RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Taibbi writes: "Well, the Bradley Manning trial has begun, and for the most part, the government couldn't have scripted the headlines any better."

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on the third day of his court martial, 06/15/13. (photo: Patrick Semansky/AP)
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on the third day of his court martial, 06/15/13. (photo: Patrick Semansky/AP)

As Bradley Manning Trial Begins, Press Predictably Misses the Point

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

07 June 13


RSN Special Coverage: Trial of Bradley Manning

rsn fr splash promo


ell, the Bradley Manning trial has begun, and for the most part, the government couldn't have scripted the headlines any better.

In the now-defunct Starz series Boss, there's a reporter character named "Sam Miller" played by actor Troy Garity who complains about lazy reporters who just blindly eat whatever storylines are fed to them by people in power. He called those sorts of stories Chumpbait. If the story is too easy, if you're doing a piece on a sensitive topic and factoids are not only reaching you freely, but publishing them is somehow not meeting much opposition from people up on high, then you're probably eating Chumpbait.

There's an obvious Chumpbait angle in the Bradley Manning story, and most of the mainstream press reports went with it. You can usually tell if you're running a Chumpbait piece if you find yourself writing the same article as 10,000 other hacks.

The Trials of Bradley Manning

The Trials of Bradley Manning

The CNN headline read as follows: "Hero or Traitor? Bradley Manning's Trial to Start Monday." NBC went with "Contrasting Portraits of Bradley Manning as Court-Martial Opens." Time magazine's Denver Nicks took this original approach in their "think" piece on Manning, "Bradley Manning and our Real Secrecy Problem":

Is he a traitor or a hero? This is the question surrounding Bradley Manning, the army private currently being court-martialed at Fort Meade for aiding the enemy by wrongfully causing defense information to published on the Internet.

The Nicks thesis turned out to be one chosen by a lot of editorialists at the Manning trial, who have decided that the "real story" in the Manning case is what this incident showed about our lax security procedures, our lack of good due diligence in vetting the folks we put in charge of our vital information.

"With so many poorly protected secrets accessible to so many people, it was only a matter of time," Nicks wrote. "We can be grateful that Bradley Manning rather than someone less charitably inclined perpetrated this leak."

Dr. Tim Johnson of the Telegraph took a similar approach, only he was even less generous than Nicks, calling Manning the "weirdo [who] tried to bring down the government," a man who was "guilty as hell" and "deserves to do time."

"Private Manning was a self-absorbed geek who should never have enjoyed the level of access that he did," Johnson wrote. He went on to argue that Manning's obvious personality defects should have disqualified him for sensitive duty, and the fact that he was even hired in the first place is the real scandal of this trial:

His personality breakdown was there for all to see – criticising US policy on Facebook, telling friends, "Bradley Manning is not a piece of equipment", and even entertaining "a very internal private struggle with his gender". He told hacker Adrian Lamo that he "listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga's Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history." You go, girl.

All of this shit is disgraceful. It's Chumpbait.

If I was working for the Pentagon's PR department as a hired press Svengali, with my salary eating up some of the nearly five billion dollars the armed services spends annually on advertising and public relations, I would be telling my team to pump reporters over and over again with the same angle.

I would beat it into the head of every hack on this beat that the court-martial is about a troubled young man with gender identity problems, that the key issue of law here rests inside the mind of young PFC Manning, that the only important issue of fact for both a jury and the American people to decide is exactly the question in these headlines.

Is Manning a hero, or a traitor? Did he give thousands of files to Wikileaks out of a sense of justice and moral horror, or did he do it because he had interpersonal problems, because he couldn't keep his job, because he was a woman trapped in a man's body, because he was a fame-seeker, because he was lonely?

You get the press and the rest of America following that bouncing ball, and the game's over. Almost no matter what the outcome of the trial is, if you can convince the American people that this case is about mental state of a single troubled kid from Crescent, Oklahoma, then the propaganda war has been won already.

Because in reality, this case does not have anything to do with who Bradley Manning is, or even, really, what his motives were. This case is entirely about the "classified" materials Manning had access to, and whether or not they contained widespread evidence of war crimes.

This whole thing, this trial, it all comes down to one simple equation. If you can be punished for making public a crime, then the government doing the punishing is itself criminal.

