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In Defying Hitler, Sebastion Haffner’s disturbing 1939 memoir chronicling the rise of Nazism, the author, a law candidate, describes the insidious day-to-day changes in attitudes, beliefs, politics, and prejudices that began, for Germans, the slow descent into a “trap of comradeship” in which this culture of cruelty flourished as many of them become “owned by it”.  “Comradeship” as the Nazis meant it, became a “narcotic” that the people were introduced to from the earliest age, through the Hitler Youth movement (Hitlerjugend), the SA, military service, and involvement with thousand of camps and clubs. In this way, it destroyed their sense of personal responsibility and became a means for the process of dehumanization:

‘It is even worse that comradeship relieves men of responsibility for their actions, before themselves, before God, before their conscience.  They do what their comrades do.  They have no choice.  They have no time for thought (except when they unfortunately wake up at night).  Their comrades are their conscience and give absolution for everything, provided that do what everybody else does.’

Haffner goes on to describe how this comradeship, in just a few weeks at camp, molded a group of intellectual, educated men into an “unthinking, indifferent, irresponsible mass” in which bigoted, derogatory, and hateful comments “were commonplace, went unanswered and set the intellectual tone.”  The Nazis used a variety of psychological stimulations and manipulations to this end, such as slogans, flags, uniforms, Sieg Heils, marching columns, banners, and songs, to help create a dangerous, mindless “group think.”  One of the most disturbing aspects of this comradeship was how the men in the camp began to behave as a collective entity, who “instinctively ignored or belittled anything that could disturb our collective self-satisfaction.  A German Reich in microcosm.”  This collectivity is the “and” in Arthur Eddington’s mathematical formula.  The bullies and the bystanders become a deadly combination that is more than the sum of its parts.

[…]

 

In all three genocides [Armenian, Jewish, Tutsi], it was found that if one person (or small group of dedicated people) refused to go along with the genocidaires, some others who were potential witnesses actually became witnesses, defenders, and/or resisters themselves.  This group readily admitted that if it were not for those who took the lead in desisting, they probably not would have had the courage to do so themselves.  In his research in “atrocity producing situations,” Robert J. Lifton came to the conclusion, “There’s no inherent human nature that requires us to kill or maim…  We have the potential for precisely that behaviour of the Nazis …or of some kind of more altruistic or cooperative behaviour,  We can go either way.  And I think that confronting these extreme situations is itself an act of hope because in doing that, we are implying and saying that there is an alternative.  We can do better. ”

 

‘It is immensely moving when a mature man [or woman] – no matter whether young or old in years- is aware of a responsibility for the consequences of his conduct and really feels such responsibility with heart and soul.  He then acts by following an ethic of responsibility and somewhere reaches a point where he says: “Here I stand; I can do no other.”  That is something genuinely human and moving.   [Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation]

-Barbara Coloroso.  Extraordinary Evil – A Brief History of Genocide.   pp. 85 – 87

 

My undergraduate University days were nothing like what is routinely described as the ‘University Experience’.  It was a much more utilitarian experience – go to class, take notes, and then rinse and repeat the next day.  Add review said notes and study as test time rolled around.  The social aspect of University was pretty much all but lost on me at the time as the group of friends I had at the time did not attend.  In hindsight, not having friends doing the same thing made focusing on my studies much more difficult and it extended my stay at the lovely U by a few years.   Lessons learned and what not.

So, my Uni days were, to oversimplify, just highschool but harder.  My real learning started or at least the path to intellectual maturity started after I earned my degree.  It also helped that my partner was smart af and pushed me to become more rigorous in developing and defending my thoughts and arguments.  So when I read this essay I could understand what they where saying, but couldn’t really relate to what was being said of the state of university/college campuses regarding the moral/social development of their students.

