Saturday, August 24, 2013

This is me when I hear folks call Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden a Hero


3 comments:

LuCiFeR A said...

I feel the same way too.

Damien said...

Agreed

Alex said...

Care to share your reasons? I realize you've probably posted about this, but I don't recall those...

IMO, Manning is definitely a hero: he pointed out incontrovertibly illegal acts of our military and government. The sad thing is, he ended up with a 35 year sentence while the perpetrators of those crimes largely went unpunished, and his sentence is ridiculously longer than the sentences given to people who actually betrayed the US by, e.g. selling the names of CIA agents to the Russians. Their actions provably placed lives in danger, while the government was unable to prove in court that Manning's actions had any such consequences. This disparate sentencing, along with his treatment (torture + 3 years to come to trial!) lead to the conclusion that the government is punishing him simply because he caused it embarassment.

Snowden's case is more complicated, because the government argues that its spying on the American people was not an illegal act. However, the portion of the Patriot Act it refers to *does not* justify such blanket spying, and if it did, it would be unconstitutional. The sad thing is how the same people who get all up in arms at the suggestion of the government having a nationwide firearm registry seem to have no problem with condemning a man who pointed out that our government is conducting a much more invasive and secretive spying program. Cognitive dissonance much?

A sizeable portion of the left (and of course, pretty much all of the right) seem to have issues with Manning with Snowden predicated either on the way they conducted themselves or the fact that they made the goverment look bad (I'm talking about Melissa Harris Perry with her Obama-ass-kissing self, specifically). I wish people would stop thinking about whether or not they were motivated by egotism or not (would you care if someone told you your house was burning down because of egotism or altruism? either way you'd thank them) and acknowledge that their actions have had a net positive impact. Or should have, if so many people weren't completely apathetic and missing the point completely.