Log Cabin Republicans Rip Bradley Manning’s Lawyers for Using Sexual Orientation

R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans, takes Wikileaks soldier Bradley Manning's lawyers to task in the Stars & Stripes military newspaper:

CooperIf he’s guilty, Manning not only violated security protocol and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he violated the trust of his colleagues, the Army and his countrymen. Now that he prepares to stand trial, he has shown himself to be willing to sacrifice honorable gay and lesbian servicemembers to avoid responsibility. Lawyers for Manning are claiming that his struggle with his sexual orientation contributed to emotional problems that should have precluded him from working in a classified environment. This shameful defense is an offense to the tens of thousands of gay servicemembers who served honorably under “don’t ask, don’t tell.” We all served under the same law, with the same challenges and struggles. We did not commit treason because of it.

Log Cabin Republicans have long advocated that one’s sexual orientation should not be grounds for discrimination or dismissal in the workplace. As conservatives, we believe in the meritocracy of one’s labor. Good behavior and excellent performance come with reward and encouragement. Bad behavior and poor performance come with punishment and corrective measures. To justify misbehavior in the workplace because of minority status is detrimental to the morale and performance of others. For Manning’s legal counsel at Fort Meade, Md., to suggest that his orientation and/or gender identity be part of a defense or excuse for misbehavior is as unacceptable as the use of a “gay panic” defense by a murderer.

Manning’s defense dishonors gay GIs [stars and stripes]


  1. The Milkman says

    I’m not quite as certain that Manning did the wrong thing here. Actually, if one values what Americans say they value in government… honesty, transparency, and accountability… then Manning’s alleged leak would could have seemed to be the right thing to do. While I agree in a limited way with Mr. LCR in that DADT was a shared experience, it’s also true that by its very nature DADT was experienced in a solitary fashion.

    Citing Manning’s sexual orientation is a red herring and a cheap shot. How about just sticking to your guns and stating that he considered it the right thing to do?

  2. says

    agreed, Milkman. the more one reads about what Manning leaked, and why, the more it really does seem that he was doing “the right thing.”

    what do people want? they seem upset that a man revealed wrongs, not that wrongs were committed and covered up.

  3. Mike says

    It’s very important to understand that we have only been allowed to hear what the Article 32 hearing investigating officer has allowed us to hear. This is a highly one-sided military “justice” proceeding — not a normal court room by a long shot. The defense sought to call many more witnesses and evidence (from internal administration assessments) that would have shown the WikiLeaks cables posed no threat to national security. However, the military (of course) did not allow these issues to be discussed. If it seems strange that Manning’s defense was reduced to talking mostly about gender identity — well.. that was exactly their intention. It sucks, because the military is basically trying to play on people’s feelings about transgender people to try to “discredit” Manning. I think we would all have appreciated an open trial where all the evidence and issues could have been discussed in public. But alas, this is America.

  4. says


    If only it were so simple. Alas, one’s sexual orientation does affect their outlook and mental health when living in a society rampant with homophobia, heteronormativity and prejudice. Being an LGBT service member pre-DADT Repeal justifiably added considerable stress to many, and it’s relevant in Manning’s proceedings.

  5. Chris says

    The Log Cabin Republicans got this one right. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    If Manning had felt a specific piece of intel needed to be leaked to correct a wrong, he might be a hero/whistle-blower.

    But, instead, he allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of items. He almost certainly did not examine each bit he leaked…so it seems he just leaked everything he could get his hands on. Thank god he didn’t have access to more info.

    If he is guilty, there’s no excuse or justification for his actions. None.

    If Manning completely disagreed with US foreign policy, he should not have been serving in the military.

    If he completely disagreed with US foreign policy and chose to join the military, then he may have been a traitor all along.

  6. Chris says

    Can you tell me what information leaked by Manning in your words: “exposed the traitors to America”?

    You’re saying Manning did a good thing. Please explain how Manning helped illuminate wrongdoing.

  7. tr says

    The pentagon papers leaked by Daniel Ellsberg was over 7,000 pages and all were “Top Secret” and included sensitive info non-related to Vietnam, such as encryption techniques, etc. Manning’s leaks were for items that were “classified” – a lower clearance.

