Published on Friday, July 30, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
The Heroism of PFC Bradley Manning
At the US Army’s
I am writing today about PFC Bradley Manning, and why he is my new M.I. hero. Mr. Manning has the distinction of being the prominent “wiki-leaker” suspected of the 92,000 document upload featured in the news this last week. I look up to Mr. Manning specifically because he had the guts to do what I didn’t: expose the lie that is war.
My proudest moment as a
After completing this phase of the study, I was surprised to learn that the Rand Corporation was being contracted by the Department of Defense to do a similar GIS study at the cost of several million dollars. Intrigued, I found a copy on the army’s secret computer network, the SIPRNET, and was disgusted with the obviousness of the results. The Rand’s expensive product was very simply a satellite image of the main highway in
The next phase of the study was kind of an accident. I had the unfortunate experience of being assigned to guard the base for 97 nights on a metal tower behind the burning cesspools of the American occupiers’ filth. Several times, I was shot at on this guard duty, late at night. Once or twice we were mortared as well. After returning to my job as an analyst, I half-jokingly set myself the task of finding these attacks in the database, where they should have been after my reports. Surprise: they were not there. Thus began my next project: determining the actual extent of the databases’ failure.
For two weeks I worked non-stop to get a picture of the accuracy of the data that ultimately determined the narrative that our commanders told themselves and their bosses. My best estimate was that 30-50% of attacks on US forces went unreported at this time. This number was worse for the Iraqi Army, where probably 70% of attacks went unreported, unless casualties were taken.
Another part of my job was to sit in on the nightly classified SIPRNET briefings for the Multi-national Division
My point in sharing these stories is twofold. First, I would hope to illustrate the principle of a lost narrative. Not only is the information fed to the American media and often inaccurate (even to the point of being propaganda), but the information that the military uses to form its own narrative of conflict is skewed. Second, that sometimes even the privates in the army know better than the generals in charge. This almost certainly is the case for PFC. Bradley Manning, now in jail accused of leaking information to the world.
Mr. Manning, at twenty-two, is something of a hero to me now. We went through the US Army’s
I have to admit, I am not surprised at the reaction of the media to this latest leak. For a bunch of idiots hiding in the green zone, I don’t think there is much to their supposed analysis of the situation beyond what they get spoon-fed by the military’s press liaisons. That anyone could expect the press coverage of the wars in
If I couldn’t tell the generals a single thing as an intelligence analyst when I was in the Army, maybe I could have told the world. I have to wonder about a country that would send me to war as a twenty-year-old virgin but is shocked and unwilling to hear of the horrible things that happen there on a regular basis. If these 92,000 or so “documents” are what the military is using to assess its own situation, it makes one wonder what doesn’t make it into their database. The questions that the media has failed to ask extend far beyond those posed by the comparatively mundane Wikileaks documents exposed this week.
Perhaps now that the administration has some of the public looking over its shoulder, it will be compelled to tell the truth about
As far as the courageous PFC Manning goes, he is my new military intelligence hero. Thanks, Brad. And shame on you, media, for being out-reported by a twenty-two year-old kid with a laptop. But most of all, shame on you,
Evan Knappenberger is an Operation Iraqi Freedom (05-07) veteran living in
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/30-1
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs