Chelsea Manning – Friend or Foe to the US?
November 13, 2017
On May 17, 2017, Chelsea Manning was released from prison after a 35-year sentence for releasing nearly 750,000 classified information on the war in Iraq to Wikileaks, the biggest leak in American history. Her case represents the controversy on how much government transparency our democratic country should have. Some consider her a hero and others believe she is a traitor that put lives in danger.
We, as American citizens, hold considerable power that can influence government. Because of this, it is important for us to be informed about what is going on around us.
This is why Chelsea Manning is a hero. She leaked material that revealed horrifying details about the war in Iraq. By doing so, she allowed the American people to be more aware and knowledgeable about the truth in Iraq, and thus allowed us to be able to make informed decisions.
She leaked a video, which she called “Collateral Murder,” of American soldiers killing a dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians. After seeing countless similar atrocities, Manning felt that she had to inform the public about this in order to spark a worldwide discussion regarding these injustices.
She said in a private chat, “I want people to see the truth…because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public”.
Chelsea Manning is a hero. She was willing to face serious consequences if it means that the American people would get a chance to see for themselves what the country is doing in foreign areas. It is important that citizens know what the government is doing, especially if it deals with the lives of the American people.
Chelsea Manning felt that she held a “responsibility to the public” which is why she published these documents and gave them to wikileaks making it America’s biggest dump of confidential information, because that’s what it was, a dump with no filter.
While Manning did leak some information that may have been quite alarming to the general public, a portion of what she leaked was not only unnecessary, but put people’s lives at risk.
John Yoo, a former Assistant Attorney General said that Manning leaked information that revealed “the identities of foreigners helping the U.S. in war zones, the means and methods of U.S. military operations, and our sensitive diplomatic communications with other nations.” All of these things can potentially aid the enemy and put both American and foreigner lives at risk.
In fact, during Manning’s trials, evidence was presented that Osama Bin Laden, founder of Al Qaeda, was utilizing the information that Manning had published.
Thomas Joscelyn spoke out at Manning’s trials saying “The government presented [an] uncontested written statement that former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden asked for and received from an associate the Afghanistan battlefield reports that WikiLeaks published.” Call her a whistleblower, call her a hero, or call her a traitor.
This country paints Manning as a hero, as a person willing to give to the people no matter the consequences. We argue that if any secret the government hides concerns the American people then the American government has a responsibility to reveal these secrets to the masses.
But is it so important for us to have government transparency that we would celebrate a woman that leaked information that potentially aided Osama Bin Laden and put others lives at risk?