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Ron Radosh

Is there an apt comparison to be made between Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who went to their deaths in Sing Sing prison’s electric chair in 1953 for “conspiracy to commit espionage,” and Private First Class Bradley Manning, who was convicted on July 30 of 17 of 22 charges of espionage and theft?

Most people would immediately say “yes.” Writing in the Los Angeles Times, the Rosenbergs’ youngest son, Robert Meeropol, says of Manning: “I feel a kinship for him.”

The Rosenbergs provided military and atomic information to the Soviet Union of Joseph Stalin, both during the years of World War II and in the days of the early Cold War; Manning violated his oath to the United States when he gave classified secrets to Julian Assange’s Wikileaks. Both Manning and the Rosenbergs endangered American national security out of a misguided belief that they were serving the higher interests of humanity. The Rosenbergs believed that the world working class, whose interests were protected by the Soviet Union, deserved any military secrets they desired. Manning believes that there should be no secrets, and hence any data he had access to rightfully should be told to one and all.

If we excused people who betray their country out of a delusional belief that they are doing so for a higher cause than patriotism to their own nation, then our nation would truly be in mortal danger from our enemies. Robert Meeropol doesn’t see it that way. The logic he shows in his op-ed is actually quite revealing. While the prosecutors claim that Manning was guilty of “espionage, theft and other unsavory terms,” Meeropol believes that “what Manning really did was reveal the truth of our government’s action to the American people and the world.”

He goes on to draw his analogy between the fate of his parents and that of Manning. After cknowledging that his father and co-defendant Morton Sobell “did provide valuable military information to the Soviet Union during the 1940s” — to my knowledge an acknowledgment he has never made before — Meeropol then argues incorrectly that his parents’ espionage network did not provide atomic information. Also, the experience of his parents’ trial, sentencing, and execution has led him to believe that “citizens must know what the government is doing in their name.”

Meeropol begrudges those who think “Manning is a traitor.” As he sees it, the convicted soldier only “released classified material that embarrassed the U.S. government” and might “put us at a disadvantage when dealing with other nations.” Nothing significant, evidently — just like what his father gave to the Soviets, though valuable, did not deserve a death sentence or even a conviction.

He no longer believes in his parents’ dream of “faith in the USSR,” but he understands their supposedly well-meaning motivation. But his own faith, he writes, is to “humanity as a whole.” And Mr. Meeropol has decided that Bradley Manning is only a whistleblower who, like Meeropol himself, says he feels “connected to everybody.” Reading Manning’s words, Meeropol adds: “Isn’t that how we all should be thinking?”

Well, no, it is not. The situation and threats we face do not permit us the luxury to give away secrets necessary to our national security.

Let us take a look at what Bradley Manning wrought upon us. As James Kirchick writes in the Daily News, Manning is nothing less than a traitor. Indeed, he argues that the Manning was lucky to avoid the death penalty, which Kirchick believes was well-deserved because he committed capital crimes.

First, Manning provided the names of individuals who opposed authoritarian regimes, and whose disclosure puts them at risk of attack and death in their own countries. For example, he disclosed the names of judges who were willing to take part in a trial in Lebanon of those responsible for the death of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who had been assassinated by Hezbollah and its Syrian patrons in 2005. A cable from the U.S. ambassador stated: “These persons are at risk of being threatened or assassinated for agreeing to act as tribunal judges.”

Did we need to know their names, Robert?

Another cable given to WikiLeaks by Manning named two brave human-rights activists who were giving information about the horrors of the Assad regime in Syria to the United States.

How does that serve “humanity as a whole”?

There are scores of similar items cited in Kirchick’s article. But even more important, Kirchick writes, “is the vast chilling effect that Manning’s treachery has had, and will continue to have, on American diplomacy.” Opponents of Iran’s move to obtaining a nuclear weapon, for example, will now find that the leaks greatly interfere with our diplomats gaining information and acting wisely, since those who previously might have come forth now will wonder whether Manning’s leaks have compromised them.

A whistleblower is one thing; the release of information that inhibits freedom of the U.S. and its representatives to act abroad in our nation’s interest is another thing — since our enemies, and not just our citizens, have access to what he gave away. U.S. actions in Iraq, which he and Meeropol oppose, are not excuses for releasing classified information because of a misbegotten view that everyone has a “right to know.” As Kirchick concludes: “Manning’s supporters reveal themselves to be inspired less by justice than by a vengeful, anti-state dogma directed mostly at one state: The United States.”

Robert Meeropol is a citizen of this country — not the world. His parents were citizens of the United States also, although in their minds they were subjects of Joseph Stalin and the U.S.S.R., to whom they thought they had a duty to serve. Manning felt, as a soldier who knew him testified in court, that he had “no allegiance” to the United States, and that our flag “meant nothing to him.”

