DALLAS, January 10, 2012 – PFC Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old US military analyst accused of publicly leaking the largest set of confidential documents in history to WikiLeaks, has had his day in court. By January 16th, the investigating officer, Lt Col Paul Almanza, will submit his opinion on whether Manning should face a court martial for his 30 charges, including “aiding the enemy,” which carries the death penalty. Though it is Manning who is ultimately on trial, the case has inspired incredibly divisive, passionate debate, revealing multiple political and philosophical rifts between Americans in both the civilian and military communities.
Observers disagree on nearly every philosophical and political point, each side presenting equally compelling arguments to support the outcome they see in Manning’s future: death, prison or freedom. Under the surface of these arguments lay timeless, complicated philosophical questions that inspire passionate rhetoric from each side: what are the state’s rights to secrecy versus rights of the people to know their government’s actions committed in their name? In times of war, what is the value of an oath versus the moral obligation to act on one’s conscience in the face of atrocities? Can a nation fight against human rights violations while also violating human rights? And if the government wages expensive wars its citizen’s finance and warriors fight, should it be accountable for errors when they are made? If not, who watches the watchers? Answers to these questions reveal a growing political divide along statist and civil libertarian lines.
Read more: The divisive case of Bradley Manning | Washington Times Communities
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