Support Bradley Manning or Straight People Will Take Back Gay Marriage


Manning is a traitor with blood on his hands.

If you condone his crimes because he is homosexual you are less than scum.
The troll hates him so he must be good.
What bullshit. How, exactly, has Manning advanced LGBT rights to such a degree that he should be honored as marshal? You may or may not agree with his disclosures in Wikileaks, but his sexual orientation alone and the fact that he's using DADT as an excuse for his actions in no way qualifies him to be a marshal at Pride. Let him do something that actually helps advance LGBT rights.
Yikes. Chastising African-American soldiers in the Civil War? Wow. Yeah, fighting to help free your relatives from slavery, knowing that you would be given no quarter, and executed if captured, what fools...
I can't imagine how anyone could fail to see the incredible courage of those African-Americans who fought in the Civil War.
Though perhaps he is confused which war he is talking about, since they gained the right to vote in 1870... Though what war 130 years earlier he might be talking about, I am at a loss.
Keith Haring as an appeal to hipsters? Is this 1985? And what does Keith Haring's work have to do with Equal Marriage?

Anachronistic sloganeering aside, the Stranger staff have written on Bradley Manning's behalf, and Dan has discussed Manning in his weekly podcast pretty extensively.

What is Dave Patten doing attacking an alternative weekly publication in Seattle for a decision made by a parade committee in San Francisco? Does he think SF Pride is engineered by the alternative media in WA state? I'm surprised he didn't go after the Portland Mercury, since Oregon at least shares a border with California.

Dave Patten writes as if the entire GLBT community everywhere was something monolithic, as if all of us made a unanimous decision regarding what SF does for it's parade. Further, he doesn't bother to get to know or understand anything about the GLBT community, thinking that by using a slogan relating to an unrelated issue from 30 years ago that this is some magical password that will grant him the attention of the big monolithic gay world. While he's at it, if suppose he could pull out a few quotes from the movie Milk and accuse the Washington Blade of betraying the memory of Sean Penn.
From Greenwald's column:

Yet another edgy, interesting, creative, independent event has been degraded and neutered into a meek and subservient ritual that must pay homage to the nation's most powerful entities and at all costs avoid offending them in any way.

How true it is.
@3, when did Manning "use DADT as an excuse for his actions?" He's been pretty clear about why he did what he did.

And whether or not you think he should be marshal of the parade, the statement by Lisa L Williams, that Manning "placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform," could have come from any right-wing hack. More than cowardly and ignorant, it was dishonest.
Boy, what will they say if they find out the Boston Bombers liked to dress up in drag?
The letter is way over the top That being said, Bradley Manning is a hero and a true patriot. The folks in San Francisco are cowards. History will show that Manning is a true patriot - despite the misinformation being spread about his case (see Commenter #1).
Manning wasn't arrested and made a plea deal because of his sexual identity. He wasn't demoted because of his sexual identity. Pfc Bradley Manning was charged and demoted because he downloaded and release all that was on a classified but with access to 800k users network.

He released everything from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. However what he did should not be celebrated as much as castigated for his recklessness.

He is not a traitor, but he certainly is not a hero either.
Manning is not a fucking "hero." He knowingly leaked protected information in direct violation of his job IN THE MILITARY. He's a fucking moron. If he didn't want this to happen he shouldn't have been such a fucking dumbfuck at such a high level.
I would have no qualms with Bradley Manning if he simply leaked the information about the Iraq military cover ups of civilian deaths. But when he decided to release a quarter million diplomatic cables, he lost any pretense of doing something for the greater good, IMO.
I largely agree with @10.

Manning is not a hero. And being gay is only peripherally related to his charges.

If he had selectively released information about a few specific bad actions, like the Bagdad airstrike video, then I would be fully behind him. He'd be a hero like other whistleblowers before him. But that's not what he did. He did a massive indiscriminate dump of a ton of classified information. He was careless and reckless. I don't think much actual harm was done by his actions, but that was only through dumb luck. Releasing a ton of classified info without bothering to screen it or edit it first could have been disastrous, even if he meant well (which I think he did, in his own weird way).

I think the treatment he has received since being arrested is appalling and disgraceful, and the handling of his trial a travesty. I have a fair amount of sympathy for him and his plight of being closeted while in the military. I hope he eventually gets a relatively light sentence and released.

