Case of Private Manning: Hero or Villain?
On August 21, 2013, Private First Class Bradley Manning, United States Army, received a 35-year sentence to a military prison and a dishonorable discharge for leaking 750,000 classified documents, diplomatic cables and mostly U.S. military reports, to the public. Manning has stated he released the documents in hope they would open Americans’ eyes to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, prompting a more intense debate (Simpson & Roshan, 2013). Hero or villain?
Antiwar activists and pro-transparency activists declare Manning a hero for having the courage to expose government secrets as a whistleblower, however in contrast, U.S. government officials state the soldier’s actions placed national security at risk, making him a traitor to the country, hence a villain (Johnson, 2015). Hero
Manning is viewed as a whistleblower, simply defined as an employee who goes outside their company to report wrongdoing for any reason, but typically because they do not trust their company or were unable to get their company to handle the issue appropriately (Just what, 2012). Many view the whistleblower as a selfless hero that made sacrifices for the greater good, by providing truth to the public that would not have been known otherwise (Guarisco, 2013). Guarisco (2013) places Bradley Manning in this category and believes he should be protected under the Whistleblower Act instead of being convicted as a criminal. Bradley Manning was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (Bradley Manning, 2013). Villain
At the Manning Court-Martial, the prosecutor accused Manning of being a traitor, not a whistleblower, who used his training and skills to deliberately and systematically harm the United States (Pilkington, 2013). The prosecutor further pointed out that Manning was a man of general evil intent who craved notoriety and was prepared to disregard his extensive military training to callously reveal secrets that put his own fellow soldiers in...
References: Bradley Manning, Malala among Nobel Peace Prize nominees. (2013, March 4). Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bradley-manning-malala-among-nobel-peace-prize-nominees/
Guarisco, V. (2013, August 17). Whistleblowers are our Bravest Heroes. Retrieved from http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/08/whistleblowers-are-our-bravest-heroes/
Johnson, C. E. (2015). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: casting light or shadow (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Just what is a whistleblower? (2012, May 31). Retrieved from http://www.ethics.org/news/just-what-whistleblower
Pilkington, E. (2013, July 25). Bradley Manning a traitor who set out to harm US, prosecutors conclude. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world /2013/jul/25/bradley-manning-traitor-wikileaks-prosecution
Simpson, I., & Roshan, M. (2013, August 21). U.S. soldier Manning gets 35 years for passing documents to WikiLeaks. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/ 2013/08/21/us-usa-wikileaks-manning-idUSBRE97J0JI20130821
U.S. Army. (n.d.). Charge Sheet DD Form 548. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/ images_blogs/threatlevel/2011/03/PFC-Manning_Additional-Charge-Sheet_REDACTED_02MAR11.pdf
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