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Essay on Bradley Manning

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This essay delves into the facts of the situation Bradley manning faced as a military agent and the circumstances that led him to turn hostile against his own country in the name of humanity.

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Essay on Bradley Manning

  1. 1. Bradley Manning-A tenderheart altruist being viewed as a serious threat- Is it fair? An essay on an infamous whistle blower MADS 6604 PROF. BRENDA LYSHAUG FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON UNIVERSITY Manasvini Vimal Kumar 3/25/2014 Thisessaydelves intothe factsof the situationBradleymanningfacedasamilitaryagentandthe circumstancesthatledhimto turn hostile againsthisowncountryinthe name of humanity.
  2. 2. Bradley Manning-A tender heart altruist being viewed as a critical threat :Is this fair? As 5 April 2014 marks 4 years of release of 'Collateral Murders', the video footage of one of the significant leaks that Manning made, the Bradley Manning Support Network continues its fight against injustice towards the army private. Before a person is an employee or even a citizen, he or she is a human being, and duty towards humanity is the greatest virtue that can make the world a happier place. Probably, it was this instinct that Manning followed when he decided to speak his heart on the outrageous war crimes being carried out by the American troops, he witnessed during his posting in Iraq. The best way he thought he could draw the world's attention towards these activities, was, to give the world solid proofs instead of spreading rumors, and in doing so though he almost sacrificed his life, yet, he is content because he is at peace with himself. In my view, he took absolutely the right stand, for a variety of reasons. This essay will elaborate on justifications of Manning's actions and underline the importance of responsible whistle blowing. My first reason to support Manning's decision is, the gravity of the crime. There is clear evidence that the US Army was killing innocent Iraqi people for no reason (Poulson, Zetter, 2010). When the 'offence' is so big, such as a planned killing on an international scale, which is obviously, not for fun by the pilots, it has to be something really big, politically. And, that would not have given Manning any reason to expect support for any other form of dissent- either protesting within the military due to its huge hierarchical structure, or, gathering support of people by protesting on the streets against the wishes of the US Army- because as it is, that way .he would neither have been able to reach enough people, nor, would he have been able to show them the evidence. Since his position was not such that he could hold the Army back or even influence the State to stop its activities, so, the third form of dissent was also ruled out. In other
  3. 3. words, according to Cooper, as an ethical decision maker, after understanding his constraints and the fact that it was imperative to stop this ruthlessness, the only way he could try to stop it through the public, was Covertly Dissenting (Cooper, 2012). Additionally, as it appears in the code of ethics for engineers, by The National Society of Professional Engineers, 'The first canon of the code of should trump the fourth canon'; where the first canon is 'Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public', and, the fourth is 'Act for each employer or client as faithful trustees'; this should be extrapolated on the moral behavior of an individual towards humanity and society at large, before the employer, even if the State, is the employer (Bouville, M, 2007). As a responsible human being, subjective responsibility of protecting other human beings from the atrocities of certain monopolist powers is one's fundamental duty, irrespective of the fact whether that person bongs to the monopolist's country or not. Hence, I feel the consequential approach of Manning was justified, and although his purpose, which was to make his countrymen aware of their government's values, was served, yet, the end was not happy for him. Conversely, if we think, it would have been better if he would have rather not spoken out, and then we analyze Cooper's ethical decision making model, it would be clear that before leaking secret government information, Manning was convinced with his rehearsal of defenses and had probably also passed the mental test of publicity (Cooper, 2012). Whereas, on the other hand, it may be justified to say that he would probably not have been comfortable with his anticipatory self appraisal, if he would have kept this information to himself (Cooper, 2012). At least this way, he could be answerable to the public at large, and justify that he made an ethically correct decision, and, since the Army's prime aim is to oversee the welfare of the public, I just see Manning as having practically the same motive. Therefore, I feel that Manning was just
  4. 4. conforming to law and basic levels of honesty, while the exposing the US government's non- conformity with the Ethics of Democratic Responsibility, Ethics of Public Policy Determination and Ethics of Compromise and Social Integration, as explained by York Willbern (Willbern, 1984). Furthermore, with respect to what Wakefield has mentioned as 'The Final Safeguard', Manning's action of blowing the whistle on American army's war crimes, is completely justified (Wakefield, 1976). The final safeguard against allowing a public organization to meet it's selfish interests before it's owner's, that is, public's interests, is, the responsible conduct of the individuals that have been employed by the organization, which implies the officials, and, a responsible public that can question the conduct of these officials (Willbern, 1976). As the public administrator has the responsibility and the right to exercise his or her own ethical autonomy, so, in this regard also, Bradley Manning's dissent is acceptable. However, applying Whyte's concept of 'The Problem of Organizational Dominance', due to the conditions of the modern society, the hierarchical organization of the US government and the military, there has been a clear suppression of Manning's ethically autonomous decision in the form of a 35 year long prison sentence granted to him (Whyte, 1956). By the same token, Manning should be exculpated in view of the concepts of organizational delimitation and transcendence given by Alberta Guerreiro Ramos. Ramos explains that the public administrator should be seen with a broader perspective in social, economic and political system (Ramos, 1981). According to the concept, usually, the conduct of the administrator is contingent on the prevalent social reality of the market, but, I think it must have taken a lot of courage for Manning to defy the disappointing army rules of 'maintaining secrecy under all circumstances' and I commend the fact that he had probably reached the stage