Manning, by whatever means, stumbled into a massive archive of evidence of state-sponsored murder and torture, and for whatever reason, he released it. The debate we should be having is over whether as a people we approve of the acts he uncovered that were being done in our names.

Slate was one of the few outlets to approach the Manning trial in a way that made sense. Their story took the opportunity of the court-martial to remind all of us of the list of horrors Manning discovered, including (just to name a very few):

  • During the Iraq War, U.S. authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape, and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers, according to thousands of field reports…

  • There were 109,032 "violent deaths" recorded in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, including 66,081 civilians. Leaked records from the Afghan War separately revealed coalition troops' alleged role in killing at least 195 civilians in unreported incidents, one reportedly involving U.S. service members machine-gunning a bus, wounding or killing 15 passengers…

  • In Baghdad in 2007, a U.S. Army helicopter gunned down a group of civilians, including two Reuters news staff…

This last incident was the notorious video in which our helicopter pilots lit up a group of civilians, among other things wounding two children in a van, to which the pilots blithely commented, "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle."

Except that there had been no battle, none of the people on the street were armed, it was an attack from space for all these people knew – and oh, by the way, we were in their country, thanks to a war that history has revealed to have been a grotesque policy error.

It's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle. It's lines like this, truly horrific stuff that's evidence of a kind of sociopathic breakdown of our society, that this trial should be about. Not Manning's personal life.

Unfortunately, the American people would rather make it about Manning, because they know they were complicit in those and other murders, because they loudly brayed for war in Iraq for years, no matter how often and how loudly it was explained to them that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were not the same person.

Hacks like Johnson reassure the public that they have the right to have the results of their own moral decisions kept well hidden from them. His kind of propaganda soothes people into believing that Manning was just a freak and a weirdo, a one-off kink in the machinery, who hopefully will be thrown in the hole forever or at least for a very long time, so that we don't have to hear about any of this awful stuff again. At the very least, according to Johnson, we shouldn't have to listen to anyone call Manning a hero:

At the centre of the storm is a person who one suspects should never have been in uniform, let along enjoying access to military intelligence, who has blundered into the history books by way of a personality crisis. Incredibly, some people actually want to celebrate him as a gay icon. Who next, the Kray twins?

Wow. We're the ones machine-gunning children, and yet Manning is the one being compared to the murdering Kray twins? And Jesus, isn't being charged with the Espionage Act enough? Is Manning also being accused of not representing gay America skillfully enough on the dock?

Here's my question to Johnson: What would be the correct kind of person to have access to videos of civilian massacres? Who's the right kind of person to be let in the know about the fact that we systematically turned academics and other "suspects" over to the Iraqi military to be tortured? We want people who will, what, sit on this stuff? Apparently the idea is to hire the kind of person who will cheerfully help us keep this sort of thing hidden from ourselves.

The thing is, when it comes to things like the infamous "Collateral Murder" video, whether it's Bradley Manning or anyone else, any decent human being would have had an obligation to come forward. Presented with that material, you either become part of a campaign of torture and murder by saying nothing, or you have to make it public. Morally, there's no option.

Yes, Manning went beyond even that. One can definitely quibble about the volume of the material he released and the manner in which he released it. And I get that military secrets should, in a properly functioning society, be kept secret.

But when military secrets cross the line into atrocities, the act of keeping these secrets secret ceases to have much meaning.

The issues to be debated at this trial are massive in scope. They're about the character of the society we've all created, not the state of mind of one troubled Army private. If anyone tries to tell you anything else, he's selling you something. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+69 # margiafelipe 2013-06-07 13:57
Americans have a hard time separating themselves from the corporations they own and uphold. Therefore anything that hints at their implicit complicity in genocide must be denigrated,disc arded and hopefully forgotten.
People like Taibbi are a thorn in our conscience.
+104 # angelfish 2013-06-07 14:10
"If you can be punished for making public a crime, then the Government doing the punishing is itself criminal." Thank You Matt. That says it ALL. The "Government" should RUN, not walk away from this entire filthy page in their, it seems, never-ending Book of Atrocities done in OUR name! SHAME on them! Bradley Manning should be Commended for bringing this shameful activity to light! We have lost our Moral High Ground. God help us find our way back to it.
+77 # Johnny 2013-06-07 14:15
Excellent analysis! And "military secrets" means "information about military crimes," such as the "colateral murder" video. It has nothing to do with the security of anybody except the criminals, who, predictably, do not want their crimes exposed.
-68 # AlWight 2013-06-07 14:18
I think Matt Taibbi also misses the point. I agree that exposing war crimes is the right thing to do, and that persons responsible should be held accountable, beginning in this case with Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and others who wrongfully got us into the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. As a former intelligence officer, however, I know full well the necessity of safeguarding classified information. Intelligence is vital to our security. Disclosure can result in loss of sources of information and loss of lives. Taibbi ignores this. How much sensitive information did Manning reveal, and what was the damage or potential damage done?
+110 # tedrey 2013-06-07 17:58
If you punish whistle-blowers , but never punish exposed war crimes, then there will be nothing but war crimes, but you won't know about them. Now do you get the point?
+21 # WBoardman 2013-06-08 14:03
This is an important distinction,
but not the critical one, it seems to me.

