Monday, September 12, 2016

Military's Accountability To The Voter

We see many conservatives militating against the Wikileaks project. They are not being true to the ethic of conservatism. Conservatives believe – or claim to believe – in making the government accountable to the voter. The military is a part of the government. Which means that it, too, must be held accountable to the voter.

Now I can think of any number of reasons why somebody may dislike Julian Assange. But I see no reason to dislike Bradley Manning. In many respects he is a true American patriot, who informed the voter about what the American government was doing with his money – and faced dreadful consequences as a result. So that while Mr. Assange remains living comfortably in an embassy, Bradley Manning is getting the worst of it. He is the true hero in this situation.

The conservatives need to decide whether they want the government accountable to the voter or whether they do not want the government accountable to the voter. They need to decide whether to apply to the military the same scrutiny as they apply to the Department of Education and the EPA, or whether to deny scrutiny of the Department of Education and the EPA as they seek to deny the military. It is either one or the other.

As for the American libertarians, if they truly believe in liberty, they will be protecting people's liberties from all entities that infringe on such things, whether these be public or private. There are any number of private entities – from organized crime to corrupt networks in law and medicine to communities where men like to rape their children and batter their wives – that violate people's rights in America to a far greater extent than is allowed the federal government. While the libertarian sees all-too-well the potentials for corruption and tyranny in the federal government, he overlooks similar potentials in private entities; and that makes a mockery of his efforts.

The military is a part of the government; and if the government should be scrutinized, then so should the military. No gain is achieved by torturing people or shooting unarmed civilians from gunships. The military must be disciplined so that it does not do such things; and if it itself fails to correct for such potentials, then the voter must do the job instead.

Any organization – and any group – is capable of a phenomenon that in psychology is known as groupthink. They all start thinking the same way and reinforce one another in their errors. One possible error that comes from this is deciding that it is above the law. I have seen this done on the Internet; I have seen this done in small towns; I have seen this done everywhere. If the military gets so isolated in its groupthink that it thinks it rightful to slaughter unarmed civilians at taxpayer expense, then this potential needs to be checked from entities external to the military; and if some socially conscious hackers do this, then they are doing the right thing.

Is Julian Assange a jerk? Probably. But Bradley Manning is not. He is a much truer American patriot than anyone howling for the head of Julian Assange. He realized that the military was in the wrong, and he has been facing horrible punishment for his patriotism and courage.

The military was sent to Iraq to dispose of Saddam Hussein. They betrayed the voter's trust, and made Americans look like jerks around the world, by doing things that are wrong by any standard. It is legitimate to fight enemy combatants; it is not legitimate to kill more civilians than were killed by Saddam Hussein.

These kinds of situations can be avoided – and should be avoided – by having ombudsmen in the military. These people should be there to check whatever ruinous groupthink develops in the military and remind the military of what it is there to do. The military is there to accomplish a mission. It is not there to go hunting innocent people or act like a bunch of creeps. And if it chances to forget such a thing, then there need to be people to remind it.

I do not care what happens to Julian Assange. He is not the hero in this situation; Bradley Manning is. If the military forgets what it is there for and goes out hunting civilians and killing more people than Saddam Hussein, then the voter and the taxpayer deserve to know about this. These are far greater violations than anything we see with anything done by EPA, Department of Education or FDA. And a person who truly believes in government accountability to the voter and the taxpayer will recognize this and act accordingly.


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