January 13, 2013

War and Justice Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise

War invites chaos. Sometimes the dead in war are soldiers, who may or may not have had a fighting chance. Often enough the dead are dead for arbitrary reasons having nothing to do with their fitness for or their deployment in battle. They are those, never adequately accounted for, who unfortunately chance to die in war. War's murderousness transcends its warriors, enlists mistakes and overzealousness and the unthinking catholicity of ferocity for which the male human is so justly renowned, in its service, to convincingly destroy.

Bradley Manning released a helicopter gunship video documenting the slaughter of a bunch of people on the ground in Iraq, one such incident encouraged by war there. The victims were harmless people in retrospect, a couple of them worked for the Reuters news agency. Chaos is no respecter of war's aims, a clean kill, a chestful of medals, a quick successful campaign. Chaos undercuts all rationales when it comes, and it always comes when called in war.

Bradley Manning also released to the world a cache of diplomatic cables sent between its overseas posts and the State Department, situation reports and chitchat from stations in Tripoli and Baghdad and La Paz and all the where else on the globe the United States has itself positioned these days. It is claimed that the revelations contained in the cables from North Africa helped fuel the destabilizations of the Arab Spring.

Bradley Manning was apprehended and has been subjected to a measure of torture, well within the range of cruel and unusual, during his months of confinement awaiting trial. The judge in his case, Colonel Denise Lind, recognizing this slight, recently authorized a reduction of three and three quarters months in the length of any sentence imposed on Manning, ruling that there was no intent to punish behind the military's admittedly cruel and unusual behavior.


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