Bradley Manning and the Rosenbergs: Traitors to the United States in Different Eras

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.