    As for his defense strategy, I agree with what Glenn Greenwald (from salon.com) wrote. Pls see below his take:

    •Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 8:22 am
    I talked about this on Democracy Now the other day and have been speaking with various people about it as well. I of course have my preferences for what Manning should do, and that is strongly in favor of arguing “justification”: the noble whistleblower defense.
    But I don’t feel comfrotable viewing Manning as an abstract cause. He’s a just-turned-24-year-old kid whose life is on the line, literally, and whatever he and his lawyers think has the best chance of keeping him out of a cage for the next six decades or avoiding a death sentence is something they should do, no matter how distasteful it is to me or even politically counter-productive it might be.
    I haven’t seen all the evidence. The proceedings are shrouded in secrecy. And I don’t know what the preferences are of the client: Manning. So I’m really loathe to second-guess what they’re doing.
    Of course I hate seeing them blame his noble acts on a mental illness, and hate even more having gender issues characterized that way (though I am sure that being a 22-year-old with gender struggles in the middle of the Iraq war – in a military that bans you even from being openly gay – does produce real psychological distress). I would love for Manning to stand up in court and say: I did it and I should have done it – my duty as a soldier compelled it.
    But it’s not my preferences that should govern their strategy.
    You can make the argument, as you have, that public opinion is their best shot at getting some leniency. Maybe: public outrage over his treatment in detention is clearly what resulted in improved conditions.
    But I can easily see the other side: that “military justice” is so skewed in general, and in this case so pre-programmed to ensure conviction, that trying the case in public could just alienate the military judges and make things worse. I can see how they might conclude that their best hope is to play to their prejudices – have some mercy: look at how mentally ill he is – and I just can’t bring myself to say he shouldn’t do that if he thinks it’s best for his interests.
    To be honest, watching the whole thing is something I’m having a hard time doing: I think his conviction is so inevitable, and the injustices that will produce it so overwhelming, that it just makes me ill contemplating what’s happening to him.
    Glenn Greenwald (email: GGreenwald@salon.com) is a former Constitutional and civil rights litigator and is the author of two New York Times Bestselling books on the Bush administration’s executive power and foreign policy abuses. His just-released book, With Liberty and Justice for Some, is an indictment of America’s two-tiered system of justice, which vests political and financial elites with immunity even for egregious crimes while subjecting ordinary Americans to the world’s largest and most merciless penal state. Greenwald was named by The Atlantic as one of the 25 most influential political commentators in the nation. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and is the winner of the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and oppressive

  8. Chris says

    That’s not the way it works.

    He’s accused of leaking classified material. Either he did or he didn’t. You can not say…well…he committed a crime but no one was hurt.

    But I’ll play your game.

    Some of the information Manning leaked contained sensitive information detailing what we knew of and what we thought about our allies and enemies.

    Can you please explain how leaking insults to our friends and giving our enemies details on what we know about them helps the US?

  9. LincolnLounger says

    One cannot be a “cafeteria” soldier who picks and chooses which rules to follow and which classified leaks to dump (or sell). Among the items he apparently leaked included battlefield reports. The volume of information that he dumped was so egregious that another leaker turned him in to authorities.

    Manning voluntarily enlisted and knowingly subjected himself to different rules of justice.

    Bradley Manning has set back the gay community agenda, particularly as it relates to the repeal of DADT, decades.

  10. Leroy says

    If this guy presented evidence/symptoms of emotional distress or problems, regardless of what the source of those problems were, he shouldn’t have had access to sensitive material. You don’t sell a weapon to someone that has a history of suicide attempts.

  11. Rick says

    Well said, Chris. Too many activists have lost sight of the original purpose of the gay movement, which was, quite simply, to eradicate homophobia and ensure that someone’s sexual orientation was a NON-issue, whether in the workplace or in any other area of society.

    Instead, they have gone down the path of a) making sexual orientation an excuse for all kinds of behavior and crying fowl when that excuse is rightly not acknowledged as legitimate, b) trying to undermine ALL standards of behavior in society, essentially advocating total non-conformity–again using sexual orientation as an excuse (challenging dress codes, for example), which amounts to social anarchy, and c) engaging in futile attacks on masculinity in hopes that lowering its standards will lead to an acceptance of effeminate behavior and gender confusion (which it won’t and which has nothing to do with sexual orientation, per se).