What's most important is that Manning is being punished
for revealing at least one blatant war crime.
Had he done ONLY that, does AlWight think the military
would have behaved more gently? Or confessed?

But in reality, Manning did a huge document dump
that may or may not have included the sorts of information
that AlWight worries about. At this point, it's not clear
that anyone in the world has done that analysis,
which would be challenging, but is doable.

To date, there is apparently NO evidence that the doc dump
seriously compromised anything that should not
have been compromised. So while it remains possible that
Manning actions may have been mixed,
there's nothing to justify his lynching --
+42 # soularddave 2013-06-07 20:57
We'll wait to see if there is credible evidence that the release of information caused any real damage, or merely some frustration and inconvenience.

NOT releasing the information for review and expected criminal investigation is a military crime under section 499 of the Army Field Manual.

I've never been to Wikileaks to examine the "evidence", but have seen "Colateral Murder" on YouTube. I was appalled, considering that it wasn't mere actors and fake bullets. Those civilian Reporters are REALLY DEAD now.
+13 # tedrey 2013-06-08 05:24
More precisely "U.S. Army Law of Land Warfare Manual (FM 27-10), sections 498-510."
+18 # 666 2013-06-08 08:48
I think the evidence shows little if any damage was done (until you begin to look at morals, political agendas, reputation, etc)
+3 # tm7devils 2013-06-09 13:12
AlWight - trade your brain in for one that works!
+1 # dascher 2013-06-17 19:55
You completely miss the point. Manning disclosed criminal acts that the government has attempted to hide from the U.S. public. "Criminal Acts" do not deserve to be safeguarded; they deserve to be exposed and their perpetrators deserve punishment.

This government has expanded the use of the 'classified' label beyond any conceivable legitimate use. Don't be a sucker and fall the ploy that because somebody put a 'classified' stamp on a criminal act, that act should be kept secret to 'protect us'.

We should never be protected from the truth of these atrocities.
+68 # Old Uncle Dave 2013-06-07 14:25
If you see something say something - Unless it's *us* you see doing something. Then you'd better keep your mouth shut or we will destroy you.
+44 # maddave 2013-06-07 14:32
(Bring on the NOBEL Prize!)
+16 # Doubter 2013-06-07 14:36
I am confused about the phrase:
"..a war that history has revealed to have been a grotesque policy error."

Invading countries IS the policy and the course chosen and taken by the Gov't.

Where's the error? THE ERROR IS IN THE POLICY. The Irak war is the correct result for an erroneous policy. I'll agree if the very much appreciated Mr. Tabbi means: "..a policy that history has revealed to be a grotesque error." or simply: "This is a 'grotesque policy.'"
+72 # mudwoman 2013-06-07 14:39
"Here's my question to Johnson: What would be the correct kind of person to have access to videos of civilian massacres?... Apparently the idea is to hire the kind of person who will cheerfully help us keep this sort of thing hidden from ourselves."
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Matt, as usual, you hit the nail on the head while everyone else was busy examining the hammer.
+33 # maddave 2013-06-07 14:43
Those-who-teach -us-that-absurd ity-is-truth concurrently grant us absolution for the atrocities that we willingly commit in their name. IABM! (*)

(*) I Am Bradley Manning!
+15 # wrknight 2013-06-07 14:46
+44 # roger paul 2013-06-07 14:46
Ah yes, we the American people continue to play the role of the king wearing no clothes. Blind to our egregious behavior, we use PFC Manning as our collective scapegoat.
+30 # cafetomo 2013-06-07 14:55
An excellent example of what afflicts more than just this nation. Should we ever possess a substantial capacity for not being disinformed, Power will be less able to pretend the system we live under is democratic. Indications are that increasingly, our entitlement is to sit in the dark and do what we're told.

