Dear Editor: The more I learn from the work of accused U.S. soldier Bradley Manning and his efforts to expose additional inconvenient truth about the 2003–2012 armed invasion of Iraq, the more I’m inclined to recognize him as a hero.
As early as March 2003 there was plenty of evidence to prove the pending invasion was under false pretenses.
Not long after military operations began, it was confirmed that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, nor did it participate in terrorist activities as alleged mainly by Britain and the United States.
However, the killing and destruction in Iraq continued as though there was just cause. Nobody seems to know within an error margin of 100,000 how many civilian lives were lost. We know exactly though how many invading soldiers were killed.
We know as well that even today most Iraqi citizens still don’t have consistent access to electricity, let alone education.
We know that the use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium will contribute significantly to higher birth mortality and lower life expectancy for generations to come.
We also know that the brightest and best professionals have fled their homeland.
It seems that a country widely referred to as “the cradle of civilization” could now be described as the “grave of civilization.”
If all that was not bad enough, the information provided by Bradley Manning indicates clearly that the highest ranking leaders in charge of the invasion consistently and knowingly operated with total disregard for international law, particularly the Geneva Convention.
The cables and video I’ve seen appal me to learn that the top officials of the world’s most advanced governments and judicial systems have so deliberately and callously suspended and attempted to suspend the charter right to life of so many innocent children and other civilians in a foreign sovereign nation.
In addition to all the underhanded diplomacy, many atrocities and massacres were exposed, all of which were perpetrated with total impunity by everyone involved.
Well, almost everyone.
Those who released the bombs and fired the guns are free. Those who gave the orders to “engage” are free.
Those who planned the military strategies are free.
Those who authorized the systematic killing of civilians under false pretenses are free.
But the lone soldier who had access to the damning evidence and had the moral conviction to expose wrong doings is not doing so well.
He has been imprisoned with long periods of solitary confinement for more than a year.
Human rights groups allege he’s been tortured.
There’s a possibility he may be executed if his court martial results in a conviction.
Something is fundamentally wrong when someone who reports incidents of cold-blooded murder risks the threat of capital punishment, while those giving the orders are free to enjoy the wealth they continue to accumulate compliments in part of their horrendous behaviour.
Bradley Manning languishes in military custody likely under torturous conditions fearing for his very life while others enjoy lucrative book-signing sessions and speaking engagements.
History has proven many, many times that injustices such as those surrounding the military invasion of Iraq and the treatment of Bradley Manning arise from and are perpetuated by populations which support such injustice by virtue of their collective silence.
Tony Oxford, Cox’s Cove