For me, finding my moral and ethical centre was quite independent of the educational process, such as it was, during my tenure at the U.  Granted, of course, I was being exposed to and learning about topics that would, in the future, inform my ethical-self and boundaries, but nothing on the level which seems to happen in the US college scene.  So then while reading this quote intrigued me:

   “It is entirely reasonable, then, for students to conclude that questions of right and wrong, of ought and obligation, are not, in the first instance at least, matters to be debated, deliberated, researched or discussed as part of their intellectual lives in classrooms and as essential elements of their studies. “

What?  Isn’t inside the classroom where the great arguments and debates should happen?  I mean, it is in the university that you can hash out and grapple with the big problems with the help of professors and the knowledge that they bring and provide of the big thinkers that have grappled with these questions in the past.  The university is where you can make mistakes and get nuanced feedback that will sharpen your intellectual faculties and better equip you to lead the examine life, right?

(It’s funny – none of this really happened for me – sit in class, get taught stuff, regurgitate stuff – was the order of the day).  But yeah, in the formal sense, if you’re not going to university to grapple with the right and wrong questions, then why go?  Getting a degree for job is nice and stuff, but attending higher education is supposed to be more than that.

Here is an excerpt from Wellmen’s take on the the state of the university experience in the US:

 

“The transformation of American colleges and universities into corporate concerns is particularly evident in the maze of offices, departments and agencies that manage the moral lives of students. When they appeal to administrators with demands that speakers not be invited, that particular policies be implemented, or that certain individuals be institutionally sanctioned, students are doing what our institutions have formed them to do. They are following procedure, appealing to the institution to manage moral problems, and relying on the administrators who oversee the system. A student who experiences discrimination or harassment is taught to file complaints by submitting a written statement; the office then determines if the complaint potentially has merit; the office conducts an investigation and produces a report; an executive accepts or rejects the report; and then the office ‘notifies’ the parties of the ‘outcome’. 

These bureaucratic processes transmute moral injury, desire and imagination into an object that flows through depersonalised, opaque procedures that produce an ‘outcome’. Questions of character, duty, moral insight, reconciliation, community, ethos or justice have at most a limited role. US colleges and universities speak to the national argot of individual rights, institutional affiliation and complaint that dominate American capitalism. They have few moral resources from which to draw any alternative moral language and imagination. 

The extracurricular system of moral management requires an ever-expanding array of ‘resources’ – counselling centres, legal services, deans of student life. Teams of devoted professionals work to help students hold their lives together. The people who support and oversee these extracurricular systems of moral management do so almost entirely apart from any coherent curricular project. 

It is entirely reasonable, then, for students to conclude that questions of right and wrong, of ought and obligation, are not, in the first instance at least, matters to be debated, deliberated, researched or discussed as part of their intellectual lives in classrooms and as essential elements of their studies. They are, instead, matters for their extracurricular lives in dorms, fraternities or sororities and student activity groups, most of which are managed by professional staff. “

It seems less of an organic process, and more of a ritualized ‘thing ya do’ to start making the bucks in society.  It seems like such a waste that we have strict qualifications to get and to graduate, but at the same time that we’re not challenging people, making them stretch and reform their assumptions about the world.  Where else can we have the space to do such important life work?

Given how the world works, I find it hard to believe that Canada is taking a principled stand on human rights in Saudi Arabia. Western democracies certainly try to own the rhetoric when it comes to democracy, peace, and freedom – but their realpolitik is quite similar to the nations they routinely criticize for being autocratic dictatorships that are terrible to their people.

My skepticism aside, this is the tweet that started the diplomatic furor between Saudi Arabia and Canada:

Well, the powers that be in Saudi Arabia didn’t like that one bit:

“We consider the Canadian ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia persona non grata and order him to leave within the next 24 hours,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.

“Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada, means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada’s internal affairs,” it said.

“Saudi state television later reported that the Education Ministry was coming up with an “urgent plan” to move thousands of Saudi scholarship students out of Canadian schools to take classes in other countries.”