The military system is allowed blatancy in denying citizens their rights, under the rationale they are not subject to the same laws, nor even "free" citizens, by dint of having enlisted. However, "Homeland Security" teaches us we are one nuclear "accident" away from becoming subject to that selfsame system of government, enlisted or no.

Does their right to our ignorance trump our right to know of atrocity? There has not been a definitive answer since Nazi Germany.
+27 # tomo 2013-06-07 21:39
I'm with you, cafetomo! The phrase "inalienable rights" slips easily from the tongues of Americans everywhere. Few seem to reflect on what it means. It means some rights cannot be alienated. Even signing up to be a soldier for America cannot deprive one of those rights that are inalienable. Surely among those rights is the right to expose a crime when you become aware of it.
+11 # RobertMStahl 2013-06-07 14:55
Assange is showing complete genius,

Then, Lind has this she added to the Law Review in 2000, MEDIA RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO PROCEEDINGS, INFORMATION, AND
+37 # munza1 2013-06-07 15:09
As always Matt goes straight to the real issue. Thank goodness there are the Taibis, the Greenwalds, the Scahills. But who's listening?
+7 # Gnome de Pluehm 2013-06-07 15:14
Both view points are valid.

1. An unstable person should not have access to critical information, and anyone who has such access should be loyal. Manning is on trial for leaking documents as an unstable person. The charge is valid. The seriousness of the consequences is yet to be determined.

2. It is the government and those in charge of the crimes revealed that should be on trial. The seriousness of these crimes is unquestionable.

Tabbi is correct that the attempt will be made to focus on the most narrow of these concerns and to ignore the rest of it. It is up to the citizenry to force this issue; I do not trust either political party to handle this correctly; both have dirty hands.
+22 # RobertMStahl 2013-06-07 16:49
This is not a trial, but a Broadway performance of huge magnitude. This is about taking your rights away and has been completely choreographed. Why have they gone over 1000 days past the required time for a trial? Have you read Assange? Plus, do you know what else is going on to hollow out everything under your feet preparing for the fall? Try understanding how the stock market can be bombed like Baghdad daily and rise with the money manipulation in place as it is, playing with paper. That would be Manning is, now, a straw puppet until we, at the very least, appreciate and understand Assange. Only your good conscience can fix this, plus the collective, or 'zeitgeist,' or occupying agreement in the cognitive facilities of remaining humanity, others than you.

Fear prevents us from acknowledging the import of such strong decisions. Don't be a dinosaur.
+13 # RobertMStahl 2013-06-07 16:58
Being complicit is being an accessory. 100 years may be all the planet has left before a major extinction (Chomsky). How hard does it have to be for those with cognitive ability for sustaining the intelligent conversation needed about what is happening in this moment in time? Raise your thought, at least to the level of the incompetent, but hierarchical, running it as high as it has become. This is not their only bowling alley to play in.
+33 # David Meggyesy 2013-06-07 15:16
Thank you, thank you Matt Taibbi, character assassination as a cover up for hideous state crimes, psychologizing government pathology is the new form of government defense and tyranny, you so well point out. State power can do no wrong. And Hitler and Stalin and the contemporary crew. Terrific article.
+33 # xflowers 2013-06-07 15:18
You nailed it Matt. I have another question I haven't heard anyone address. How can you possibly call material that over a million people have access to "secret"? Secret from whom? Us yes, and the reasons are obvious once you see it. It might be better characterized as the government coverup files. But does this material constitute real government secrets like the plans for our jet bombers the Chinese are currently stealing from our hacked computers. And by the way, are we going to put them on trial for espionage?
+53 # Lgfoot 2013-06-07 16:10
Still can't believe the perps of the 'collateral murder' of civilians, including reporters and kids, have skated without consequence while their whistleblower is tortured and exposed to capital charges. Positively Kafkaesque.
+57 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-06-07 16:12
So RIGHT. Keep your eye on the ball. This is about an illegal war, murder, torture, and the total devastation of a society that had NOTHING to do with 9/11. Manning is a HERO. Give him the Nobel Prize for peace. He ended that war through his brave efforts.
+41 # Above God 2013-06-07 16:51
I Believe The Pentagon Papers Revealed The Vile Military/ Industrial/ Corporate Rape Of Vietnamn. Manning Just Revealed The Torture, Lies And Murder done In America's Name.
+31 # AnaP 2013-06-07 17:26
I have no doubt that one day both Bush AND Obama will be charged with war crimes.

