Yeah, right dipshit.
unhappycamper (1000+ posts) Sat Jul-31-10 07:54 AM
Original message The Heroism of PFC Bradley Manning
The Heroism of PFC Bradley Manning
by Evan Knappenberger
Published on Friday, July 30, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
At the US Army’s Intelligence Training Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 2003 and 2004, our first term paper was assigned to be on the military intelligence hero of our choice. The museum there had several dozen to choose from, though I forget now who I wrote about. Aside from the occasional joke (Isn’t M.I. an oxymoron?) I don’t think I got much out of it. So here I am: seven years, one degree, and a hell of a lot of heartache later, re-writing the paper, which I intend to submit in its entirety to the commander of that school.
I am writing today about PFC Bradley Manning, and why he is my new M.I. hero. Mr. Manning has the distinction of being the prominent “wiki-leaker” suspected of the 92,000 document upload featured in the news this last week. I look up to Mr. Manning specifically because he had the guts to do what I didn’t: expose the lie that is war.
My proudest moment as a US Army intelligence analyst came when I was in Iraq. I did a comprehensive study of civilian sectarian violence in and around Baghdad. Roughly a few weeks before the Lancet published a study that estimated more than 550,000 Iraqis had been killed between 2003 and 2006, I had corroborative, classified intelligence to the same effect. After first mapping out a GIS database of all insurgent weapons caches, findings of bodies by US forces, and reports of kidnapping, I made a series of overlays that gave each 50-meter area its own designation: weapon cache site, insurgent checkpoint, body dumping ground, or sectarian-contested area. In this way, using empirical classified data, I correctly predicted a dozen sites where armed militants were manning checkpoints and kidnapping civilians. The cache report also led, simultaneously, to the largest find of illicit explosives to that date in Iraq: nearly a thousand artillery rounds piled in a junkyard north of Baghdad.
After completing this phase of the study, I was surprised to learn that the Rand Corporation was being contracted by the Department of Defense to do a similar GIS study at the cost of several million dollars. Intrigued, I found a copy on the army’s secret computer network, the SIPRNET, and was disgusted with the obviousness of the results. The Rand’s expensive product was very simply a satellite image of the main highway in Iraq, with a few highlighted areas named “IED Hotspots”. This was nothing that a few hours on the ground wouldn’t tell any soldier in the army; but somehow, someone behind a desk in DC was making tons of money off it.
The next phase of the study was kind of an accident. I had the unfortunate experience of being assigned to guard the base for 97 nights on a metal tower behind the burning cesspools of the American occupiers’ filth. Several times, I was shot at on this guard duty, late at night. Once or twice we were mortared as well. After returning to my job as an analyst, I half-jokingly set myself the task of finding these attacks in the database, where they should have been after my reports. Surprise: they were not there. Thus began my next project: determining the actual extent of the databases’ failure.
Mr. Manning, another "Hero" of DU.