“Saudi Arabia said it is also freezing all new trade and investment transactions with Canada and “reserves its right to take further action.” Saudi Arabia is one of Canada’s largest export markets in the region, and some 10 per cent of Canadian crude oil imports come from Saudi Arabia.”

“Of course the major worry for Canada will now be the fate of a $15-billion contract for almost 1,000 light armoured vehicles between the Saudi government and London, Ont.’s General Dynamics. The controversial deal, struck in 2014 and approved in 2016, called for the vehicles to be delivered starting in 2017, but it’s not clear how many have already been sent as Ottawa refuses to release the “commercially confidential” information.”

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is reportedly selling off its assets in Canada and will stop buying Canadian wheat and barley, in the latest escalation in the sudden diplomatic dispute between the two countries.”

“The national Saudi Arabian airline, Saudia, said this week that it would suspend all flights between the country and Canada, starting next week.”

[Sources cbc.ca 1, 2, 3, 4]

I think I speak for many Canadian when I say. “WTF just happened here?”.  The Saudi record on human rights isn’t a particularly deep dark secret and to call for a what seems to be a bit of leniency in one specific case doesn’t seem as beyond the pale as the Saudi’s seem to think it is.

Would Canada recall its ambassadors and impose sanctions if Norway made light of our decidedly horrible treatment of our First Nations people?  I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t.  Most likely some diplomatic hand-waves and some impassioned statements about how we’re working hard (we’re not) to improve the lives of all Canadians and then the issues would pass.

What is more intriguing is that despite the Saudi backlash, Canada’s government isn’t backing down:

     Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada isn’t backing down from its position that led to diplomatic sanction from Saudi Arabia.

Freeland made the comments Monday afternoon in Vancouver a day after Saudi Arabia announced it would cease new trade deals with Canada and expel the Canadian ambassador.

“I will say Canada is very comfortable with our position. We are always going to speak up for human rights; we’re always going to speak up for women’s rights; and that is not going to change,” she told a news conference.

“Canadians expect our foreign policy to be driven by and to embody Canadian values, and that is how we intend to continue our foreign policy.”

On Friday, Global Affairs Canada had tweeted, “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists.”

This is post is just full of WTF’s.   Freeland seems to be articulating a values based position on a foreign policy issue.  It makes little sense has Saudi Arabia is clearly demonstrating their willingness to go full-trump and punish Canada economically for having the ‘bombast’ to ask them to release a blogger they have detained and are torturing (sorry folks, flogging is torture any way you want to slice it.)

It’s sad that I’m feeling so cynical about this particular story, and continue to look for the angle that the Canadian government is not sharing with the press.  Like, since when do nations actually take ethical stands on any issue these days?  It just isn’t good for business.

I’m going to continue to follow this story folks, because something just isn’t adding up.

 

Dead at 31 many thanks, Catholic Church.

I needed some time to digest this story…  Sorry folks but that is a lie.  I needed some time to come back to a (relatively) coherent state before I could write reasonably about what went down with Savita Halappanavar.

A post filled with nothing but white-hot rage and invective against the pustulant ass-pimples known as pro-lifers (anti-choicers, for the sake of veracity) and their equally pustulant,delusion friends, the Catholic Church would serve little purpose other than giving the other side ammunition about how nasty I am (Humourless Feminist, Too Sensitive, Crazy Socialist, Militant Atheist etc…the list is long ).  No, my ninnyhammerd-half-witted friends won’t get the pleasure because in Savita’s case there is nothing for me to add, the absolute horror and immorality of their position is chillingly clear –  and a young woman had to die because of it (and women are dying of it here in North America too).

Let’s just look at how our pro-life catholic friends “helped” Savita Halappanavar – Analysis from Dr. Jen Gunter (I’m referencing Jen’s post to make my point, she does not hold the same opinion as I). [ed. bold text mine]

This is what is known. Savita Halappanavar was 31 years old and happy to be pregnant with her first child. Then, at 17 weeks, tragedy struck and she was “found to be miscarrying.” Her husband reports that she was in “severe pain” for three days at the hospital and a termination was requested. He says this request was denied because Ireland is “a Catholic country.” He and his late wife were led to believe that the law would only allow her to be delivered when there was no fetal heartbeat.

