December 22, 2011 | by R. Clarke Cooper
Bradley Manning committed treason

Private First Class Bradley Manning is a traitor to the United States of America, and his choice to use “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as a defense for treason is a betrayal of all gay and lesbian service members past and present. Whatever his reasons or excuses, Bradley Manning does not deserve the sympathy of the LGBT community.

Upon enlistment into the Army, Manning swore to defend the United States from enemies both foreign and domestic, yet by stealing and publicly distributing classified material through WikiLeaks he turned against his own country and became the enemy. Perhaps his decision was an emotional outburst, reactionary or immature, but it was a conscious decision made by a trained professional soldier entrusted with a security clearance.

Manning not only violated security protocol and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he violated the trust of his colleagues, the Army and his countrymen. Now that he prepares to stand trial, he has shown himself to be willing to sacrifice honorable gay and lesbian service members to avoid responsibility for his actions. Lawyers for Manning are claiming that his struggle with his sexual orientation contributed to emotional problems that should have precluded him from working in a classified environment. This shameful defense is an offense to the tens of thousands of gay service members who served honorably under DADT. We all served under the same law, with the same challenges and struggle. We did not commit treason because of it.

Log Cabin Republicans have long advocated that one’s sexual orientation should not be grounds for discrimination or dismissal in the workplace. As conservatives, we believe in the meritocracy of one’s labor. Good behavior and excellent performance come with reward and encouragement. Bad behavior and poor performance come with punishment and corrective measures. To justify misbehavior in the workplace because of minority status is detrimental to the morale and performance of others. For Manning’s legal counsel at Fort Meade to suggest that his orientation and/or gender identity be part of a defense or excuse for his behavior is as unacceptable as the use of a “gay panic” defense by a murderer.

As a combat veteran and current reserve intelligence officer, I have testified to Congress that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a hindrance to service member integrity, readiness, security and was a waste of tax dollars. Members of Congress learned that forcing service members to hide or lie about their sexual orientation undermined service members’ responsibility and accountability under the UCMJ.

I told lawmakers that dishonesty was inherently counter to the long-held Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. Repeal advocates also warned that dishonesty and lying are security threats. The fact that Bradley Manning’s failure may be a predictable result of the corrupting influence of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” does not excuse him from personal responsibility for his crime.

Today, sexual orientation is no longer a barrier for one to serve their country with honor. It should never be a defense for dishonor.

R. Clarke Cooper is executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. He was a diplomat in the Bush administration, a combat veteran of the Iraq campaign and serves as a strategic intelligence officer in the Army Reserve with a Top Secret/SCI clearance at Fort Meade, Md.

14 Comments
  • Manning didn’t use DADT as an excuse. The defense was only bringing up those issues as a mitigating factor for the punishment phase. This is an Article 32 military pre-trial hearing, which has very different rules from a normal trial, and the press hasn’t reported on it accurately. The defense was prepared to call many more witnesses, and bring in evidence from the government itself which showed no threat to national security. However, the government *of course* didn’t allow any of this evidence or those witnesses to be called. Hence… all you are being allowed to see is what you have been allowed to see.. the gender identity issue.. which is only a very small point the defense had intended to make.

  • Excellent, and I agree that Bradley committed treason for which he has earned a just punishment.

    • You are nothing but a moron, a brainwashed moron at that. Let me guess, you believe everything on the news as well? Read some books, look up some facts and get your head straight. You thinking this man deserves punishment for releasing secrets? You’re a puppet, plain and simple.

  • Bradley Manning committed treason? And so did George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Cheney and others. I don’t see them fighting ANY kind of legal trouble. Face it: the citizens of the United States have been in a mental civil war ever since the Bush Administration made the decision to commit our troops to the middle east. Heck – since he stole the election of 2000! The Bradley Manning incident is an example of the escalation of those same internal hostilities. When Bush is prosecuted, then everyone else… well face it: that will never happen. So my guess is that the mental warz will continue. Thanks Bush.

  • Hey, how come the writers here never respond to comments online? Afraid of losing your corporate-paid gigs?! Yea, I thought so…… Hmm. Well, writing an opinion is fine. But defending it actually shows if it was worth the paper it was printed on in the first place. Do you hear me Blade???

  • Peter the Saint – You dont like George Bush, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Neither do I. They made colossal errors in judgement but they didn’t commit treason. Bradley Manning did commit treason by releasing classified documents that harmed our country. The actions of George Bush in office are not a defense to Bradley Mannings actions. The mental civil war that you are referring to only exists in the minds of a few activist types who hate George Bush so much that they cant put his administration behind them.

    Mike – You say that the defense was prepared to enter evidence to prove that Bradley Manning’s actions didnt endanger national security. I hope you dont believe that. Maning’s actions revealed the secret identities of countless informers who put their lives on the line to help the US. We dont know how many were killed or ruined when he revealed their identities. I consider that damaging US national security.

    • So, it’s not illegal to release secrets that people should be inclined to hear. But it’s not against the law to kill hundreds of thousand of people? I don’t care what you say, you’re arrogant and also, ignorant.

    • How did it harm the country? Did you know that one the Afgan War logs documents that the Department of Defence contractor employees hired male child prostitues? Don’t you think that is more important information?! I would want to country to know what they had done also! That’s our tax money paying for them to have sex with little kids and murder innocent women and children!

  • I expected a knee-jerk reactionary opinion from you, Cooper, and that’s exactly what I got. No reason, no intelligence, no exploration of the facts – just more of the same neo-fascist tripe we here from your organization whenever you come near a keyboard or a microphone. There is nothing that PFC Manning gave to Wikileaks that hadn’t already, in one form or another, been disclosed in other media. We knew well before Manning that our military and the military industrial complex supporting it were committing atrocities in Iraq, Afganistan, GITMO… the list is long and shameful. Manning is, if anything, a whistle-blower. If you wish to rant and foam at the mouth about someone committing treason against the United States then focus your energies on the real criminals and traitors of the last 20 years. Peter the saint gave you an excellent list to start with above. Until I see those BlackHawk and Apache crews facing charges for gunning down civilians and journalists, then laughing about it, I don’t want to hear another hypocritical word out of you or your Reich Wing sycophants.

    • Your comment “There is nothing that PFC Manning gave to Wikileaks that hadn’t already, in one form or another, been disclosed in other media” is absolutely false. In fact, the evidence is that he endangered the lives of countless informers in other countries who assisted the US. We dont know how many people were killed because he revealed their identities.

      Your comment “We knew well before Manning that our military …were committing atrocities in Iraq, Afganistan, GITMO… the list is long and shameful” is also false. There isnt a shred of evidence that the US has committed atrocities except a couple of isolated incidents of soldiers who were prosecuted for their actions.

      Btw, Mommie, you shouldnt attack people personally. You should stick to the issues. Watch, Mommies going to attack me now too. You comments should be deleted if you engage in personal attacks.

  • Manning is a hero. Why not ask why Manning did not receive support in exploring gender id?

  • I’m a liberal and even I believe Manning to be a traitor. He had choices. Yes, the information he had deserved to be addressed but why was leaking it to the media necessary? There exists a chain of command for a reason. He had an entire Congress full of people he could’ve contacted. He showed blatant disregard for the safety of others. His sexual orientation has nothing to do with any of this. Emotional problems may explain behavior but they don’t excuse it.

  • I don't recognnize "treason" as a cirme, although I'm proud NOT to be American.

    However, I would argue that Manning was upholding his oath "to defend the United States from enemies both foreign and domestic" by exposing the corruption within the US military and diplomatic corps. Being physically separted from most of the world, the worst enemies of the United States are (and probably have always been) domestic!

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