Essayist, lawyer, and PULSE contributor Chase Madar’s much-awaited book The Passion of Bradley Manning: The Story of the Suspect behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History is out this month from O/R Books.
The following is an excerpt from Kelly B. Vlahos’ recent review of the book at Antiwar.com:
It might be too easy to invoke Manning as martyr two days after Palm Sunday, when Christians observe the betrayal, humiliation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago. While it is not our intention to compare Manning to the Christian Son of God, who according to Gospel, rose from the dead, humanity’s sins forgiven, on Easter Sunday, author Chase Madar lays out a deft argument that Manning has indeed sacrificed everything for his country’s sins in his aptly entitled new book, The Passion of Bradley Manning.
“I wanted to write a full-out defense of his alleged deeds — a political and moral defense,” Madar told Antiwar.com in a recent interview. And he has. As Madar points out, there are “many people in history who have died and sacrificed for their cause.” The Passion makes an industrious case that Manning did what he did for a cause: to give the people the information they need and deserve about what their government is doing in their name. Transparency — Robin Hood style.
“What I find remarkable and praiseworthy is, he was not — despite having this terrible time getting bullied and messed with constantly — leaking these things to get revenge,” Madar said. “He was a true believer in patriotic duty and military service, I think. If you look at the chat logs, he was very clear about his motives for leaking, that this was what the public should know, so that we as a country could make better decisions.”
“Transparency in statecraft,” is what Madar called it in the book, and it “was not invented by Julian Assange. It is a longstanding American tradition that dates back to the first years of the republic.”
While the government and the mainstream media have endeavored to make Manning an emotionally conflicted young man whose alleged transgressions followed years of peer abuse and tortured sexual identity, Madar stands to make the case that Manning’s journey began with a scrawny bespectacled kid who questioned his teachers, toward disillusionment and a tortuous struggle with the truth, and at last, walking in the footsteps of great whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg (who is a fan and supporter of Manning’s).
In other words, where the establishment sees a freak and a miscreant, Madar offers to us an American hero.
“We need to know what our government’s commitments are. Our foreign policy elites have clearly demonstrated they cannot be left to their own devices …Thanks to the whistleblowing revelations attributed to Bradley Manning, we have a far clearer picture of what our country is doing,” Madar writes, going so far as to say this was a “gift to the republic,” deserving of a Medal of Freedom, and not the 50 years-to-life sentence (which Manning could receive) in a federal brig.
“Releasing the war logs and the diplomatic cables was a practical solution to a severe problem of government obfuscation…government secrecy and distortion have played a major role in this blood-soaked mess” that is the war overseas, Madar argues in the book. “Only with some knowledge can the course be corrected.”
Click here to read the review in its entirety at Antiwar.com.