Unfortunately, he took an oath to our country that he betrayed. He deserved to be found guilty, just as the jury rightfully convicted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg many decades ago.

Robert Meeropol’s belief that it is wrong to “elevate the interests of our country above those of all others” is nothing but foolish, dangerous, and wrong-headed. Citizens of this country owe their allegiance to this country, not to a mythical world government in which we all supposedly live, and all share democratic values. One cannot align instead with “humanity as a whole,” unless Mr. Meeropol wants to harm his own country at a time in which much of the rest of humanity are not exactly our bosom friends.

Bradley Manning betrayed and harmed his own country, just as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg did in the ’30s and ’40s. Both were rightfully convicted. How sad that Robert Meeropol still holds illusions that blind him to reality.

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All Comments   (21)
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As a nation, as a culture, we have become weak mainly due to our quality of life. In my humble opinion, we cannot bring ourselves to punish those who so very clearly deserve capital punishment. The Ft. Hood terrorist piece of sh!t, the Boston Terrorist piece of sh!t, and now this pansy, fairy, worthless, oxygen thief, goob gobbler TRAITOROUS piece of sh!t....they all deserve public execution by HANGING; firing squads should be reserved for people with some semblance of honor - such as enemy spies caught performing espionage against us. These American swine are not worthy of a noble death. But, except for Texas, we cannot find the stomach to kill those who so willingly do not/would not mind killing us.

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think it is a good thing to know just exactly how nasty the Islamic world is. Meanwhile, our Rodeo Clown US president is "All In" for one of the nasty Islamic branches....the Muslim Brotherhood, so isn't Obama supporting the enemy? That is much worse than anything Manning did.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Manning is another kid raised in the PC era of everybody gets a trophy.

As has been noted elsewhere, these creatures do not lack self esteem, they lack self respect and they lack the experiences gained from exposure to consequences resulting from failure.

Manning, like his whole generation, craves external validation. He apparently could not get that in the Army, because, well, he was never up to the standards set by the Army and his peers. He sought his trophy then from wikileaks and that creepy Assange fellow and the mechanism he chose to earn his trophy happened to be treasonous.

Nothing says "No, you aren't a hero, moron" like a miltary courts martial convicting you and sending you to federal prison for the remainder of your pathetic life.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What I have wondered from the beginning is what the heck was Manning thinking when he, a gender-conflicted and depressive, jined up. And equally to the point, how the heck did a kid with his screwed-upness evade detection as unfit for service?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Radosh: You simply did not make the case that Manning = the Rosenbergs.

Perhaps, someone else wrote the headline for your article, but be that as it may. The title of your article should probably be "I dislike Robert Meeropol Because...".

Did Manning provide out enemies with world changing technology secrets like the Rosenbergs did? Nope. He blabbed what goes for rather normal "secrets" these days. Things that most people, if they wanted to know, could find out themselves via other sources.

According to Bloomberg, more than 4 million people have 'top security clearance' these days including private sector "shippers & craters". For an idea of how secret our secrets are, imagine every single person in the greater San Francisco metropolitan area having top security clearance for these critical secrets of yours and that's what the US government has set up. The government classifies nearly everything it does. It's patently absurd.

Yes, Manning broke his oath and blabbed a lot of stuff, most of which was merely embarrassing for unscrupulous government types, but he is certainly, no Rosenberg.



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Manning didn't know what he was "blabbing." He didn't care. Just because you are cleared to handle computer files doesn't mean you understand their content.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There have always been traitors; misguided, mentally unhealthy, and arrogant evildoers. If you don't like it here, renounce your citizenship and leave for wherever you think is better. To betray a country of which you are a citizen is beyond crazy. It is demonic and should be handled as such. Motivation is not punishable, action is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What with have with Meery is a shared culture which is wide spread, but the existence of which is ignored.

One of the keys is non-consequential ethics. You say you are right then follow through no matter the effect on others. It is idealistic but murderous at its core: it will stop at nothing.

The short term goal is simply to stop people from looking at results, and stick to motive.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A true believer with 'well meaning motivation', a combination usually encountered in those suffereing from a narcisistic personality disorder, convinced of their intellectual superiority.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here ya go, Manning was suffering from "gender ID disorder"

And Ariel Castro had an uncontrollable "sexual addiction".

You can't make this stuff up, wherever you look, just a bunch of victims doing reprehensible stuff.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MANNING_WIKILEAKS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-08-14-11-36-56
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bradley Manning struck me as an angry little twit, egged on by the bigger twit & egotist extraordinaire, Julien Assange. Something about Manning being jilted by a homosexual lover just prior to the big leak was in the news.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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