By John Grant
We now have clarity from a full-bird colonel in judicial robes that Bradley Manning is to be charged with “aiding the enemy.” OK, not much of a surprise here. Colonel Denise Lind’s ruling  seems pretty predictable.
Her ruling may make things simple for all the right-leaning pod-people who salute everything a field grade military officer says, but for the rest of us, it raises a profound and rather perplexing question: Exactly who is the “enemy” in this case?
The military and intelligence agency brass and their enablers will tell you it’s some nefarious and nebulous network called al Qaeda, which we should all know is by now a substitute for our old Cold War enemies and fictional entities like Spectre in the original Ian Fleming spy pulps. That is, al Qaeda has become The Boogie Man.
American patriots on the right will get no argument from me that there are, indeed, people and affiliations that mean real harm to Americans (including me) and that we need to protect ourselves from them. But that doesn’t address the question whether al Qaeda and other “terrorist” groups are being exploited as the boogie man for the convenience of the Pentagon, the CIA, NSA and demagogues like New York Congressman Peter King.
I fear a lot of “the hunt for al Qaeda” narrative is standard militarist fear-mongering employed to justify embarrassing and often illegal secret behavior that would shrivel up if it were really exposed to the light of day. Boogie men like al Qaeda are also useful to advance the careers and interests of the usual gang of capitalists and oppressive wealthy dominators that made this nation what it is today -- the nation that Bill O’Reilly was wondering the other night might be going down the tubes like Old Rome.
To understand exactly who “the enemy” is in this case, it seems logical to, first, ask who it was Bradley Manning intended to benefit by leaking all that information to WikiLeaks. I’m not sure whether Colonel Lind asked young Manning this, but I doubt it. From his statements and from all that I can glean from following the case in the press -- I and other journalists have not had the opportunity to interview Manning -- the key reason he leaked all that information, including a damning video of US Apache helicopters gunning down a Reuters cameraman and another Reuters employee and embarrassing leaks of back-channel State Department cables, was to share it with the American people.
If any credence is given to the accused man’s own admissions, which seem absolutely plausible to me, it would seem logical that, from the military's point of view, the American people are the enemy in this syllogism...
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