Tied to oaths
I hail from a military family. Both grandfathers served in the Army, as did my father and two uncles. Two brothers served, one in the Marines and another in the Coast Guard.
I don’t know whether any of them had to deal with the dilemma faced by Cpl. Bradley Manning. He was privy to, among other information, a video demonstrating just what kinds of things can happen to innocent civilians when service personnel are caught up in real battle situations in a military operation whose origins are ill-conceived and then initiated under false pretenses.
That Manning violated his military oath isn’t questioned. One thing that can and ought to be questioned, however, is why his punishment is harsher than that of military personnel and contractors who carried out massacres of civilians or who were involved in torture during these same operations.
What is left for us to ponder is just how far oaths to the human establishments of government and military go, when at stake is our fealty to a higher human ethic – one demanding truth, transparency and a regard for basic human decency. The very heart and soul of a democracy demands nothing less.
Joe Moran, Durham