What does the standard of medical care say about this treatment? Without access to the chart, “miscarrying” at 17 weeks can only mean one of three things”

A) Ruptured membranes

B) Advanced cervical dilation

C) Labor (this is unlikely, although it is possible that she had preterm labor that arrested and left her with scenario B, advanced cervical dilation).

All three of these scenarios have a dismal prognosis, none of which should involve the death of the mother

Okay, ground rules set.  There were no mysteries here, the medical playbook is straight forward.

The standard of care with ruptured membranes (scenario A) is to offer termination or, if there is no evidence of infection and the pregnancy is desired, the option of observing for a few days to see if the leak seals over and more fluid accumulates. If no fluid accumulates and by some chance the pregnancy manages to go beyond 24 weeks (the vast majority of pregnancies with ruptured membranes delivery within a week), survival is unlikely given the lungs require amniotic fluid to develop. I have seen the rare case where a woman with no infection (and no fluid) elects conservative management in the hopes that might make it to at least 24 weeks in the pregnancy, however, I have never heard of a baby surviving in this scenario. Regardless, if at any point infection is suspected the treatment is antibiotics and delivery not antibiotics alone.

The standard of care with scenario B involves offering delivery or possibly a rescue cerclage (a stitch around the cervix to try to prevent further dilation and thus delivery) depending on the situation. Inducing delivery (or a D and E) is offered because a cervix that has dilated significantly often leads to labor or an infection as the membranes are now exposed to the vaginal flora. Many women do not want wait for infection. A rescue cerclage is not without risks and is contraindicated with ruptured membranes or any sign of infection. Rescue cerclage is a very case by case intervention and well beyond the scope of this post. These decisions are difficult and the mark of good medical care is that all scenarios are discussed, all interventions that are technically possible offered, and then the patient makes an informed decision. All with the understanding that if infection develops, delivery is indicated.

Medically speaking, Dr.Gunter explains the outcomes of what these religiously addled doctors did, or more specifically did not do.

As there is no medically acceptable scenario at 17 weeks where a woman is miscarrying AND is denied a termination, there can only be three plausible explanations for Ms. Hapappanavar’s “medical care” :

1) Irish law does indeed treat pregnant women as second class citizens and denies them appropriate medical care. The medical team was following the law to avoid criminal prosecution.

2) Irish law does not deny women the care they need; however, a zealous individual doctor or hospital administrator interpreted Catholic doctrine in such a way that a pregnant woman’s medical care was somehow irrelevant and superceded by heart tones of a 17 weeks fetus that could never be viable.

3) Irish law allows abortions for women when medically necessary, but the doctors involved were negligent in that they could not diagnose infection when it was so obviously present, did not know the treatment, or were not competent enough to carry out the treatment.

What we do know is that a young, pregnant, woman who presented to the hospital in a first world country died for want of appropriate medical care. Whether it’s Irish Catholic law or malpractice, only time will tell; however, no answer could possibly ease the pain and suffering of Ms. Halappanavar’s loved ones.

This is what we get when we allow insipid religious prevarication into important parts of our society.  Mythology and magic have no place in secular institutions, not now and not ever.   Yet we still allow the bullshite in despite the injuries, deaths and pain it causes.  Religion poisons everything and everyone it touches and yet Religion is just one head of the hydra that conspired to end Savita’s life.  By now the ironically named “Pro-life” band of fetus fetishists need to take their bows and unsuccessfully try to wipe their bloody hands of this uncomfortable case.

