Courage to Resist   

by Brad Cotton  ( published Circleville Herald 6 Jan 2011)


U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is being tortured for telling the truth as his conscience dictated. Private  Manning is being held in solitary confinement under constant fluorescent light, no view of the outside world,  no human contact for 23 hours out of 24. Such conditions have been noted by medical authorities to be destructive of one’s physical and mental health.

Is it Al-Qaeda that is torturing Pfc. Manning ? If it were Al-Qaeda, the right wing echo chamber of FOX-Hannity-Beck-Limbaugh- Palin would be all over the story. Rather, it is the U.S. Army holding Manning in such conditions for the crime of having a conscience. Manning released through Wikileaks video of an October 2007 attack by a U.S.  Apache  helicopter on unarmed Iraqi civilians  killing 11 and wounding  several  children.  Private Manning felt we needed to see and know the real horror of the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mainstream media, faulted by the right for alleged liberal bias, has not covered the Manning story either. Most television stations, large newspapers are owned by megacorporations  and thus  play down stories that might interrupt the cash flow by angering the powers that be. A prime example is the media’s unquestioning swallowing and regurgitating up on prime time the Bush administration’s mendacious case for war prior to the Iraq invasion. Phil Donahue, a decades  long  staple at NBC was fired for questioning the Bush spin of the “facts”  in early 2003. An internal NBC memo relates that Donahue may be a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.” Donahue later produced an excellent documentary “Body of War” detailing the Bush administrations manipulation of the “facts” and the media in preparation for our strike-first invasion of Iraq: arguably one of the moral low points in our history. 

The Cheney/Rove/Bush  regime (listed in order of true power) then sought to destroy Joe Wilson and wife Valerie Plame. Wilson published a New York Times column July 2003 detailing the absence of any data suggesting that Saddam had attempted to pursue yellowcake uranium from Nigeria. Such claim was the central point in Mr. Bush’s  January 2003 State of the Union address demanding war. Mr. Bush had in fact been told before the address that the yellowcake intelligence was false and not to use it. As Mr. Bush’s  planned  speech climaxed with this false claim for war, he used it anyway. Now thousands of U.S. troops are dead, tens of thousands wounded, up to a million Iraqis dead, billions upon billions upon billions of deficit dollars absolutely wasted. “Scooter” Libby, Mr. Cheney’s Chief of Staff, took the bullet on this attack on Wilson/Plame. Convicted of perjury, Libby protected masters Cheney/Rove/Bush.

We need, our democracy needs whistleblowers, as well as a media with the guts to challenge spoon fed information from corporations, Wall Street, the Pentagon. President Obama , although he is now the architect of the wrongful occupation of Afghanistan, as well as Private Manning’s  captor ironically noted “Often the best source of information about waste, fraud and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of patriotism … should be encouraged.” For a chilling account of how far corporate America will go in pursuit of profits over our very health read former Cigna health insurance insider Wendell Potter’s book “ Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on how Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans.”

December 16th 131 members of Veterans for Peace and sympathizers chained themselves to the White House fence resisting the ongoing immoral U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. There was almost no media coverage. Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the “Pentagon Papers” containing inside Pentagon reports of the wrongful U.S. prosecution of the Vietnam War, was among the arrested. Ellsberg was one of the original victims of Nixon’s White House “plumbers”, before they were caught in the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate . Without Ellsberg, without a strong and independent media, Nixon would have gotten away with it.

Honor those with the courage to resist. Along with those who brought the 1968 My Lai massacre of Vietnamese civilians by stressed U.S. troops to our headlines , we honor  Warrant Officer  Hugh “Buck” Thompson. Thompson landed his helicopter  at My Lai and aimed his machine guns at U.S. troops, thus saving the lives of a number of women and children. Pfc. Bradley Manning, “Buck” Thompson, Daniel Ellsberg, Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, Wendell Potter, all the members of Veterans for Peace, Courage to Resist, and Iraq Veterans Against the War; these are American heroes.  Sign the petition to free patriot Bradley Manning at  Join Veterans for Peace and the Circleville Quakers at “Honk for Peace” in front of the Pickaway County Courthouse  this January 7th and every first Friday of the month  at 4:00 p.m.


Brad Cotton is a member of Veterans for Peace, a contributor to Courage to Resist and a member of Physicians for a National Health Program.