But I can't completely excuse and support his reckless disregard for the damage he might have done. He isn't a hero, and doesn't deserve to be the grand marshal of any parade.
Manning had a duty, as a member of the military, to follow his concerns up the chain of command. He could have served his time and written a book. Instead, knowing full well the consequences of his actions, he played hero. Betraying his oath and his country in the process. Boo-fucking-hoo.
Oh, please. The thing Bradley Manning did to get himself in trouble has nothing whatsoever to do with gay marriage. Learn to make a coherent argument that doesn't make you sound like a paranoid moron, Dave.
Manning had a duty, as a member of the military, to follow his concerns up the chain of command.

Because that's, traditionally, how government corruption is uncovered, right?

Manning didn't leak anything as classified as what Daniel Ellsberg (who helped to end the Viet Nam war and thinks Manning is a hero) leaked.

Just because the government labels a file as "classified," it doesn't mean that it should be classified. More often these files should be labelled "embarrassing."

No doubt some of you here would rather not know about some of the things that Manning made public...…

...but thank goodness not every member of the military is a conscienceless, robotic loyalist.
I've also enclosed an invoice for my past support of gay marriage. Please have all the gays come over to my house for yard work every Saturday. Thank you in advance for the prompt payment.
@16: whether or not you think Manning is a hero - or a traitor - is simply beside the point. He has done nothing, absolutely nothing to advance LGBT rights and therefore should not have been chosen as a marshal. Let that honor be reserved for those who have achieved something towards making life better for LGBT. Pride isn't just about being liberal, or conservative, or corporate, or socialist, or kinky, or vanilla - and every year people piss and moan about how Pride is going to the dogs because it's becoming too liberal, or too conservative, or too corporate or too whatever. Screw that. March behind your own banner and speak your mind, but recognize that you are just one little piece of this very diverse community. The marshal is a position of honor for those who have helped us ALL, not just someone who advanced a particular political ideology that has little to do with the LGBT struggle.
Manning's mistake was he didn't release the information while a Republican was in the White House...he did it when Democrat was President so he shouldn't expect any support from the Stranger
@13, that was great.
Fuck the Guardian. It's the Keith Olbermann of newspapers.
It's not all cut and dried. If you've been following the news the folks in San Francisco are none too happy about Bradley Manning being named a Marshall of their gay pride parade because they feel he put service members at risk including gay service members. While I don't hold to that belief many do.
Fuck that Goddamned traitor. I hope I live long enough to see him hanged.

Probably won't, though.

What will Breanna wear to her hanging?
Maybe he leaked the documents because he heard that the guys in prison are GGG.
Manning is a hero.
Bradley Manning is not a hero. He deliberately took action to damage his country, just because he could. And being gay has absolutely nothing to do with it. Being a sexual minority doesn't get you a pass from doing things that hurt others or the interests of your country. Our criticism's got nothing to do with being "obedient". It's more like we're patriotic and we're not very pleased when someone from our own team sabotages our efforts.

And he has also done nothing for gay rights. The only reason to have him as marshal is to make a splashy and unnecessary political point. Now we're supposed to support every GLBT out there regardless of what he/she has done, just because he/she is GLBT? Because if you disagree with one famous gay man then gay marriage will be in danger. Please.

All this doctrinal liberal orthodoxy just irks people off.
Manning is a hero.
@28: Agreed. I don't appreciate people trying to hijack Pride, whether it's for antiwar politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict, or simply AT&T trying to lobby against the latest telecommunications bill. Stop trying to co-opt Pride for this crap. We have enough baggage just trying to be ourselves in the face of right-wing homophobia without taking on every other political cause in the world too.
@29: hero or traitor is irrelevant. Organize your own fucking parade and stop trying to hijack Pride.
Bradley Manning is gay? Regardless, the trial of Bradley Manning is not an LGBT issue.
@28, Floater wrote, "[Manning] deliberately took action to damage his country, just because he could." The impression I get is that at great personal risk, he exposed wrongdoing because he thought that doing so was the righteous thing to do. Sometimes the truth hurts. Don't shoot the messenger.
About six hours ago, Susie Bright wrote:

I'm a veteran SF Pride Grand Marshal. I was elated when I heard when Bradley Manning had been nominated.