Savita’s death is on their hands because this is what you get when you don’t value women as people and see them only as incubators.  Savita and other women are dying because of the batshite-insane anti-choice nuttery that goes on that somehow makes it okay to take women out of the  pregnancy equation and deny her rights.  So have your prayer vigils, your fetus-porn, your 40 days of fuckwittery –  all so you can feel fucking morally superior(?) when a women like Savita Halappanarvar dies?  Your fetid morality is repugnant and has no place in a civilized society… none whatsoever.

You know what the best tell is from these anti-woman fetus worshipping zealots is?   The absolute fucking silence from the pro-life side of things when details of Savita’s death rang around the world.   The author(s) over at Reasonable Conversation nailed it with this post which I excerpt here. [ed. bold text mine]

The fact of the matter is, these people can only thrive when the deaths are anonymous. The moment we had a name for one of the victims of their horrible and irrational beliefs, they needed to shut up and hide so nobody could ask them if Savita Halappanavar should have died, if it was god’s will, if they should have allowed her to be treated. They can’t answer these questions because the answers they would give would make them look like monsters if they were honest and undermine their message if they lied.   

   This. A thousand times  just this.

This is why we fight for the rights of women because the regressive religiously addled view women as second class citizens not worthy of human rights or treatment.  Your torpid bronze age shenanigans have gone on for much too long and hurt too many people.  Where is the apology from the pope?  Where is the outcry from the anti-choicers?  There is none because they cannot or will not see the monstrous evil of their positions, better to whip up some more fetus porn or get some more red duct tape and pray to your imaginary sky-daddy.

When the consequences of your bullshite come to light the religiously anti-choice zealots scurry away from the light of reason(rule one in the nutter playbook), when the unnamed become named and the travesty of your rotten ethics is bared to light you offer no defense, because there is no defense for your untenable immoral position.

We’ll see if we can make it short and quick for today’s Disservice.   God has a lot of people who claim to speak for him and his will (see the mentally ill).  It’s like certain people happen to have a holy transceiver installed and others, like myself most decidedly do not.    I mean when I talk like my imaginary friend is watching over me –  my friends make that “keep the  freaky-delusional  guy happy smile” while someone covertly calls for the nice men in white coats to come get me.

But if you’re wired for God it’s fine:

Simply put, we did not come up with the idea of God. He came up with the idea of us.

God created you, and me, and all that the eye can see. According to this verse in Jeremiah, He knew us before we ever knew Him. He knew who we were, before our mother’s knew who we were. And depending on your interpretation of this verse and many others in the Bible, it might just be the case that God knows how our lives will pan out long before we know it. He may know the decisions we make before we make them. He may know that we’re going to be “a prophet to the nations.” He may know what our next job will be. Shoot, He may even know what our calling in life is.

Think about it…so many of us are trying to figure out our lives–where to go next, what to do next, who will be in our lives and the like. Maybe, God knows these things all along. And maybe, He wants to tell us that we’re set apart, […]”

Like really, really? – This is some grade A, finely ground, delusional crap being finger-painted on the walls over there and it is *okay*? This isn’t reasoned argument, deep introspection or anything resembling rational thought.  This is verbal wanking for jesus why it  scares the piss out of me is because is soooooo chillingly prevalent in the blogosphere.   Admittedly,  it (the jebus-babble) serves as a excellent tell highlighting where the reality challenged are and delineating the  rationality free zones, a meagre comfort in he towering shadow of  blissfully ignorant  religious stupidity.

I’m getting to the topic at hand soon, gentle readers, I just need to point out the crazy as I see it to in order to  frame what the title of this post hints at namely, the neat concept of Eternal Sin (ba ba buuuuuuum!).

