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La Jornada, Mexico

Bush and Manning

By Pedro Miguel

Upon taking a closer look, Bush is much more deserving of the accusation of risking American lives than the soldier Bradley Manning could ever be.

Translated By Stuart Taylor

4 June 2013

Edited by Philip Lawler

Mexico - La Jornada - Original Article (Spanish)

In 2001, George Walker Bush organized the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, which led to the deaths of 2,234 Americans — 60 of whom died in 2013 — 44 Brits, 644 individuals from other occupying powers and tens of thousands of Afghans. Back then, the aim of the war was supposedly to guarantee the safety of the U.S. citizenry; however, attacks organized by Islamic fundamentalists — which is how the U.S. government classified the Boston marathon bombers — continue to kill people on U.S. soil in 2013.

Two years after deploying armed forces in Afghanistan, Bush began the invasion of Iraq, where 4,487 Americans were killed and more than 30,000 suffered considerable injuries.

Upon taking a closer look, Bush is much more deserving of the accusation of risking American lives than the soldier Bradley Manning could ever be, the latter having never organized any war or even, as far as we know, fired a single round during his stay in Iraq. What is relevant about his time in that unfortunate Arab nation was, according to his accusers in a military court, that he provided WikiLeaks with thousands of documents from the Pentagon. Thanks to WikiLeaks, the world confirmed the extent of the crimes committed by Washington in these two wars. For example, WikiLeaks discovered that Namir Noor-Eldeen, a reporter for Reuters, was murdered in cold blood along with 10 others by the crew of an American attack helicopter. It was also discovered that the invading forces killed more than 150,000 unarmed civilians and that many of these individuals were classified as enemies killed in combat. Furthermore, it got out that the occupying forces handed over countless prisoners to the Iraqi police, knowing that they would be killed or tortured.

This information could have been used to reform the U.S. military justice system by revealing to Washington that military intervention was used to support officials in Baghdad who were more abusive than Saddam, according to the Iraq News Network, and to strengthen the necessary social and media surveillance of these authorities. The WikiLeaks information could have been used to consolidate the democratic principles that the U.S. has always demanded.

If such principles had been upheld, then Bush and his collaborators, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, among others, would have appeared in court a long time ago for lying to society, destroying two countries, senselessly leading thousands of young Americans to their deaths and tolerating the breaking of international humanitarian law, not least for the benefit of the businesses these individuals were involved with — as in the case of Cheney.

Nonetheless, after leaving their administration positions in Washington, these individuals subtly slipped into the shadows — except for Bush, who sometimes gives us something to talk about when he goes for a ride on his bike on his Texas ranch.

Manning wasn’t so lucky. He was arrested on May 26, 2010. Having been initially held in Kuwait, he was sent to the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, two months later. There, he was subjected to a prison-like regime, comparable to torture, for months. He was locked up in a 6-square-meter cell, deprived of all contact with the outside world, sleep and his contact lenses. He was naked, put under bright lights, watched 24/7 by security cameras and stripped of any reading or writing materials. According to the defendant’s lawyers, the purpose of the abuse was to pressure Manning into incriminating Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, against whom the U.S. justice system has not managed to build a plausible case.

Yesterday, at the Fort Mead military base near Washington, the court martial against Manning began. As for Bush, he still goes for bike rides on his Texas ranch.



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