Harvard’s Cowardice on Chelsea Manning, by Robert Parry

Chelsea Manning exposed war crimes but Harvard withdraws a fellowship at the insistence of a war criminal. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: In an abject display of intellectual cowardice, Harvard’s Kennedy School withdrew a fellowship from Chelsea Manning after hearing protests from accomplices in the war crimes she exposed, reports Robert Parry.

Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has shown that it is no profile in courage by withdrawing a visiting fellowship that had been awarded to Chelsea Manning, who served seven years in prison for revealing U.S. war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.

The Kennedy School caved in to pressure from people who shared in responsibility for those and other crimes, including former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, who resigned his own fellowship in protest and denounced Manning as “a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.”

Of course, it is also true that Martin Luther King Jr. was jailed for criminal violations pertaining to his protests against “legal” injustices — as was South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. Manning represented perhaps America’s quintessential prisoner of conscience of this decade, someone who was severely punished for exposing wrongdoing.

After serving in Iraq as an Army intelligence analyst and witnessing the often-cavalier attitude toward killing Afghans and Iraqis, Manning decided to release thousands of classified documents, including what WikiLeaks labeled the “Collateral Murder” video of a U.S. helicopter gunship mowing down Iraqis and two Reuters journalists on a Baghdad street. Manning’s decision was an act of moral courage at a time when American Officialdom was violating a host of international laws with impunity.

Indeed, what was almost as troubling as the war crimes themselves was that virtually no one from the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama was punished for their criminal actions, especially for committing what the Nuremberg Tribunals deemed the “supreme international crime,” the crime of “aggressive war.”

Bush was allowed to retire to a quiet life as an artist; many of his senior national officials have gone on to comfy jobs in the corporate and academic worlds; and Obama has already begun to hit the lucrative lecture circuit. But Manning served seven hard years in prison and has now been further humiliated by Harvard’s cowardice.

In the explanation of the hasty late-night decision to withdraw Manning’s fellowship, the school’s dean Douglas Elmendorf wrote, “I see more clearly now that many people view a visiting fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations.”

To continue reading: Harvard’s Cowardice on Chelsea Manning

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2 responses to “Harvard’s Cowardice on Chelsea Manning, by Robert Parry

  1. “Manning decided to release thousands of classified documents, Manning’s decision was an act of moral courage ”

    It was also an act of treason during wartime, which should have called for the firing squad.

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    • I disagree. When the entire philosophical basis of war is wrong, when one is fighting not to defend one’s life and country, but because an imperial government has decided to exercise control over other countries in furtherance of illegitimate and corrupt ends, a soldier’s duty is not to keep the government’s lies secret, but to expose them. A soldier swears to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” What bigger enemy to the Constitution is there than our own government when it acts in the manner Chelsea Manning exposed? The government can call that treason, but it is the government that has acted treasonously. A soldier first and foremost owes loyalty to his or her country and it’s principles, not to a government that has waged war on both the country and its principles for decades. Those who enlist, pledging their lives to the government without understanding the moral nature of that government, inevitably place themselves in the kind of situation Manning found herself. Virtually all of them go along with it. Manning was the rare exception.

      If you had been one of the soldiers at My Lai, would it have been “treasonous” to oppose and expose the slaughter of innocents there?

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