I thought about titling this post using a line from Hawkeye Pierce, with friends like that, who needs enemas? I mean do these people really think their loud support will help PFC Manning with a convening authority, military judge or, particularly a members panel?

But, this WaPo article took me to another question. And it arises from this indisputable fact, PFC Manning volunteered–in fact, volunteered rather recently–to be in the Army.

My question is, why would someone with these beliefs volunteer to be in the Army and volunteer to be an intelligence specialist? I don’t get the feeling that PFC Manning was in the Army for years and the horrors of war convinced him that this whole thing was wrong. Though I could be wrong about that and am open to being re-educated.

And one last piece of advice for PFC Manning, when you retain an attorney, I’d think about getting a recently RAD’d Army MAJ/LTC that has served in an infantry unit or a forward area or put his life in another mans hands, and in return, asked him to put his life in the officer’s hands. Just a thought.

Talk amongst yourselves.

28 Responses to “PFC Manning Supporters An Odd Lot”

  1. economic conscription says:

    For the same reason that most enlisted join up.

  2. Charlie says:

    Obviously coming from someone who has never recently served as an enlisted soldier.

  3. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    Charlie–Are you talking me? Well I’m the only one here. Cause if you are, I will agree I have not been, recently nor ever, enlisted or a soldier.

  4. Anonymous says:

    But clearly, PFC Manning is not like MOST enlisted.

  5. Phil Cave says:

    Thumbs up.
    Bring back the draft!

  6. soonergrunt says:

    As someone who HAS recently served as an enlisted soldier, I gotta tell you guys that the reason that Manning joined is more likely than not as unique to Manning as it is to any other enlisted guy. The impression I got from various stories about him was somebody looking for approval from a father who would never give it, and looking to fit in with a group, not being particularly happy with himself for whatever reasons. He became and intel guy most likely because he scored high enough on the aptitude test but that’s just my guess. It’s about a little more than economics because even then, the majority of young people today don’t pursue military service as an option in their lives.
    I don’t really buy the argument that he saw a bunch of stuff and decided that he HAD to act. Sure, he may tell himself that, and may even believe it, but it’s more likely a product of the same process by which a lot of young soldiers get into trouble with insubordination, disrespect, and so on. Particularly the book-smart ones. It’s that whole “I’m really smart but these dumb-ass career guys don’t appreciate me!”
    In my case, it lead to a scene of young SPC soonergrunt informing his Squad Leader and Platoon Sergeant exactly how smart and special he was and what he thought of them. This was followed by PFC soonergrunt digging fighting positions and buffing floors and painting the dayroom in the non-duty hours for two weeks.
    My understanding is that Manning had a Company Grade Article 15 at some point prior. His bragging to the hacker about how he accomplished his act and the attendant contempt for his superiors’ and co-workers’ intelligence, NOT their ethics or morals which he doesn’t mention, seem to me to confirm my suspicions about his motives. Apparently he didn’t learn his lesson that it doesn’t matter how smart you think you are, you don’t have enough stripes for anyone to care.

  7. Phil Cave says:

    So, maybe some payback because “they” didn’t respect him enough and so he’d “show them?”

  8. soonergrunt says:

    That’s my impression, Mr. Cave. Of course, I don’t know, and I’m sure CID may come up with another reason, but that’s what I come away with, especially after reading the chat logs with the hacker.
    Interestingly, one of my professors when I was at college, a retired CIA guy who taught a class on ‘intelligence operations and statecraft’ stated that many spies have the same motivations for what they do, and the money and the idealism are secondary to the feelings of power and the ego stoking they get. But again, I could be wrong. As for his supporters, they aren’t unlike the birfers with their belief that simply because they want something, it should be so, like the Army is going to release Manning, apologize to him and issue him the Soldier’s Medal. (Yes, I’ve actually seen that suggested.)

  9. Phil Cave says:

    That would be consistent with what I see and sometimes deal with in security clearance cases. Not everything is about the money.

  10. Michael Lowrey says:


    Well said. I too got the impression that Bradley thought he was the smartest guy in the room but wasn’t getting any respect so was going to do something to show them just how smart he was.

    I also agree about the comparisons between Lakin and Bradley’s supporters — different cause, certainly, but same thought process. A key difference though is that Lakin’s political views are like that of those that back him, while Bradley actions even if driven by other motivations make him a darling of the anti-war types. I suspect that if Bradley were released tomorrow, he’d be a star at anti-war rallies though because a) the affirmation he would receive and b) because he thinks the Army are idiots for not recognizing his intelligence.

  11. Bridget says:

    Agree with Cave. Once upon a time- who (Many years ago and a galaxy away) was a PFC and SPC-actually SP4-which really ages me.

  12. Anonymous says:

    am i missing something? The link takes me to a movie quote page.

  13. Phil Cave says:

    No, it’s a bad link.

  14. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    That was funny, now fixed. Shows you what I have to go through to verify the accuracy of my random though5ts when I write these things.

  15. John O'Connor says:

    Assuming he’s guilty, is the play here to gop members or judge alone? Judge alone basically guarantees a long sentence, while members could either give a REALLY long sentence or possibly come in at 6 months.

  16. Anonymous says:

    For soonergrunt (from the last recorded utterance of the Delphic Oracle):

    “Tell the king; the fair wrought house has fallen.
    No shelter has Apollo, nor sacred laurel leaves;
    The fountains are now silent; the voice is stilled.

    It is finished.”

  17. sin nombre says:

    Why do his acts prompt this question? Do you question why rapists or thieves joined? Now, he’s none of those, but seems you’re making more out of his act than what it really is. As far as the video of the killings go, I don’t have a problem with what he did, as I don’t believe it would have seen the light of day had he gone through his chain, IG, congressperson. And if he believed war crimes were comitted, that needs to be addressed, not covered-up. If he released all those documents, then I guess it depends on the harm or potential harm he should have foreseen. We’ll have to see.

    Yes, Phil, the draft would make this country less war-mongerish.

  18. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    You know I have to admit I read some of the Manning chats and according to his statements there, he apparently did sour on the military establishment after he got to Iraq. Call me re-educated.

  19. soonergrunt says:

    Yes, Phil, the draft would make this country less war-mongerish.

    That worked soooooo well in Viet Nam.

  20. soonergrunt says:

    I said earlier that he, Manning, may even honestly hold that he was compelled to act on a moral course of action. I don’t buy it myself, but I don’t know. I don’t think that will do him much good in a Court-Martial, will it?
    You guys know more than me. While I’d like to think that I’d do my best to honestly assess the case in front of me, I’m fairly sure I’d want to see him spend a long time in prison if I found him guilty. Either we protect classified information or we don’t, and part of that protection is harsh sanctions for those who compromise that information regardless of their personal reason for it.

  21. Norbrook says:

    I understand the type – heck, I was the type. I was in one of those small, oddball MOS’s where the minimum requirement was a Bachelors degree. I got it knocked out of me pretty quickly at my first duty station, when I learned that a) everyone I was working with had at least as much, if not more education than I did, and b) the people I was working for were the world experts in their field.

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