I hope they rot in prison.

It must be very hard to be an american with brains nowadays :(
+5 # 666 2013-06-08 08:50
perhaps this post should come with a sound bite of "we shall overcome"?
+18 # Trojan Horace 2013-06-07 17:38
"If you can be punished for making public a crime, then the government doing the punishing is itself criminal." Fair point. I think this piece is a much needed reminder of what precipitated this prosecution. Another corrective that reminds us how comprehensively the State has stacked the odds against blind justice prevailing is from an unlikely source... Assange...
+30 # karenvista 2013-06-07 19:29
Does everyone remember when our war criminals in chief announced that they were importing the "Salvador Option" for use in Iraq? That was when the mass murders by the Iraqi National Police began. We actually imported one of covert commanders from El Salvador to train the hit squads to carry out the mass murders and tortures. This very important article was in the Guardian: Celerino Castillo, a Senior Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who worked alongside Steele in El Salvador, says: "I first heard about Colonel James Steele going to Iraq and I said they're going to implement what is known as "the Salvadoran Option" in Iraq and that's exactly what happened. And I was devastated because I knew the atrocities that were going to occur in Iraq which we knew had occurred in El Salvador."

Steele worked directly for Petraeus, Rumsfeld and Cheney who he had met while training death squads in el Salvador. They admired his work and brought him back as an advisor when they invaded Iraq.

His work there building up the death squads in Iraq would generate 3,000 corpses a month and uncounted victims of torture as it peaked during "the Surge."
+3 # Chele Amicost 2013-06-08 13:29
I had a friend whose brother was an Army Ranger and while his area of operations was South America, South American turned out to be in Afghanistan.
+16 # tomo 2013-06-07 21:53
Once when I showed "Collateral Murder" in a class on dissent in America, a soldier in the class ventured to comment that the helicopter was justified in strafing the the van with the two children inside "because they were acting in response to information there had been violence in the neighborhood." The naivete of the soldier startled me. Of course there was "violence in the neighborhood." We had come to Iraq to smash to smithereens a nation of 25 million fellow mortals.
+20 # Dirk 2013-06-08 00:10
Private Manning compensates, to some degree, for those of us who would like to more directly and boldly address the criminal actions of the powerful, both government and not, but who fear jail, loss of jobs, etc., to the extant that we more readily comment in the blogs, expressing our outrage from our keyboards.

For the Bradley Mannings, the Daniel Ellsburgs, the Berrigan Bros., and so many others, I am humbled, and am learning as I age to not fear those who thrive on fear. Fear and abuse of those who reveal their crimes is all they really have in their arsenal. if we can learn not to fear them, to look them in the eye, humbly, but honestly and with meaning, then this country may still have a chance. If not, then we'll receive what we have earned in our apathy and comfort.

I salute Bradley Manning, and vow to continue to work toward not fearing the machinery that strives for Total Power.

Thank you Bradley manning, for reminding me how to live my life... again.
+6 # Chele Amicost 2013-06-08 13:30
They can only kill you once :).
+7 # Milarepa 2013-06-08 00:40
Rather than commenting cleverly, let's visualize Manning healthy and free. Imagine Manning healthy and free, never mind HOW that's going to happen. Nine times out of ten imagination beats the lynch mob.
+7 # Califa 2013-06-08 07:34
Hold me now, oh hold me now
till this hour has come around
and I'm gone on the rising tide
gone to face Van Diemen's land

