 2011 12:10:33 AM


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  10. What a turd...and I've thought so from day one. He's a weasel and a traitor, and, he brings dishonor on all of the other honest, loyal, hard-working gay men and women in the military. And just at the worst possible time. Again, may he rot in prison for the rest of his miserable life.

    Posted by: Tom | Dec 19, 2011 1:29:09 AM


  11. @ RiccoRicco…I read your argument

    1 Why is condemning Manning’s actions equivalent to supporting gay bashers, homophobes, the GOP, and Obama’s broken promise to close GITMO?

    2 Does the heterosexual or white man’s cause include the unfair burden that Intelligence Analysts not e-mail classified information to Wikileaks?

    3 If a Gay person commits a crime, must all Gay people support that person?

    4 Why does every Gay person have to agree that you do not think Manning committed a crime and that dissenters are the equivalent of an Uncle Tom?

    5 Are Gay military members who do not leak classified information, cowards not worthy to shine Manning’s boots?

    Bradley Manning needed a friend who could have told him – “Don’t do it; the elitist scum seducing you will not spend the rest of their lives in prison with you.”

    It demeans Gay people to defend Manning because he is Gay. I was in the military and it was often unpleasant, lonely, and terrifying. And…it does matter that other Gay people don’t commit crimes even though they’re surrounded by the same hate.

    I feel sorry for Manning the human being but Manning the soldier pulled the temple down upon himself.

    Posted by: AnotherMike | Dec 19, 2011 1:51:55 AM


  12. Our policymakers and political leaders don't like having our military and foreign policy secrets exposed. Whic is the same thing as saying that the heads of corporations don't like having the truth exposed about who REALLY makes the decisions in this country including why we go to war. And that is why Manning is in trouble. That is our dirtiest secret by far. And the republicans want to continue to give more and still more power to the boys in the boardroom.

    Manning is the poster boy for what happens when you resist the un-gloved iron fist of corporate power.

    Posted by: Danny | Dec 19, 2011 7:25:50 AM


  13. The military likes to talk about honor, about oaths, honor that is often compromised by our military leaders when convenient, oaths broken by military leaders when expedient, than go on about American values when someone expose them as cowards.

    Throughout American history whenever an American soldier has raped or murdered a civilian in a host nation or in a war zone, has violated military code of conduct, the military have conducted themselves in a cowardly fashion, violating oaths and honor by doing all they could to conceal those crimes.

    For the United States military to talk about honor, ethics, and oaths while oppressing Black soldiers, and gay soldiers, which they are even currently doing, is a joke.

    If an individual conducted themselves in the same fashion as the military, we would be condemning that individual for hypocrisy. People actually believe that dishonor at a corporate level, or a governmental or military level should be excused.

    They believe its alright for the government to torture, lie, to murder until they government has lied to them, has tortured and murdered someone they love, then it's a different story.

    We will buy whatever BS the government, corporations sell us, refuse to ask probing questions just as long as it does not touch us or the ones we love.

    We are a nation of oath breakers, and cowards who care, not about national security, but expediency.

    Posted by: RiccoRicco | Dec 19, 2011 7:59:01 AM


  14. This is going to be BIG...a homosexual alleged to commit treason.

    I propose there are a couple distinct issues:

    1. Did Manning commit treason? If he did (and it certainly seems he did) then he should be dealt with harshly - even put to death. His sexual orientation (or anything else) is irrelevant.

    2. The larger issue most of us probably care more about is what Manning says about Gays in the military (or elsewhere in our society).

    Q. Can Gays be trusted?

    A. As much (or as little) as anyone else.

    Q. If (IF) Manning was more-predisposed to treason because of his sexual orientation / sexual identity issues (regardless whether this predisposition, if there is one, was CAUSED by DADT), then should we re-institute DADT?

    A. NO. To the extent Manning was unstable, he should be treated just like anyone else who is unstable.

    Removing discrimination against gays should reduce any possible predisposition gays have to compromise military missions.

    Allowing gays to serve openly and proudly (in the military and elsewhere in our society) can only be beneficial.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 19, 2011 9:39:24 AM


  15. @ RICCORICCO and others defending Manning seem to compare Manning's actions to civil disobedience practiced by courageous change-seekers.

    My opinion is different...Manning may have committed the serious crime of treason. That's NOT civil disobedience.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 19, 2011 9:56:10 AM


  16. This defense is dangerous. Besides confusing so-called gender dysphoria with being Gay, it lays a groundwork for the revival of DADT, or worse, the total ban on LGB military personnel that preceded DADT. Boiled down to its dregs, the argument is that we are too unstable to serve.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Dec 19, 2011 11:48:16 AM


  17. Manning is not gay. S/he is a transsexual. Those are different things. We insult gay people and trans people every time with use the phrase LGBT. Stop pretending that 2 different things are one and the same.

    Manning leaked 250,000 cables that had nothing to do with any alleged wrongdoing and which s/he didn't even read. In leaking the diplomatic cables, s/he has hindered diplomacy and thus made peaceful resolution of conflict less likely. S/he is no hero.

    Posted by: Deborah | Dec 19, 2011 12:24:25 PM


  18. @ DEBORAH

    Has Manning said he is not gay? If so, I missed that.

    I agree he's no hero.

    I also agree as you seem to suggest, that LGBT is so broad a definition that we're not really all one community...I'll suggest all we have in common is discrimination against us for sexual orientation/preferences/identity.

    Frankly, while I generally relate sufficiently to other gay males to identify as a gay male, I don't even understand or relate to lesbians - let alone bisexual, trans-genered, trans-sexual, or other non-tranditional heteros.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 19, 2011 12:45:48 PM


  19. The strain of being a gay man in the military may be the reason for his crimes, but it isn't an excuse. One standard for all. His punishment should fit the crime and precedents as well, with reasonable consideration of any unique factors.

    Is he a traitor or a hero? Well, most 'traitors' and 'heroes' act out of conscience. The difference is that a hero accepts the potential consequences of his action and faces them without wavering from their original conviction. I'm not sure which way Manning is gonna fall.

    Posted by: Yeek | Dec 19, 2011 1:47:15 PM


  20. whatever he did, surely the years he has spent in prison, most of it under solitary confinement, not allowed exercise and forced to stay naked in his cell with no blanket - while being woken up every two hours - has been enough punishment. let the guy go, dishonerable discharge and time served, and be done with it.

    Posted by: Ryan | Dec 19, 2011 3:50:42 PM


  21. @RYAN:

    Manning, if guilty, should get the same punishment, regardless of whether he's gay/trans or not.

    The fastest way we gain full equality is to insist we are treated equally.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 19, 2011 6:09:21 PM


  22. @DRAMATICARTCHILD

    Look up the UCMJ. You don't get to choose the laws, or make them up because of your inner art child. Treason is treason, and if Manning did what he is accused of, he's guilty of treason and IMO should be put to death. I'm sorry the world is an ugly place, and not all of us can be children, some of us have to do difficult things and bear the burdens of war. What he did put Americans at risk around the world. Grow up and learn about the laws before you make accusations of others.

    Posted by: Alpha | Dec 19, 2011 7:49:55 PM


  23. @RICCORICCO Perhaps you should join the military and do something about your concerns. Or, you could just throw stones at something you don't understand that protects your very right to throw stones.

    Posted by: Alpha | Dec 19, 2011 7:53:03 PM


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