  5. 5. of self actualization, where he was able to delimit the work organization and cultivate his own identity in the community, not only in his own eyes, but, also among the American citizens, his professional community and the world at large. His actions displayed his self awareness concerning his own values, rights, duties, and obligations within and outside of his organization. In addition to the above, he demonstrated an example for other whistleblowers as well as other employees in various organizations, that, it is within a human being, that through self awareness, he or she can resist behavioral changes (Cooper, 2012). He has shown, that for a democracy to be maintained, social controls are important (Cooper, 2012). In other words, as an individual cannot expect anyone to do the opposite to him, of, what he himself is doing to the other individual, similarly, governments cannot expect people to comply with their rules, unless they act the same way. In fact, when Edward Snowden's case came to light, Juan Cole went to the extent of writing "The US government is mad at Bradley Manning for doing to it what it is doing to all of us"(Cole, 2013). Not only Juan, there is a whole network in America named Chelsea Manning Support Network, that is working towards persuading President Obama to pardon Manning (Chelsea Manning Support Network, 2014). Similarly, it can also be argued that Bradley Manning has displayed respect for Ethics of Awareness, by not identifying himself as 'an employee of the US Army' as much as Bradley Manning himself. Thus, he has underlined the importance of Cooper's assertion, that, personal identity and integrity is beyond the boundaries of the organization (Cooper, 2012). Though his punishment might not, but his non violent actions will definitely become an inspiring factor for other young people whose conscience does not allow them to witness a crime and not speak against it. He has taught us all that merely being a bystander would only encourage the wrong doers and further the crime. Generally, people have a fear of being singled out in a small society,
  6. 6. leading to The Bystander Effect, however, Manning displayed immense courage and no fear for consequences, even when he knew that he would be singled out from a nation of 300 million people and may, from a world of 7 billion people. While looking at the factors that could have potentially stopped Manning from leaking classified information to Wiki Leaks, the need for a design approach rises (Cooper, 2012). If only the army had a system of better communication between subordinates and superiors, then, Manning might have been able to speak out his mind, and would have been counseled against leaking it all of a sudden to anti-secrecy website. It would have probably been a better idea, only looking at the unfortunate consequences, that he would have escalated this issue through proper channels and the army could have promoted trust and confidence among its members, had they had a system of accountability in which one person would have been accountable to just one person above him in hierarchy, and yet, they could have worked collaboratively (Cooper, 2012). This way, his superior could have also noticed his moral development, loyalty, his posting at a sensitive place, and the evident effects of the information that he was being exposed to and ultimately, intentions (Near & Miceli, 1996). And probably Manning would not have been in jail now. However, participatory and representative ethical decision making techniques sound more encouraging on a corporate level probably, but the US army, which is completely controlled politically, as evidenced by leaked cables, this would have still not been possible. As the corporate world is encouraging whistle blowing, at least internally, and the senior administration has started looking at actions of whistle blowers as opportunities for improvement, there is still an enigma about hoe the federal government's policy to protect them will shape (Ravishankar, 2003). Though President Obama had promised transparency and openness in his administration in his election campaign last year, yet, the cases of Bradley
  7. 7. Manning and Edward Snowden have surfaced under his regime only (Heyes, 2013). Ironically to his affirmation of transparency, Mr. Obama got the 'promise to protect whistleblowers' removed, from the website called Change.org (Heyes, 2013). On the contrary, in an interview to Politico, in March 2012, Katherine Meyer, a lawyer in Washington, who has been filing FOIAs since 1978, explained her indignation at the roadblocks being put in filing FOIA- Freedom of Information Act and claims that the present US administration is probably the worst among the tenure of the six that she has witnessed (Heyes, 2013). However, probably this is neither the first time that any government is facing such allegation, nor, is it probably the last. There are reasons to believe that corruption will end with the end of humanity itself and till the time there is someone who works is a corrupt way, there will also be someone, who will keep alerting the public about it. History had it-Daniel Ellsberg was the whistle blower for Pentagon and Mike Felt was the clever FBI agent who kept leaking President Richard Nixon's secrets throughout. In 1958, the US House of Representatives and the Senate had passed a Code of Ethics, which advocated that loyalty to the country should be put ahead of that to any organization or party, it also advocates people to uphold constitution, laws and legal regulations, it encourages people to expose corruption where ever discovered, and, it entrusts the responsibility of upholding In fact, it is being understood now, that, although avoiding whistle blowing cannot be avoided, it can be definitely done in a responsible way. According to Kernaghan and Langford, a whistle blower is justified in his actions, if, the action that is being talked about might be a potentially dangerous one, to the well being of the public; whenever there are serious accusations of harm to the public, they should be spoken out about aloud, the prospective whistle blower should make sure that what he thinks is going to harm the people, is not already being changed,