It's a bitter pill I swallow here
to be rid from one so dear
we fought for justice
and not for gain
but the magistrate
sent me away
+17 # motamanx 2013-06-08 07:41
Bradley Manning has shone a light in places that the government was insisting we didn't have. What he saw was banality, incompetence, stupidity, and cruelty. The government was ashamed--so Bradley was blamed instead of rewarded.
+11 # Edwina 2013-06-08 10:31
AlWight brings up the point that there may be legitimate reasons for classifying information. In this case, however, the government's case does not rest on evidence that anyone was harmed. A related issue is who and for what reason documents are classified top secret. According to Assange, Wikileaks invited the Pentagon to "vet" their material before release in case it would harm any personnel. They declined to do so. Another related issue: if Manning can be accused of treason, what about the New York Times and other newspapers that published some of the material? The military justice system and the U.S. government are on trial, along with Bradley Manning.
+6 # Chele Amicost 2013-06-08 13:26
First of all, for anyone who is not a mental health professional licensed to diagnose to pass judgment on Manning's mental and emotional stability is the equivalent of practicing without a license. Even as a Certified Peer Specialist in Mental Health Recovery I would not attempt to diagnose anyone because I know I am not qualified. And while I am considered qualified to assess a person - in a limited capacity, I do not have the power to do an involuntary commitment (5150 in Cali; Baker Act in FL). And as our newly transgendered former ST6 member has shown, it certainly did not affect performance. So the "unstable" accusation is a straw man designed to distract. Govt "shcck and awe."
+1 # hammermann 2013-06-09 06:05
Boo ya. Exactly- Taibbi boils it down to the real issues. In the infamous "EXILE" he spent half the time trashing other journos- sometimes petty personal vendettas, sometimes off-base, but here he's right on in the central idiocy of this vicious prosecution.
+4 # tomo 2013-06-09 18:23
hammermann, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your comment. I am willing nonetheless to allow Taibbi a wide writ in "trashing other journos." Not too long ago, David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, and Robert Scheer were national heroes for calling out lies our government was telling. Walter Cronkite, Daniel Schorr, and Dan Rather were in there too. So were many others. Today, it must be galling to the successors of these giants in the mainstream media that they have let the function of truth-telling slip from their hands and be courageously exercised in their stead by a guy in his twenties named Bradley Manning. As they try to bring down Bradley with their shouts and snarls, the real dregs of sourness are in their own dead consciences.
+7 # marigayl 2013-06-09 12:08
Taibbi said, "when military secrets cross the line into atrocity. . ." I submit that is a distinction without a difference. There has never been a military without atrocity. Atrocity is the military's stock in trade. Military acts are an atrocity, their aims are an atrocity, and their methods are an atrocity. The way the military is bankrupting the country is an atrocity. How they brainwash the poor dupes who enlist into becoming murderous monsters is an atrocity. The military itself is an atrocity; its veritable purpose and highly profitable business is atrocity; by its nature our romanticized military makes atrocity its principal method in service to the atrocious corporate domination of the world's resources. And the erosion of our democracy in service to the military is yet another atrocity.
+3 # Doubter 2013-06-11 20:36
Good place to repeat my favorite Einstein quote:

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my
contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the
spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be
done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, and all the
loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate
all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to
shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing
under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."
- Albert Einstein
+1 # teineitalia 2013-06-12 14:15
Matt Taibbi, you continue to inspire me. While others hack away at the limbs, you seek out the roots. Thank you for keeping us focused on the things that matter.

Ignoring the depravities of war and the glorification of violence is a recipe for disaster. While I do believe there are many good and thoughtful citizens in America (I read them every day here on RSN) I believe that many in the halls of power have completely lost their moral compass (and more than one is batshit crazy)

Drunk on power and emboldened by money, the military/indust rial complex has taken over. And here we have the result- they are not ashamed of their actions, they are shamed because their despicable acts have been revealed for what they are.

What we have is here is “madness in a poisoned world. We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers – thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses.” and I would add, soldiers sent to foreign lands under the bullshit guise of preserving democracy.
-1 # YellerKitty 2013-06-15 10:58
"Well, the Bradley Manning trial has begun, and for the most part, the government couldn't have scripted the headlines any better."
True. Because there are, essentially, NO headlines about the Manning trial ... the Snowden issue has managed to eat them all up.
0 # FDRva 2013-06-22 11:23
Welcome to spook-world.

James Bond it is not. At least, not James Bond as Hollywood-adver tised heterosexual.

See Ian Fleming as a British homosexual intell operative--then you are a bit closer to the truth.

It appears fascism in our day is bi-sexual in its smear tactics and innuendo.

I might think the President is more worried about the ramifications-- than Mrs. Clinton--truth be told.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.