Letters to the editor for Aug. 14, 2013

Written by Union Democrat staff August 14, 2013 04:00 pm

Bradley Manning and the National Security debate

To the Editor:

Re: The National Security secrecy culture is tripping over itself in the Manning case

The New York Times’ front page showed a diminutive Pfc. Bradley Manning, recently convicted of espionage, in a crisp military uniform. All around and towering over him were plainclothes men in nondescript baseball caps with holstered handguns on display. Why weren’t those uniformed military police? This was, after all, a military tribunal. The photograph begs the question, “Can’t the Army secure it’s own prisoners?” The prisoner parade lacked the decorum necessary to validate the U.S. Army’s justice process in the public eye. 

Just who were these unidentifiable goons in civvies and who do they answer to? It reminds one of newsreels of Saddam Hussein’s hanging, when a rag tag group of scowling, unshaven characters in leather jackets and polo shirts lurked around in the background.

This display reinforces the citizenry’s uncertainties about who is in charge and accountable in this hypervigilant NSA era. Freeman Dyson, a brilliant nuclear physicist once said, “Secrecy hides failure and exaggerates success.”

John H. Kramer

Vallecito