  8. 8. or, cannot be changed by the organization, and, he must be quite sure that his speaking against the potential problem is actually quite likely to change the course of action of the company (Arekar, A & Mehta, R. , 2013). The best way they suggest to do this is, to go to the audience and ask them what they think about it and after this, if the potential whistle blower understands that he would not be able to bring about a change, he should probably not consider whistle blowing at all (Arekar, A & Mehta, R. , 2013). Also, responsible whistle blowing can be inculcated by developing desirable individual attributes such as skills in ethical decision making, character traits, professional values and morals, have clear accountability of each person to only one other person, encouraging collaborative arrangement of working as a team towards common goals, making dissent channels, encouraging people to speak their minds, and not coercing them to conform, and, allowing participation of employees in decision making (Cooper, 2012). Further, the conduct of the team or organizational leader is very important in designing the employees' conduct (Cooper, 2012). Lastly, organizational culture should be developed in such a way that there is maximum transparency, for instance, there should be visible rewards for ethical behavior, as also, punishment for an unethical one, to deter others to follow suit (Cooper, 2012). Although the laws to protect whistle blowers are being made and implemented, but, this is more so in private organizations. The Whistle Blower Protection Act provides that there should be no personnel action taken against them and the Internal Revenue Service of the US and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission actually look for information from whistle blowers to ensure ethical conduct on the part of their employees ( Whistleblowerlaws, 2014).
  9. 9. In conclusion, there is no doubt that whatever Bradley Manning did, was indeed required to stop human genocide at the hands of the US army, but, what he is having to face is not at all justified in the light of whistle blowing laws, international human rights laws and the fact that President Obama promised America-a neat and transparent administration. Had there been a more effective system of listening to the views of employees and their engagement as representatives of public, instead of merely expecting obedience , this anti-tattling retaliation would not have been meted out to Manning in terms of 35 years of prison.
  10. 10. References Arekar, K& Mehta, R. (2013). Responsible corporate governance through whistle blowing. Research journal in organizational psychology and & educational studies.2(1)7- 11.Retrieved from: http://rjopes.emergingresource.org/articles/RESPONSIBLE%20CORPORATE%20GOV ERNANCE%20THROUGH%20WHISTLE%20BLOWING.pdf Bouville, M. (2007). Whistle blowing and morality. Journal of Business Ethics. doi: 10.1007/s10551-007-9529-72. Retrieved from: http://mathieu.bouville.name/education- ethics/Bouville-whistle-blowing.pdf Cole, J. (2013, 7 June). PRISM: The US government is mad at Bradley Manning for doing to it what it is doing to all of us. Informed comment, Thoughts on Middle East, history and religion. Retrieved from : http://www.juancole.com/2013/06/government-bradley- manning.html Cooper, T.(2012). The Responsible administrator: An approach to ethics for the administrative role. (6th Ed). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Heyes, J.D. (2013, July 31). Obama removes promise to 'protect whistleblowers' from propaganda website Change.org. Natural News natural health news & scientific discoveries. Retrieved from: http://www.naturalnews.com/041422_Obama_administration_propaganda_whistleblower _protection.html
  11. 11. Martin, B. (2004, September). Dissent and whistleblowing, review of Cass R Sustein Why societies need dissent in The Whistle. 39 (13-14). Retrieved from: http://www.uow.edu.au/~bmartin/pubs/04BRwhistle09.html Miceli, M.P., & Near, J.P. (1996). Whistle blowing: Myth and reality. Journal of Management, Fall 1996.22(3), 507-526 Nadler, J. & Schulman, M. (2006). Whistle blowing in the public sector. Marakkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University. Retrieved from: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/government_ethics/introduction/whistleb lowing.html National Society of Professional Engineers. (2014). NPSE code of ethics foe engineers. National society of professional engineers. Retrieved from: http://www.nspe.org/resources/ethics/code-ethics Page, C. (2013, August 2013). Wikileaks whistle blower Bradley Manning gets 35 years. The Inquirer. Retrived from: http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2290300/wikileaks- whistleblower-bradley-manning-gets-35-years Ravishankar, L. (2003). Encouraging internal whistleblowing in organizations. Santa Clara University. Retrieved from: https://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/submitted/whistleblowing.html Sarah, L. (2013, July 29). Do the right thing: The world rallies behind Bradley Manning. Common dreams. Retrieved from: https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/07/29- 1 Thompson, D. (1985). "The possibility of administrative ethics." Public Administration Review. 45(5), 551-561
  12. 12. Thompson, D. (1980). "Moral responsibility of public officials: the problem of many hands." American Political Science Review.74, 905-916 Whistleblowers. (2014). Whistleblower protections. Whistleblowerlaws the source for whistleblowers, the press, policy makers and academics. Retrieved from: http://www.whistleblowerlaws.com/whistleblower-protections-act/

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