I was shocked and sick to my stomach to hear this statement that his place had been "revoked."

Are you kidding? All kinds of controversial and cutting edge activists have been Grand Marshals— it's not the Pentagon's choice. It's not about picking some namby-pamby whom everyone agrees is irrelevant and bland.

SF Pride recognizes people who've MADE A SACRIFICE for social justice— and if Bradley Manning isn't that kind of hero, I don't know who is.
See also: "Bradley Manning is off limits at SF Gay Pride parade, but corporate sleaze is embraced; A seemingly trivial controversy reveals quite a bit about pervasive political values," by Glenn Greenwald,…

I originally had no intention of writing about this episode, but the more I discovered about it, the more revealing it became. So let's just consider a few of the points raised by all of this. First, while even a hint of support for Manning will not be tolerated, there is a long roster of large corporations serving as the event's sponsors who are welcomed with open arms.


So apparently, the very high-minded ethical standards of Lisa L Williams and the SF Pride Board apply only to young and powerless Army Privates who engage in an act of conscience against the US war machine, but instantly disappear for large corporations and banks that hand over cash. What we really see here is how the largest and most corrupt corporations own not just the government but also the culture. Even at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, once an iconic symbol of cultural dissent and disregard for stifling pieties, nothing can happen that might offend AT&T and the Bank of America. The minute something even a bit deviant takes place (as defined by standards imposed by America's political and corporate class), even the SF Gay Pride Parade must scamper, capitulate, apologize, and take an oath of fealty to their orthodoxies (we adore the military, the state, and your laws). And, as usual, the largest corporate factions are completely exempt from the strictures and standards applied to the marginalized and powerless. Thus, while Bradley Manning is persona non grata at SF Pride, illegal eavesdropping telecoms, scheming banks, and hedge-fund purveryors of the nation's worst right-wing agitprop are more than welcome.

Second, the authoritarian, state-and-military-revering mentality pervading Williams' statement is striking. It isn't just the imperious decree that "even a hint of support" for Manning "will not be tolerated", though that is certainly creepy. Nor is it the weird announcement that the wrongdoer "has been disciplined". Even worse is the mindless embrace of the baseless claims of US military officials (that Manning "placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform") along with the supremely authoritarian view that any actions barred by the state are, ipso facto, ignoble and wrong. Conduct can be illegal and yet still be noble and commendable: see, for instance, Daniel Ellsberg, or most of the leaders of the civil rights movement in the US. Indeed, acts of civil disobedience and conscience by people who risk their own interests to battle injustices are often the most commendable acts. Equating illegal behavior with ignominious behavior is the defining mentality of an authoritarian - and is particularly notable coming from what was once viewed as a bastion of liberal dissent.

Third, when I wrote several weeks ago about the remarkable shift in public opinion on gay equality, I noted that this development is less significant than it seems because the cause of gay equality poses no real threat to elite factions or to how political and economic power in the US are distributed. If anything, it bolsters those power structures because it completely and harmlessly assimilates a previously excluded group into existing institutions and thus incentivizes them to accommodate those institutions and adopt their mindset. This event illustrates exactly what I meant.

While some of the nation's most corrupt corporations are welcome to fly their flag over the parade, consider what Manning - for whom "even a hint of support will not be tolerated" - actually did. His leak revealed all sorts of corruption, deceit and illegality on the part of the world's most powerful corporations. They led to numerous journalism awards for WikiLeaks. Even Bill Keller, the former Executive Editor of the New York Times who is a harsh WikiLeaks critic, credited those leaks with helping to spark the Arab Spring, the greatest democratic revolution the world has seen in decades. Multiple media accounts describe how the cables documenting atrocities committed by US troops in Iraq prevented the Malaki government from allowing US troops to stay beyond the agreed-to deadline: i.e., helped end the Iraq war by thwarting Obama's attempts to prolong it. For all of that, Manning was selected by Guardian readers as the 2012 Person of the Year, while former Army Lt. (and 2009 SF Parade Marshal) Dan Choi said yesterday:

As we move forward as a country, we need truth in order to gain justice, you can't have justice without the whole truth . . . So what [Manning] did as a gay American, as a gay soldier, he stood for integrity, I am proud of him."

Well, if Dave Patten's goal was to get everyone talking about Bradley Manning, he succeeded.

