I just found this post at Osborne Ink (Twitter link from him) about the Bradley Manning fiasco that Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher are using to sucker people into giving money to there PAC and clicking on their shitty blogs for even more click-money. Matt Osborne actually served in our military and signed papers saying he wouldn’t do what Bradley Manning did. His perspective is very worthy of reading, here is a small piece, go read the whole thing…
To whom Manning gave secrets, why, and whether Julian Assange asked him first are really not important questions here. When the military court convenes (and the delay is because his defense asked for it), the only question that will get answered is did Bradley Manning break the law? And the almost-certain answer is “yes.”
Giving away American secrets is against the law; the penalties are stiff. Manning knew that, but chose to give secrets away — and then got caught by bragging about it to strangers on the internet. That there are no other prisoners in Quantico accused of espionage is a happy accident: most American service members take their oaths as seriously as I did, and do. Manning didn’t. A justice system will adjudicate what that means, not Glenn Greenwald.
Put another way: there are something like 25,000 Americans enduring the same inhumane conditions as Bradley Manning, and while I would love to have a national conversation about prison reform this is not that.
As a newby to Twitter and because I follow Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher so I can torment them, :) , I get to see what they promote on their Twitter feeds. It’s a virtual Bradley Manning Wheel O’ Fun coming from those two hateful people. They’ve apparently found a small nitch of uber anti-government, anti-authority, anti-Obama, anti-whatever-works-for-clicks group of people who they throw red meat to on a regular basis. One of them was hassling me this morning and he reeked of being a Glennbot, same stupid logic, same stupid arrogance…maybe it was Glenn.
I’m all for “messaging” when running a campaign for elected office. The idea of having surrogates and your supporters parroting the talking points consistently, with no room for wedges to be inserted and breaks to form in the message is a noble goal. That is kind of the game that is played between the press and a campaign, staying on message, pounding home your themes and not getting distracted from the “message” of the day, week or entire campaign. I’m totally down with that concept. When it comes to governing a country, I’m not such a huge fan of that process. Ronald Reagan and his puppet-masters had it down to a science and in my idealistic head, it was maddening. There was no transparency, there was no window into that administration, only what we and the media were spoon fed. Some in the media pushed back against it, pointing out to their readers and viewers that it was happening. But those were much different times in the media.
Candidate Clinton adopted a lot of that mentality even with all the distractions he had to fight back. They stuck to their “It’s the economy stupid” theme and just kept driving it home to a big win in 1992. The comeback kid confirmed that in elections, you have to stick to your message and pound it relentlessly. In thinking back to the Clinton presidency, it occurs to me that they, like Reagan and Bush 1, brought that into the Whitehouse with them.
The Obama campaign and candidate Obama showed great discipline with their messaging during the campaign, but promised an era of transparency in the Whitehouse. The two concepts don’t necessarily go hand in hand. The recent “messaging” problem that many in the press and blogosphere are accusing the Whitehouse of in the wake of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden on Sunday, to me is because of that transparency. I’m glad that the Whitehouse didn’t clamp down and make everyone come out like robots and repeat the same “message”. Instead, the Whitehouse released an intense and not necessarily flattering photo of the situation room during a very tense moment. We saw a room full of people who were all watching the same thing, but not necessarily all seeing the same thing or interpreting it the same way.
Each one of the people in that room and then their staffs have different perspectives and perceptions of what happened. With transparency in the Whitehouse and nothing to hide, these people were allowed to talk to the media. Why are the details so different depending on who said it? I equate it very much to someone whispering something at one end of a table and by the time it makes it to the other end, the story has changed wildly. That’s what happens when humans share information. It’s why outlets like Fox News purposely feed misinformation into the public to be spread around, they understand that idea and use it for their evil purposes.
So as I watch the details of the operation get revised and corrected, with one person contradicting someone else and no clear, repeated message coming from the Whitehouse, in many ways I’m glad. If we just look at one instance in the Bush administration that backfired on them monumentally, partly because of the “messaging” idea and partly because they were fucking propagandists trying to justify their stupid fucking wars and keep the cheerleaders for their venture on the sidelines with their pom poms. The instance was the killing of Pat Tillman. If you want to know the history of that one, go here. The Bush Administration picked their message, a manufactured cover story, and they ran with it. As anyone with a brain knows, lies beget lies. One lie usually leads to many other lies to cover the first one.
Now, with a situation that is developing, with details being revealed from many sources, would it be better for the Whitehouse to immediately concoct a “message” for the masses, even as the details are still emerging. Or how about clamping down on anyone saying anything until those details are clear, then the press would spend their time pounding on the door of the press room, writing conspiracy stories about why they aren’t telling us the details and thus tainting any “message” that eventually comes out. Transparency is a messy business, folks. Letting officials and staffers speak out with all their flaws in perceptions and interpretations will cause some contradictions, revisions and people walking back things when the actual details and evidence comes along. It may look haphazard and incompetent, but as someone who likes the idea of the Whitehouse allowing information to flow to the public, I’ll take that confusion in a heartbeat over the lock-step messaging that took a brave man like Pat Tillman and used him for a “message” that was consistent at first, but went on to hurt a man’s family and our country for years to come.
I’m glad that information is flowing about the operation to capture/kill Osama bin Laden, even if it isn’t so neat and tidy and wrapped up with a nice bow.