    These extremists have become more of a hindrance to the achievement of equality than an asset and I am glad to see groups like the LCR and individuals such as yourself begin to speak out against them.

    Bradley Manning’s sexual orientation should have absolutely no bearing on whether he is found guilty or not.

  12. Yeek says

    As stunned as I am to admit it, I agree with the LCR on this one.

    The contents of documents Manning stole are not the entire issue. Breaking into your employer’s safe and stealing his credit cards is still a crime, even if it turns out they were practically worthless. The harm caused (or lack thereof) can be a factor in his sentencing, but it should not get him off the hook.

    I would have a lot more respect for Manning if he said “I thought it was the right thing to do on ethical grounds” and left it at that. A true person of conscience does what he or she thinks is the right thing and faces the consequences with integrity.

    Manning’s variation on the Gay Panic defense basically says ‘well, sure he did something wrong, but he shouldn’t be held responsible because he’s gay and wasn’t strong enough to handle it.’ It’s craven cop-out and an insult at the same time.

  13. Continuum says

    Kind of agree with LCR on this one. (Yuppers, I nearly threw up as I type this. I guess there’s a first time for everything.) Playing the gay card is not a defense in my book.

  14. Jon says

    Wow. So do most Americans think that revealing a government’s crimes is now treason? You all need to support Manning on this and Wikileaks too. Just a few months ago they released more information on a huge US cover-up that attempted to hide the execution of civilian CHILDREN. Are Americans so easily manipulated by nationalism that they will let their government do whatever it wants with immunity? If a government commits crimes it needs to be held accountable – and all I see is posts about Manning. Wake up.

    Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2011/12/log-cabin-republicans-rip-bradley-mannings-lawyers-for-using-sexual-orientation.html#ixzz1hIz2MlS9

  15. facts says

    Criminal law, including the US Military Criminal Justice System, has very specific requirements to find guilt. The governments problem here as Kiwi points out is that beyond the politization of the issue, and the dog and pony show of the defendant’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation issue, its not clear if he actually committed any major crimes. Disclosing information, even classified information, is not enough according to the law. This should be the thresh hold issue because that appears to be the law. if the government can not meet this burden – which waiting 2 years suggest they can’t- I think those favoring this prosecution are favoring police state tactics.

  16. Chris says


    @KIWI: You just CAN’T be that Naive. Duplicitous? All of diplomacy is duplicitous. I’ll assume you’re from NewZealand? I guarantee NewZealand’s diplomats are duplicitous…if diplomats weren’t duplicitous, and instead told everyone exactly what they thought, they’d be out of work.

    Duplicity is not a crime, and is appropriate in delicate foreign affairs. Treason is a crime.

    Revealing a government’s crimes is generally not treason.

    Can you tell me in what “government crimes” Manning revealed? None.

    @JON & @KIWI:
    Please do NOT think I am in favor of America’s wars. But there’s a big difference between a civilian (or even a military employee while not in the course of his duties) voicing opposition to a policy versus a military employee divulging his country’s secrets (which he’d sworn to protect).

    I’ve been pretty careful to say “alleged” when referring to Manning’s wrongdoing. We don’t know he’s guilty. But, if he is, he should not get any special treatment because he happens to be gay.

  17. Jon says

    Well, I have a few things to say. First, the crime I was thinking about as I typed that post is called the Ishaqi Massacre. The details of the event were released earlier this year by Wikileaks and exposed the cover-up of what appears to be outright murder. One would think that if anything would count as a crime, soldiers executing bound children under 5 years of age would count. That report is traceable back to Manning as the Huffington Post reports:

    “Another recently revealed Cablegate release exposed details of an alleged 2006 massacre by US troops in the Iraqi town of Ishaqi, north of Baghdad. Eleven people were killed, and the cable described eyewitness accounts in which the group, including five children and four women, was handcuffed, then executed with bullets to the head. The US military then bombed the house, allegedly to cover up the incident. Citing attacks like these, the Iraqi government said it would no longer grant immunity to US soldiers in Iraq. President Barack Obama responded by announcing he would pull the troops out of Iraq. Like a modern-day Ellsberg, if Manning is guilty of what the Pentagon claims, he helped end the war in Iraq.”

