Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst for the US Army during the Iraq War, has penned a call for more transparency from his prison cell at Forth Leavenworth, Kansas. While working as an analyst, Manning began to notice glaring inconsistencies in what the the military knew about the war and what was relayed to the American public. During the supposedly democratic elections of 2010, for example, violent political reprisals executed by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki were not covered by the American press. The dearth of American reporters in the field, and an unjust system of favoritism that chooses reporters, is the cause.
What’s the Big Idea?
The Supreme Court sided with the military after reporters brought suit alleging they had been fired for writing critical commentary on the military’s behavior. Being an embedded reporter is a privilege, not a right, the Court ruled. Crucially, the withheld information did not directly implicate American soldiers’ lives, muddied our nation’s involvement in Iraq, and was withheld to portray a sterile version of the war to the American public, eventually prolonging our engagement. Manning calls for a body not under the control of public affairs officials to govern the credentialing process.