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Eating The Children

By in Huffington Post on June 15, 2017

By Tom Engelhardt

Cross-posted from

In her first interview since President Obama commuted her 35-year sentence and she was released from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Chelsea Manning explained to Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang why she leaked documents about America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We’re getting all this information from all these different sources and it’s just death, destruction, mayhem,” she said, describing the period when, still Bradley Manning, she was an intelligence analyst at a U.S. military forward operating base in Iraq. “We’re filtering it all through facts, statistics, reports, dates, times, locations, and eventually, you just stop. I stopped seeing just statistics and information, and I started seeing people.”

That crucial transformation led Manning to release to WikiLeaks, among many other documents, a now-infamous 2007 video. It offered a graphic view of how the crew of an American Apache helicopter slaughtered civilians (including two Iraqi Reuters correspondents) on the streets of Baghdad and then riddled a “good Samaritan” van that tried to help those gunned down, killing its driver and wounding his two young children in the backseat ― all this to a soundtrack of brutal, sardonic comments. As Manning explained at her 2013 court-martial, speaking of such videos as “war porn,”

The most alarming aspect of the video to me… was the seem[ing]ly delightful bloodlust [the crewmen] appeared to have… [They] seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote dead bastards unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers… While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene… Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the […]    

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