Lately, the news has been stories about Wiki-leaks, a website dedicated to leaking Government documents. Most people probably had never heard of the website until recently. I certainly never had. But when close to 80,000 pages were leaked, along with a video that showed civilians being killed, it seemed only natural for the media to pick up on it.
The person responsible for the leak is Private First Class Bradley Manning. He had Top Security Clearance, and a responsibility to keep the secrets that those documents held. Inside of the documents are details on how to respond if attacked by an enemy, along with other things.
There have been comparisons drawn up between Manning and Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the infamous Pentagon Papers during the 1970s. The difference between the two is that Manning leaked information that can end up getting people killed; where as The Pentagon Papers showed our involvement in Vietnam was based upon lies. The New York Times acted honorably when the dealt with Ellsberg. Wiki-leaks, however, had a duty to review the documents before releasing them. Instead of just feeling that they were the genuine article, they should have taken into consideration that Soldiers and Marines could be put into harm’s way.
I am a supporter of the First Amendment. I believe in Freedom of the Press, but I believe that a person should take responsibility for their actions, as well. If this means that Pfc. Manning, who will eventually face a Court Martial, ends up on the wrong end of a rope, then so be it. He should know the consequence of his actions.
Now, I’m going to talk about another topic, but still within scope of responsibility. This is also about another member of the Army facing a Court Martial. It’s for Dereliction of Duty. He’s a Lieutenant Colonel named Terry Lakin, and he is refusing to deploy to Afghanistan unless President Barack Obama produces his Birth Certificate. Yes, ladies and gentleman, Lt. Col. Lakin is a Birther.
Lt. Col. Lakin’s basic claim is that if President Obama were not born in the United States (he was born in Hawaii, by the way), then he cannot order anyone to deploy overseas. Now, I’m not a fan of Mr. Obama, and I did not vote for him (I voted for Bob Barr, just so you know), but the idea of him not being born in the United States seems born of Racism. It does not matter that Lakin is a decorated Veteran of nearly twenty years service. His Commander in Chief ordered him to deploy to a Combat Zone, and is refusing to follow the order. If convicted, he faces a dishonorable discharge, loss of pay, and up to two years in Federal Prison.
For his entire time in the United States Army, Lt. Col. Lakin has served with Honor, but for whatever reason, he has chosen to abandon his responsibility. Like Pfc. Manning, he had a duty, and failed. Both of them took an Oath when they entered the Armed Forces to protect the United States of America against all enemies, both Foreign and Domestic. Sadly, because they failed to carry out their responsibilities, I feel that they fall under the category of The Enemy: one more so than the other.