Saturday, November 5, 2016

Why Did Pfc. Chelsea Manning Divulge Classified Information?

Normally, I am reserved about my military experience.  I did serve my country (U.S.A) for a brief time 1996-2000.  I allude to different parts of my service in posts for education and contrails.  Recently, I ran across the following Tweet on Twitter shown below:

Below, I will give a brief commentary (and I mean brief) to state my view of the contents of the original article.  Despite the tragedy of Pfc. Manning second attempt at suicide, a couple of remarks regarding her prior behavior are in order.

There Is No "i" In The Word "Team"

Anyone who has served their country in the military knows that the teams mission is essential.  Therefore, the team is super important to keep in mind when seeking out to complete a given mission.  The team concept is unparalleled in any other organization.  The effectiveness of the military is unparalleled too.

Each of us who has served our country in this capacity is therefore greatly aware of the tragedy that the case of Pfc. Manning presents.  Similar to the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, soldiers around the world are asking themselves the following question:

Why did Pfc. Manning decide to release (illegally) classified information (videos, documents, etc.)?

Especially, when such a release would put the lives of soldiers and diplomats in great harm?

The overarching concept of a team is that no individual exists.  Each is an important member of the team.  Each wears the same uniform with the same insignia that identifies a member of the organization.  From a distance, an individual member ("i" - mike) should not be able to be pointed out.  I am a member of a team.  Not an individual.  None of this is to say that each member is not important.  The most important asset in a team are the members.  Why do I carry on?

Because, individuals are important to a team and deserve respect.  But there is no "i" in the word team.  Therefore, each action of a team member is to either forward the mission of the team or ensure that the team is fit to complete the mission.

With this in mind, when the action of an individual calls unwanted attention to the individual and compromises the mission of the team, then there is trouble on hand.  That individual needs to be removed or trained to understand the importance of the mission of the team.   Do I sound brain washed?  I am a team member of the United States Air Force (at least I was in active service from 1996-2000).

Furthermore, when a "hate crime" is committed to any individual, then the crime is unacceptable and must be prosecuted.  Therefore, the move to accept greater participation from the LGBT community is essential to diversity in the military.  No one should live an undercover life.  Although, no individual shall stand out to compromise the mission too.  There is a delicate balance that is worked at to be successful by every member.

The over arching point is that each action of an individual affects the entire team and mission.  Therefore, each service have multiple avenues by which to report misconduct.  Furthermore, a soldier must use the proper channels to avoid compromising the mission.  Unfortunately, Pfc. Manning chose to use no proper avenue and chose her own and compromised the mission and the entire region (terrible).  This is baffling to each member who has served in the military.

Releasing Classified information?

At the outset, every person in the United States should understand that each member (every soldier discharged) from the US Military signs a form that states the following information in different ways:

I will not release or disclose any information that is associated with my job or service in the US Air Force.  This includes both unclassified and classified information.

My interpretation of the above statement is that no soldier should discuss the missions or contents of missions or jobs completed in the service.  This says nothing about the obvious fact that each member should not discuss any of their mission (or jobs) while in the service.  Therefore, the act of PFC Manning is baffling and incomprehensible.

Of course, in all fairness to Pfc. Manning, the above statement applies to those soldiers who have completed their Military service -- honorably.  General discharges and dishonorable are included.  As far as Pfc. Manning was concerned, she was doing a service to her country.  But in fact, she was doing a terrible disservice to her country.

Now, she must live with the actions.  The lives that were put in jeopardy because of her actions were not discussed in the popular news -- why?  As you saw above, the mission and support of the service is not discussed publicly.  No questions.

In closing, if a soldier compromises the mission by committing a crime (any crime including a hate crime), the mission is in jeopardy.  Each of us should uphold the tradition of proud service to ensure the safety of future soldiers.  Complaints (such a sexual harassment) should go through the proper channels.  I have seen the actions (negative actions) of soldiers be complained about by civilians and follow through by the military.  We do not need any more soldiers acting like Pfc. Manning or civilians acting like Edward Snowden.

Until next time, Have a great day!

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