Dramatic Irony in WikiLeaks Case and Plea Deferral in Court-Martial of Army Pfc Bradley Manning
The court-martial of Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning began with a plea deferral in military court, according to Reuters and the accused, now 24, is facing a future which may not end well for him.
One defense strategy for Pfc. Manning is that much of the classified information allegedly given to WikiLeaks was not even harmful to US interests, reports the CS Monitor. Another idea being advanced by defense is that the failtures up the military chain of command should be examined here.
For a public that is wondering what drove Manning, answers may be found in his own words regarding his experience with the chain of command. A publication by Wired.com of a series of online chats between the intelligence analyst, then 22, and former hacker Adrian Lamo, seems to reveal a young man struggling with definitions of duty and morality.
From the website, Manning admits he may be too idealistic, but a situation arose one day when he ordered to watch 15 detainees taken in by the Iraqi Federal Police for printing anti-Iraqi literature. An officer told Manning to find out “who the bad guys were.” Manning used an interpreter to translate the literature in question. When he learned it was merely a political critique of [alleged] corruption within the Prime Minister’s cabinet, titled “Where did the money go?”, he took that information to the officer requesting the investigation. The officer did not want to hear it, and Manning states he was given new orders: “…he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees…”
The irony lies in what the Army seems to teach soldiers. An Army online guide defines duty as “…a legal or moral obligation to do what should be done without being told to do it”.