just don't tell
By Diogenes ( articles ) | Aug 09, 2010
For about a week, America's mainstream media outlets ignored a story that was widely circulated in the British press: that Private Bradley Manning, the suspected source of the damaging Wikileak documents exposing American military policy in Afghanistan, is an "out" homosexual. Now the New York Times has finally acknowledged the story-- but with a twist. Rather than saying Manning's homosexual lifestyle had given him a track record of secretly defying military policies, the Times suggests just the opposite: that an oppressive military policy was a factor in his alienation.
Then he joined the Army, where, friends said, his social life was defined by the need to conceal his sexuality under "don't ask, don't tell" and he wasted brainpower fetching coffee for officers.
Ignore the second part of that sentence; Manning isn't exactly the first enlisted man ever assigned to boring duties. Ignore, too, the hint that he was intellectually superior to his commanding officers-- that too is a very familiar complaint. Concentrate instead on the idea that his social life was warped by his inability to reveal his sexual orientation. The Times is preparing readers to see Private Manning as a poster boy for allowing open homosexuality in the military ranks.
But here's the problem with that argument. From what we've already heard, Private Manning was openly homosexual in the military ranks. The Daily Telegraph reported:
Pictures on Mr. Manning's Facebook page include photos of him on school trips during his time in Wales and at a gay rights rally, where he is holding up a placard demanding equality on "the battlefield." [emphasis added]
It's going to be awfully tough to make this episode into an argument against the "don't ask, don't tell" policy-- not that the Times won't try. Nobody asked, but Manning told anyway.
The Telegraph report also calls attention to Manning's tag line:
"Take me for who I am, or face the consequences!"
The American military establishment is now facing the consequences. The New York Times isn't.
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