The dismissal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the military’s detention of WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning seem to be unrelated stories, but one former Marine sees a double standard at work.
Jeff Paterson, the project director of Courage to Resist, an organization that supports “informed resistance” of those who have left or want to leave the Army, believes that Manning, the Army private who leaked a video of an Apache helicopter attacking civilians in Afghanistan, is getting a raw deal compared to McChrystal.
“Here’s one case of your average rank and file soldier who is facing a crisis of conscience, with realizing what’s really going on with this war on the ground … he made the decision to actually throw his hat in the ring of public debate, to actually offer a critical critique of what’s going on,” Paterson said. “And now he’s in jail … and doesn’t have the ability to just resign from the Army.”
The 22-year-old Manning is being detained in Kuwait after releasing the video and “hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records,” according to Kevin Poulsen and Kim Zetter’s Wired article. Though he has not been formally charged, Paterson said he doesn’t know if Manning will even be able to get a civilian legal defense.
“McChrystal has continued to do what he’s done for the past decade, from the Pat Tillman coverup to criticizing the president, yet he has the opportunity to resign,” Paterson said. “It’s substance versus fluff.”