The fact that he patronized the GLBT community is completely lost in this disunion. To hear you lot describe it, SF Pride doesn't have a damn thing to do with GLBT people. It's "cutting edge"-you know, like Burning Man! Or it's about the military. The fact that gay people show up for gay pride is just sort of incidental, right?

Oh fuck you all. This is our goddamn parade, and I'm sick of you fuckers trying to hijack everything about our culture. This isn't Coachella, and this isn't A Salute to the Troops. The is GLBT PRIDE, you stupid fuckers!

Will all the fucking hipsters and nationalists, all the Dave Pattens who think his threat to revoke our civil rights because he can't make his political statement during a celebration of GAY CULTURE is sufficient reason to jack our civil rights that we fought so hard for. Fuck all of you.

Go get your own goddamn parades. You already own everything else. It's Straight Pride Month all year round. This is our one little bit that's ours, and now you think you have the right to dictate to us how we ought to run it?


And no, that's not the name of an Icelandic volcano, so don't even ask.
@35: marching and sponsorship are different than being a marshal. Anybody can march under their own banner as long as they support the goals of LGBT rights. Ditto sponsorship - it takes money to make something as big as SF Pride happen, and if corporate sponsors want to show their support for their LGBT employee groups then more power to them. They're part of the community too and if you don't like it or if doesn't meet Greenwald's standard for ideological purity, too fucking bad. But the marshal is a symbol of what the parade as a whole stands for, and it damn well better be about honoring people who have done something significant to advance LGBT rights - which BM hasn't.
As long as SF Pride and Seattle Pride are choke full of corporate sponsors...well that's all that matters.

Pride stopped being relevant when companies who's stock is traded on Wall Street became the biggest financial support of Pride. It may as well be SeaFair at this point.
SF Pride's cowardess is embarrassing.

Gold Star Gay
@37, Dr. Z. wrote, "the marshal [...] damn well better be about honoring people who have done something significant to advance LGBT rights."

@34, I quoted veteran SF Pride Grand Marshall Susie Bright as writing, "SF Pride recognizes people who've MADE A SACRIFICE for social justice." Manning clearly fits that definition.
@40: social justice, arguably. LGBT rights, no.
Sorry, but I don't see what all the fuss about him being a marshall is about in the first place. It's not like they're going to let him out of Leavenworth to attend the event or something. In fact, he's never going to leave Leavenworth for any reason (except in a body bag).
@42: The big fuss is, I suspect, over fear of expressing dissent. SF Pride organizers are, I suspect, afraid of showing support for forcing transparency upon institutions that are secretly committing war crimes if those institutions are supported by the United States Government. Look at the hell the feds are putting Wikileaks through. Wikileaks are just a conduit. Manning, by his own admission, leaked classified information. It takes some courage to publicly announce support for shining light on U.S. war crimes. SF Pride seemingly haven't that courage.

Manning will leave Military Prison in 20 years time, (or 20 years time served, before the plea deal), He made a plea bargain agreement.
I'll admit to not being as up-to-date on all the lega wrangling as I could be. But, as of the last I heard, he had offered a limited plea agreement to a partial list of charges, which hadn't been accepted by the government yet. Therefore, he's still looking at life in prison. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
Speaking as a former closeted member of the Army, Manning is not a hero. People who think otherwise are generally people who love our country so much they want to see it burned in purifying fire rather than allowing it to continue being so "corrupted" from their ideals.

I have sympathy for how he's been treated, but none for how he got there.
Back when Wikileaks' Julian Assange was still under house arrest in London, before their court ruled illegally that he should be extradited for "questioning" (after the first court high justice questioned even that aspect of it), Chris Hedges came to Town Hall pushing his most recent book.

At the end-of-talk question session, a young fellow asked Mr. Hedges' opinion on Wikileaks and Assange, with the almost immediate eruption of mindless twittering and tittering among the limousine neoliberals in the audience.

Hedges soundly rebuked them in a most sarcastic and insulting manner, explainging that Wikileaks was about the last vestige of free press left in the West and in America today (none of the douchebaggers had ever bothered to go to and read any of the mulitnational-run State Department, of course!).

