Americans 30 and under most likely have limited memory of the beginnings of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. They weren’t born while America was involved in the Vietnam War. Secrecy and Constitutional violations are angering young and older Americans alike. There is a gain in the support of Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.
I was a senior in high school when the Vietnam War began to escalate. President Lyndon B. Johnson attempted to hide much of the reality and brutality of the seemingly never ending conflict. Thanks to reporters who were in the battlefields, we learned some of the truth.
Those of us in our teens and 20’s were angry. Our brothers, cousins, and friends were dying, or coming home seriously maimed, and we were uncertain of what they were fighting for; and we asked why they were forced to suffer death or severe injury. All we were ever told was that the North Vietnamese were communists, and we were maintaining freedom for the South. Whatever that meant.
And we had mixed emotions as we watched the debacle of what was our abandonment of South Vietnam. We were pleased our friends and family were coming home, but the disgraceful film of how we left a country and its people behind with little recourse, was appalling.
When we were told by President George W. Bush that we were going to Afghanistan to capture the evil leader who ordered an attack on innocent people on 911, he received the support of a nation. Sometime later, when we learned that he had been found near Tora Bora, but our forces were ordered to stand down, we asked why. The truth was that Bush did not want to offend Pakistan by attacking Osama Bin Laden where he was. He had promised us that he would ‘get’ him wherever he was. He lied.
General Colin Powell sat before the United Nations to justify the coming invasion of Iraq, claiming they had ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ or WMD’s. Bush told Congress and the people of the United States during his ‘State of the Union’ address, that our government confirmed that Iraq possessed WMD’s, and with the assistance of al-Qaeda, they were planning to use them against the United States.
They lied. We invaded a sovereign country under false pretenses, while many Americans cheered as they watched “shock and awe” on television. I did not.
Our entire government thrives on secrecy, and controls the population through deceit.
There is no doubt that PFC Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden took oaths before embarking upon their chosen forms of employment. By revealing secrets they were sworn to keep, they broke those oaths, and will suffer the consequences of their actions. Manning is on trial for treason at the writing of this article.
The farce that was Iraq, the destruction of a country, the loss of American lives and the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis, will forever define America as a country covered in shame. The passage of information about the reality of events in Iraq to WikiLeaks was illegal, but the right thing to do. He was following a higher calling. He believed in truth and morality.
In both of President Obama’s campaigns, he promised government ‘transparency.’ He lied.
Edward Snowden revealed to the United Kingdom’s “Guardian” newspaper, that an ultra-secretive project called PRISM existed. Its purpose was not to ‘spy’ on possible terrorists, its purpose was to gather information about every citizen in the United States who uses a cell phone, or the internet. This program is in violation of the fourth amendment, and it is just plain wrong.
Many in federal government are outraged, or are feigning outrage, that Snowden would reveal this closely guarded secret. Snowden gave up a comfortable life to bring truth to the American people, and he is willing to suffer the consequences of his actions.
Snowden and Manning are gaining the support of millions in the United States, and throughout the world. Count me among them. I’m tired of being lied to.
The Guardian Express