A group of dewy-eyed activists has petitioned the Nobel Prize committee to award its prestigious honor of peace to U.S. Army private Bradley Manning. After spending years behind bars, Manning was just sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents related to war activities of the United States military leviathan. While the presiding judge decided that Manning’s actions were not complicit in “aiding the enemy,” he will still spend the next three decades in a cell. The setting aside of the assistance charge – which former Defense Secretary Robert Gates basically confirmed years ago – might have actually made a difference in the final verdict. Originally expected to serve nearly a century in jail, the leniency displayed was truly remarkable. I fully expected Manning to rot in a cage for the rest of his life. Perhaps there is justice in the world after all.
If the Nobel Peace Prize truly stands for the cause of human harmony, few deserve it more than Bradley Manning. The documents he provided to the international journalist body Wikileaks played a consequential role in drawing popularity away from the invasion of Iraq, and the larger War on Terror. The video Manning brought to the world’s apathetic eyes, accurately dubbed “collateral murder,” is one of the few, real demonstrations of the total inhumanity that is total warfare. In the video, two American helicopter pilots take aim at what they believe to be armed insurgents. It turns out that these rocket-toting jihadists were actually journalists clutching onto cameras – who were unfortunate enough to meet a spray of bullets courtesy of Uncle Sam’s iron trigger. Following the brutal murder (this was not a defensive action by any means), first responders met the same fate, similar in style to a child who laughingly steps on bugs for amusement.
While the wholly one-sided affair went down, bullets came perilously close to nearby children. It’s hard to imagine any remorse would have been displayed had the youngsters been killed. As a coup de grâce, our heroic gunners, who could not quench their thirst for blood fast enough, decide to fire a hellfire missile into a building presumably housing armed men. The video footage showed at least two individuals entering the soon-to-be decimated quarters without weapons.
During the gunfire, the state’s paid assassins made snarky remarks about their kill, revealing a bloodlust only present in the most unemotive bodies of flesh. There was no reluctance. They wanted to kill everyone and anyone whom they believe is an insurgent. Keep in mind, this was no firefight. The strike was performed entirely from the safety of a helicopter. It was similar to aerial wolf hunting – a sport the fine, violence-craving men and women of the U.S. army would take easily to. The whole ordeal is astonishing to behold; even surreal if you forget the kind of carnal mindset attracted to mass bloodletting.
Prior to the Manning leak, a deal was worked out to scale back the U.S. presence in Iraq. It was a faux pact as the American embassy remains home to a seventeen thousand-strong battalion of armed forces. But the disturbing video and accompanying proof of war crimes ensured that outright combat would not be reignited, if only for the time being. Manning’s actions should be venerated, which makes it even more improbable he will receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Taking account of the types of characters and organizations who were given the award in recent years, those who rock the establishment doctrine of statism are practically nullified candidates. Last year, the accolade was awarded to the European Union – a centralizing state conspiracy meant only to enlarge the looting class. The forced consolidation of a new, transcountry bureaucracy has been a violence-stemming force; but it has come with the cost of a new micromanaging cult in Brussels. Residents of the gargantuan quasi-state are currently being fleeced to shore up the balance sheets of governments and banks alike. This intrastate theft is called “austerity,” where one group of taxpayers pays for the tax eaters.
Years before the European Union was given the prize, Barack Obama was the chosen one. Here, a man who has no qualms with ordering airstrikes that obliterate innocent women and children was anointed with an honor ostensibly reserved for those whose efforts reduce standing armies and global conflict. Decades earlier, former Secretary of State and esteemed security adviser Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel for working out a ceasefire agreement to begin the end of the Vietnam War. This was the same high-level bureaucrat who popularized “realist” foreign policy; a euphemism for carpet bombing those nation-states that fail to pay fealty to Washington’s planet-stretching shadow. Of course, the forgetful public has long since relegated Kissinger’s admiration for Malthusian population control and support for a military coup in Chile to the memory hole.
The notion that Bradley Manning could be given the Nobel Peace Prize is far-fetched at best, and seriously ignorant at worst. To lump an Army private guilty of stripping the state of its thin veil of usefulness with a host of war criminals reflects terribly on the former. In the past, the prize was awarded to individuals who made great strides in the fight for human tranquility. In modern times, political correctness and state centralization are the only worthy convictions.
In an ideal world, Manning would be greeted with warmth and honor for his actions; more so after suffering in solitary confinement, stripped of his clothes and dignity. The Nobel Peace Prize would be a miniscule trophy compared to the cleansed conscience that comes from shining a light on government misdoings.
If any other individual deserves such a distinction for the cause of peaceful human relations, then I humbly nominate the individual known as Dread Pirate Roberts of Silk Road fame. The Silk Road is a black, online market where buyers and sellers of narcotics can engage in commerce anonymously. The deals are protected from the state’s all-seeing eye and the product is transferred via the United States Postal Service. Roberts, who is known by pseudonym-only for obvious reasons, established the drug bazaar as a safe haven away from government force. It was a conscious decision to allow others the opportunity to bypass unlawful prohibitions while risking his own liberty in the process.
The Silk Road not only negates the state’s prying grip, but it also curtails the violence that follows any black marketplace. Commerce is a mutually fulfilling endeavor when performed voluntarily. Roberts is one of the few who have come to this realization. In a rare interview with Forbes, he welcomes competition to his specialized field, embracing the contentious spirit that keeps man from devolving back to the Stone Age. He shows no shame in his wealth and even hints at one day making the coveted Forbes 100. What the recluse purveyor lacks in humbleness, he makes up for in a comfortableness with his own mode of living. He is a fighter of oppression, an entrepreneur, and an enabler of harmonious exchange – a much better man than the rest of us.
Manning occupies the same space; someone willing to give up their life for the greater principle. He recently disavowed his maleness in favor of being a girl named “Chelsey.” I find the whole transgender identity issue silly and capricious, so I will refrain from assigning him the pronoun “she.” Latching yourself onto a qualifier does not automatically make it comport with reality. Regardless of fumbling notions of sexuality, no politician or wealthy financier holds a candle to the efforts of men such as Manning and Roberts. If more were to follow their example, society would be much improved.