Jesus saves!  Hold and accept jebus in your heart and you will enter heaven… blah blah blah….   Oh wait… you there the atheist looking type, you get to burn in hell *forever* why??  Here’s why :

  • Mark 3:28-30:Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven all their sins and all the blasphemies they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin. He said this because they [the Pharisees] were saying, ‘He has an evil spirit’.
  • Matthew 12:30-32:Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy. But the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
  • Luke 12:8-10:I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

Oh shit, there I go, now I’ve done it. You see kind readers, I’ve been a bad atheist. No, I mean it, a really bad atheist. My irredeemable crime? – here it comes… *holds breath….tension so thick you can cut it with a bad cliche.*

I have said (and shall reiterate here) and meant the following statement:

“The holy ghost is fictional character at best and is a big poopy-head”

Whoa there, that wins me eternal damnation. Don’t you feel the kindness and the loving of the christian god? I know I do. What kind of horrible fucking being demands blind devotion or else its a permanent lake of fire vacation for you? Him and his brand of “Justice”” can go frack themselves sideways, thank you very much.

Eternal damnation is immoral in any case, especially when you hand get out hell free cards for everything else. Mass murderer? Repent and accept jebus, go to heaven. Serial rapist and child molester? Repent and accept jebus, go to heaven. Torture cats for fun? Repent and accept jebus, go to heaven.

Frack heaven and frack the despicable “morality” that supposedly gets you there. It’s topsy-turvy bullshit at its very best; I get to burn forever for calling a ghost “poopy” and Ted Bundy after finishing gnoshing on somone’s liver, once saved, is in heaven with his 72 and half virgins (or raisins, depending on translation).

This notion of eternal damnation, lets lump it into the correct category and call it religious morality, is fractally stupid. To the rational mind religious morality is bug-fuck nutz.  It is also a maddening splinter punched into my cerebral-cortex as I witness the deluded start dropping these religious bags of spoor into a conversation not realizing the implications of their delusional shit-festooned beliefs.

And thus endeth the sermon. Have a good week folks.

Ah, the prefect moral being and originator of all things good and holy is at it once again, this time condemning people to death for daring to defy his will.  Objectively moral my ass.

    Ethics are what make people stand against tyranny.  Saying “no” to the crowd is one of the most difficult challenges we face as social animals.  Bradley Manning had the courage to make an ethical stand, we all possess similar characteristics, we just choose to dismiss these ethical impulses.  When we do so, our the moral fabric of our society degrades.

Washington, DC – Private Bradley Manning was just 22 years old when he allegedly leaked hundreds of thousands of US State Department cables and video evidence of war crimes to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. For that act of courage that revealed to the world the true face of the American empire, he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.”

Making an ethical stand always has consequences; I’m surprised Mr.Manning has not been executed yet for his actions.  The international media, not heard in the US of course, is picking up the story and telling a significantly different narrative than what the White House would like you to believe.

All one needs to know about American justice is that if he had murdered civilians and desecrated their corpses – if he had the moral capacity to commit war crimes, not the audacity to expose them – he’d be better off today.”

Not exactly good for the recruiting posters.

“Indeed, if Manning had merely murdered the nameless, faceless “other”, as his Army colleagues on the notorious Afghan “Kill Team” did, he would not have had his right to a speedy trial blatantly violated. If Manning had intentionally killed unarmed civilians, posed for pictures with their dead bodies and slashed their fingers off as souvenirs, he would not have had his guilt publicly pronounced by his own commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama, months before he so much as saw the inside of a military court. If he had killed poor foreigners instead of exposing their deaths, he might even stand a chance of getting out of prison while still a young man.”

War brings a different set of rules to the table, but we in the West would like to think that we possess some noble spirit that sets us apart from the rest.  Yo-ho, it is they who are savages, the brutes who kill indiscriminately.  What bullocks.

“This isn’t really a head-scratching development.  While killing unarmed civilians for sport may not be officially sanctioned policy, it doesn’t threaten the functioning of the war machine as much as a soldier standing up and refusing to be complicit in mass murder. From the perspective of a Washington establishment much more concerned with maintaining hegemony than its humanity, the former – murder – is much less troubling a precedent than the latter.

And so the US government is making an example of Manning, lest any other cogs in the machine start thinking about listening to their consciences instead of their commanders.”