Pretty much the same in that great American hero and patriot, Bradley Manning's case, and explains why, with all the incredible amount of nefarious background of Ted Olson, all Olson has to do is agree with gay marriage, and all the neocon gaytards start gushing in their panties about him.

Truly, we live in the Age of the Douchetard in Amerika.
I see that guy's one of the Alex Jones-loving gay-haters on the cusp of extreme leftdom and the extreme right. There's such an incredible overlap on both batshitcrazy poles.
Everything is so goddamned black-and-white to some of you. Hero! Traitor! Set him free forever! Lock him up for rest of his life! Can't the truth lie in between these constructs without offending anyone's precious ideology? Can't he have been both noble and reckless? Can't he have been reckless without being a traitor? Can't civil or military disobedience be as purely patriotic as active duty? Can't good have come from dubious means?

The African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War didn't exactly have free agency in the matter, asshole. Not on either side.
@46: Pridge, instead of telling us about what other people think, could you tell us what you've obeserved and what you think? Do you think exposing war crimes is akin to burning the country in a purifying fire?
@50 - Did all of the classified info he released rise to the level of war crime? Because I'm not seeing that at all, therefore it seems like latching onto PFC Manning as some kind of hero is misguided and harmful. It's sad he's being used and held up as a martyr by those who hate the government.
I'm just home from a camping trip so I may have missed earlier coverage of this, but if this is the Stranger's first story on this issue, it is wildly misleading to show it through the lens of this angry ranting e-mail. You should follow the link to Greenwald's Guardian piece to understand the genuinely disturbing underlying story.

I certainly would not have faulted San Francisco Pride for not honoring Bradley Manning at the parade (his connection to gay rights is tangential at best). But their hysterical over-reaction in reversing their initial position - particularly the Orwellian statement that "even the hint of support [for Manning's actions] will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride" - is reprehensible.

It seems to me that Pride is all about celebrating individuals who are stigmatized by a conformist society. For such an inherently radical group to wholeheartedly collaborate with the power structure in demonizing a rebellious individual is sad and frightening.
I have little to no opinion on how SF Pride runs their events, but I do think it's a little fucked up that advocacy for social justice isn't good enough for some people, that someone has to do something super awesome for gay people before they're allowed to "represent" us? Look at the marshals from last year. I love Sarah Silverman and Dot Jones but seriously, being beat up by your hetero husband on Glee doesn't make you a hero to gay people. Why does Bradley Manning get held to some "do something for gay people" standard that famous Hollywood people don't?
I totally disagree with SF Pride's decision, but this is one of the dumbest emails I've read. A threat to stop supporting gay marriage unless the "gay community" backs Pfc. Manning sounds like us supporting Palestinians' democratic rights as long as they vote for the people we want. (Not that rejecting Manning is anything like voting for Hamas.) Talk about in no way accepting gay people as gay for their own sake. Manipulative through and through. Dave does realize that gays are real people and not just archetypes, right?
Bradley Manning is a hero. To all you calling him a traitor or concern-trolling about which documents he leaked: You deserve the police state we will all be living in soon.
No, he is, by definition, a traitor. We can talk about whether what he did caused any real harm, but there's no debating the fact that he broke a very serious oath to his country. If you can't see that, then there's nothing to discuss with you.
Is it so bad to be a traitor to a government which actively suppresses horrific civilian murders that are funded by all of us without our knowledge or consent?
@57: Exactly. Fifty-Two-Eighty is just maintaining his mean-spirited, scornful, willfully ignorant Slog persona. I bet in real life he's sheepish, insecure, and socially awkward--whatcha wanna bet?
@52: "I'm just home from a camping trip so I may have missed earlier coverage of this, but if this is the Stranger's first story on this issue, it is wildly misleading to show it through the lens of this angry ranting e-mail"

You missed earlier coverage of this.

Let him be the grand marshal of the RCPs pride counter-parade. I agree with Susie Bright that the SF Pride committee should have more balls (as should most pride committees).

Manning as marshal would be an insult to the LGBT soldiers who didn't dishonor their country.
@57 -- Yes.

The US kills civilians. US citizens should know when we accidentally kill citizens and what we do to avoid killing citizens.

He's not a traitor for telling us the US kills citizens. He's not even a traitor for releasing thousands of documents he hadn't even bothered reading.

He's a traitor for releasing classified information that put his fellow soldiers directly in harms way.