    That is what I was specifically thinking of. This is the page I quoted from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/dec/21/bradley-manning-history-wikileaks-uprising

  18. Chris says

    @ JON:
    Of course there are mistakes in war. We lose soldiers to “friendly fire” all the time. And we kill the wrong people sometimes.

    And, yes, sometimes soldiers “go rogue” and murder indiscriminately.

    But I have seen nothing suggesting such bad behavior was protocol or even commonplace. I hope soldiers who deliberately killed or mistreated the wrong people were disciplined. If not, they should have been.

    If Manning’s intent was to be a “whistle-blower”, he would have released ONLY documents which proved the specific atrocities he found abhorrent.

    Instead, I believe Manning had larger and nefarious goals in mind when he allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of pieces of information, I’m certain without reviewing most of them.

    Thus, Manning is accused of doing serious damage to the entirety of US foreign policy – not just illuminating a few distasteful incidents in a war George W Bush never should have started.

  19. Chris says

    @ JON:
    And to the Guardian newspaper’s point about Manning and Assange being responsible for ending the war in Iraq and initiating the uprising in Tunisia which sparked similar uprisings around the world…

    The jury is still out on whether all this is good:

    Egypt may fall into the hands of Muslim extremists much worse than Mubarak.

    Lybia same.

    And how did “upsetting the apple cart” by overthrowing Saddam Hussein in Iraq nearly 10 years ago work out? Not so well. We overthrew a Sunni dictatorship, and allowed it to be replaced by a Shiite/Iranian “puppet democracy”.

    Saddam Hussein was not a good guy. He was bad news. But if he was still in power, Iran would not be as close to obtaining a nuclear weapon, nor would Iran have an ally on its Western border.

    The US broke Iraq. George W Bush really screwed-up when he started that war. When you break something you have an obligation to try to fix it. We tried to fix our mistakes in Iraq. Time will tell, but my hunch is time will not be kind.

  20. RexT says

    Fascinating- as always, to watch outside observers being “educated” via the media and similar sources with limited facts & details – always so quick to launch into forming solid positions & opinions with such certainty. Greenwald’s comments were insightful – there are so many elements at play – serious all of them. He has not been found guilty of anything.

    If the law allowed, public floggings would still be extremely popular events …. where the law does allow – always popular and equal to their overall justice system.

  21. Chris says

    @ REXT:
    You’re absolutely right…as I said previously, he’s accused, not guilty. We need to give him the benefit-of-the-doubt until he’s proven guilty (or not).

  22. Jon says

    No, I strongly disagree about his defense tactics being reprehensible. Under ordinary circumstances gay people do not deserve any special treatment – I agree to that. And I don’t think that Manning’s sexuality contributed to poor judgment in any way. I think the issue is entirely political. But, in this instance, the US government fights dirty. There is no respect for law in America anymore. As several people have already pointed out, the war in Iraq was a mess to begin with. No one questions the legality of that war anymore. I do not think Manning will ever receive a fair trial. So, since I don’t believe he will get a fair trial, then I do think he should play the gay card for all its worth.

  23. Stuart Davies says

    Something really stinks about this concept of labeling one’s legal client as “sexually disturbed” as a defense. We can count on those who apologize for and collaborate with their own oppressors such as log cabin gays to miss this obvious point, but it is a bit disappointing to see Greenwald miss it.
    This is a high stakes propaganda trial for elements of our government and military who have demonstrated themselves to be without moral principal or scruple. When viewed in this context, I find the fact that a military man who smears his own client in this manner as a “legal defense” to be highly suspicious.
    The last thing the government wants is to allow this to become trial of American war crimes and the integrity and conscience of a young man who put himself in harm’s way to expose those crimes.
    His lawyer has handed the government a massive propaganda victory by HIMSELF labeling his client as sexually disturbed and declining to highlight the heroic act of conscience that underlies this case.
    Yes, this is despicable because of the archaic take on gays being “disturbed”, because it smears all gays… even the log cabin boys get that part. But much more significantly, there is simply no way that it can be of any advantage to Bradley Manning, and in fact it undermines the only defense that could possibly help him – which is the simple truth. Manning’s own words on why he did what he apparently did speak very eloquently to this point.

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