"[T]here are, at bottom, basically two ways to order social affairs, Coercively, through the mechanisms of the state -- what we can call political society. And voluntarily, through the private interaction of individuals and associations -- what we can call civil society. ... In a civil society, you make the decision. In a political society, someone else does. ... Civil society is based on reason, eloquence, and persuasion, which is to say voluntarism. Political society, on the other hand, is based on force." ~ Ed Crane
Open Letter to Bradley Manning
Column by Lawrence M. Ludlow.
Exclusive to STR
August 10, 2013
c/o Commander, HHC USAG
Attn: PFC Bradley Manning
239 Sheridan Ave, Bldg 417
JBM-HH, VA 22211
Dear Mr. Manning:
I wish only that I had written to you earlier. Like hundreds of thousands of other people – and perhaps many more – I consider you to be an ethical person, a hero, someone who did the right thing in exposing the mass murder, corruption, lies, and the vicious nature of the U.S. government and its obedient minions, who follow orders without a thought as to the nature of these orders or their true criminality. Your actions took not only great moral conviction, but great courage in the face of blindness, indifference, stupidity, and willful evil.
This quality you possess is not valued highly in a nation that is rapidly mimicking the experience of the German people under the Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s and under the Soviet regime from 1917 until the 1990s. As you probably know, “just following orders” was the defense that the Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann uttered during his show-trial in Jerusalem. In a similar way, the ignorance – and even more, the moral vacuum – of the American people has enabled them to permit their government to slaughter between four and six million people since the close of World War II, and people like you are helping to expose and bring to light this vicious practice so that they cannot pretend any longer – living a lie. Ignorance is a natural state for all of us (after all, we are born without knowledge), but an evil intent is worse – much worse. And you have exposed it by your actions.
Your heroic act and despicable betrayal by an obedient “patriot” has forced Americans to look into the mirror and see what it has become – a sick parody of cruelty come to life. Most Americans are not aware that the armed forces, through its sanctions program, committed the equivalent of a WTC attack on Iraq on a frequency of every three weeks for ten years from 1990 to 2001. They are unaware that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright even proudly admitted that these sanctions had killed more than 500,000 Iraqi children as of 1996 on the “60 Minutes” program when interviewed by Leslie Stahl. This went without even a peep of protest among “good, clean, god-fearing Americans” whose government is now persecuting you for daring to rip the veil off the evil. And this evil sanctions program continued until the post-9/11 war began and a new kind of slaughter took center stage. As you can see, the total of victims reached perhaps one million by then (after another five years of sanctions), and perhaps another 500,000 to 1 million have died in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since then. This ghastly total, plus three million more Vietnamese (Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s figures) people burned, shot, and blown to smithereens in the Vietnam War and many tens of thousands poisoned since then by our chemical weapons there have made the US a bona fide terror state. And now the boobus Americanus wonders why people shake their heads in disgust at the Nazification of America’s government and its obedient servants and cheerleaders in death.
Sadly, this willingness to victimize others is not a quality possessed only by the “right” of the political spectrum. In no less a cruel and cowardly manner, the “left” is willing to use the coercive tools of government to victimize others who do not fall into line with their regimented, Procrustean ideas about wealth and hatred of economic liberty and free association. They have elevated the sin of envy to a green-colored sacrament, just as the war-mongers have elevated mass-murder to a red-toned virtue. This type of fascism applies equally to those who invade other countries and those who invade others’ wallets. They are both cut from the same cloth in their willingness to coerce otherwise peaceful people into obedience. It is heroes like you who help to expose these evil practices, and I wish you all the best in your brave stand. Surely you must be an example of all that is best in humanity to those who lock you behind bars.
I am sad and disgusted at the treatment you received by people who live off of my tax dollars – dollars that I am forced to pay against my will to support great evil. I am sorry that you have been denied justice by your imprisonment for doing well, for doing right. I am sorry that a despicable judge presides – much as the callous Nazi judge, Roland Freisler (who was a communist before he was a Nazi; big difference, eh?) – who presided over the kangaroo-court trails of the heroic Sophie Scholl, her brother, their philosopher teacher, and the other heroic young members of the anti-Nazi movement called The White Rose. If you ever have a chance, there is a 2005 film about it called “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days.” Your actions remind me of the heroic behavior of these young people. I hope you can someday enjoy it.
While you may not know it and the locked-down media of this country will not permit its discussion, you are considered a hero by millions of people around the world. Your imprisonment is an indictment of the government that rules over us all. It is an indictment of President Obama, who has mimicked George Bush, who has mimicked Bill Clinton, who has mimicked George H.W. Bush – and on and on, one criminal in the White House after another – all elected by the shameless people of the USSA.
In a way, perhaps we are all prisoners. Those of us out here – on the outside of your prison walls – will not admit this about our existence. To do so would come too close to the truth of things. You, having been kidnapped and thrown in a cage, cannot lie to yourself in this way – as we on the outside can, if we are so cowardly as to allow ourselves such a delusion. But just as “truth is treason in an empire of lies,” your imprisonment is a metaphor for what this country has become. None dare admit how deep is the pit into which our government and its obedient “respectable” servants have descended or how low they have gone and will surely go.
While the tone of this letter is depressing in a way, it is only dark insofar as it is a stark contrast to the spark of bright light that has illuminated us. You are that spark, and your light has sent the cockroaches into a frenzy of cover-up and fear. The president’s lies are piled higher each day, and his minions must lie themselves into tangles of excuses and lies. And they are helped because we live in the United States of Amnesia, to steal a phrase from Gore Vidal. Americans love to be lied to and promised this and that so that they can avoid the pain of thinking and acting righteously. That’s why you have been imprisoned.
I hope you know that you are in a long line of heroes, and your name will live far beyond that of anyone who imprisons you – all of them forgettable because of their faceless, nameless banal cruelty – which is so common that it is as forgettable as yesterday’s dirt. You are not forgettable. They can put you in a hole and try to hide you from the world, but your light shines out of it and acts as inspiration. You already know that Edward Snowden was inspired by you to expose even more lies, and he is making a laughing stock out of Obama and his supporters as well as the Republicans who are identical in their twisted behaviors.
You really are an inspiration – even if the people who can receive the light of your example and enable it to illuminate their path are not the ones who hold the keys to your cell or have their scrofulous hands on the levers of power. Your brilliant example cannot be contained, and those who now persecute you will one day be ashamed. And those who know them will be ashamed of them. This has all happened before in one way or another, and while your suffering is beyond my experience, I hope that in realizing how cherished you are by so many, you will receive some comfort.
If this letter helps to bolster your spirit in any way, it has done its job. I chose to go beyond merely telling you how wonderful your acts are. Instead, I chose to tell you why they are heroic and why they are good and why they are to be admired. This required me to rattle off a list of depressing facts – a parade of evil that serves – by its contrast – to bring into high relief the nature of your inspiring behavior. I hope your family is proud of you. I hope your neighbors are proud of you. I hope – even more important – that you continue to be proud of your actions and to retain your faith in their high value.
The hearts of human beings all over the world are with you – even if you can’t possibly know it from where you sit and even if they cannot give voice to it. I hope that this letter is at least a teaspoon in that ocean of goodwill.
You make me want to believe in god more than all the believers in the world. Perhaps you are the greatest proof that such a thing is possible. God bless you, Bradley Manning
Lawrence M. Ludlow