The mirroring of foreign policy onto this case bears further investigation.  The bullshite you here about the domino theory and the various red-scares starts with the implicit assumption that the “threat of a good-example” must be quashed at all costs.  The illegal terrorist war waged by the United States on Nicaragua is a prime example of a country using resources for its people instead of the multinationals.  Raises the poor a few steps out of abject poverty is the “good example” that must be utterly destroyed so “stability” can be restored.  Stability being shorthand for globalized corporate control.  Focusing on the individual case of Mr.Manning we can observe the same pattern.

    Manning’s actions speak of a human conscience, a sense that what was going on was horribly wrong and it needed to stop.  Acting on his conscience as a decent human being, Manning took action.  Having people empathically relate to official enemies is a big no no in the armed forces, you might start questioning the rational, as such, of what you’re doing there and that, gentle readers, is not allowed.

“Had Manning – instead of exposing the crime – been the one pulling the trigger in the US Apache helicopter that in 2007 murdered at least a dozen unarmed people in Baghdad, he wouldn’t be facing any legal consequences for his actions. Had Manning authorised a 2009 missile strike in Yemen that killed 14 women and 21 children, instead of releasing the State Department cable that acknowledges responsibility for the killings, we wouldn’t even know his name.

But Manning didn’t kill anybody. Rather, he was outraged by the killing he saw all around him and angered at the complicity of his higher-ups who weren’t prepared to do a damn thing about. So, the system having failed to ensure accountability, Manning took it upon himself to share the inconvenient facts his government was withholding from the world.

“I prefer a painful truth over any blissful fantasy”, he explained in a chat with hacker-turned-informant Adrian Lamo. As an Army intelligence analyst, Manning witnessed firsthand the American empire in action – and it changed him. “I don’t believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore”, he lamented, “only a plethora of states acting in self-interest”.

Transparency, accountability, responsibility are all hallmarks of a functioning democracy.  The people of a democracy have the right to know what is being done in their name.

“Confronted with the reality of institutional evil, Manning risked his career – and his freedom – in order to expose everything from mass murder and child rape in Afghanistan to US support for brutal dictators across North Africa and the Middle East. His actions were heroic, and Amnesty International has even credited them as the spark for with jump-starting the Arab Spring. And yet a president who proclaims his commitment to transparency while on the campaign trail is determined to go down as the one whose administration mentally tortured, prosecuted and jailed the most famous whistle-blower in half-a-century.”

Officially we want heroes from war, but what we really get are ‘made-men’ who, with the consent of the state, parrot the institutional truths back to the public to keep them in the dark.  Outside of the borders of the USA, the notion of ‘defending freedom’ has a much different definition, one much closer to the harsh truth that Bradly Manning chose to share.

Manning said,”I prefer a painful truth over any blissful fantasy”.  – Perhaps if the American public could share a similar sentiment democracy might begin to flourish once again in the USA.

 

 

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Emma

Politics, things that make you think, and recreational breaks

Nordic Model Now!

Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution

The WordPress C(h)ronicle

These are the best links shared by people working with WordPress

HANDS ACROSS THE AISLE

Biology, Not Bigotry

fmnst

Peak Trans and other feminist topics

There Are So Many Things Wrong With This

if you don't like the news, make some of your own

Gentle Curiosity

Musing over important things. More questions than answers.

ANTHRO FEMINISM

A place for thoughtful, truly intersectional Feminist discussion.

violetwisp

short commentaries, pretty pictures and strong opinions

Revive the Second Wave

gender-critical sex-negative intersectional radical feminism

Trans Animal Farm

The Trans Trend is Orwellian

Princess Henry of Wales

Priestess Belisama

miss guts.

just a girl on a journey

writing by renee

Trigger warning: feminism, women's rights

RANCOM!

Happily Retired

freer lives

A socialist critique of gender ideology

Centering Women

A radical feminist page made for women only

radicalkitten

radical Elemental feminism

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