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The Military United States

Bradley Manning Wants To Live As a Woman 784

Posted by timothy
from the symbolic-of-our-struggle-against-oppression dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier sentenced to 35 years in military prison for the biggest breach of classified documents in the nation's history, says he is female and wants to live as a woman named Chelsea. 'As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning, I am a female,' Manning, 25, said in the statement read by anchorwoman Savannah Guthrie on NBC News' "Today" show. 'Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible,' Manning said. 'I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.' A psychiatrist, Navy Reserve Captain David Moulton, testified during Manning's trial that Manning suffered from gender dysphoria, or wanting to be the opposite sex, as well as narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder."
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Bradley Manning Wants To Live As a Woman

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  • by skovnymfe (1671822) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:13AM (#44642163)
    No offense to transpeople, but why is this on Slashdot? I don't give a fuck if he wants to be a man or a woman in jail.
  • Popcorn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:15AM (#44642201)

    Getting popcorn - I fully expect this discussion to be mature and informative.

  • by Zaldarr (2469168) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:17AM (#44642237) Homepage
    Because /. has been going down the tubes for years.
  • by schwit1 (797399) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:22AM (#44642307)

    Who cares if he wants to live as a woman, a man or a chipmonk?

    This inane crap belongs on Digg not here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:22AM (#44642315)

    Oh look - a prison rape joke - and modded up no less.

    How sad is it that prison rape and rape in general is such a joke in the US that one of the first comments on any forum when somebody talks about prisoner well-being is that they not drop the soap, because HA-HA some maleficent goon might RAPE them?

    Shocking as it may be to you, Alen, rape is not a part of prisoner reformation standards, gender dysphoria is a real thing, and jokes about forced sex aren't all that funny.

  • by eqisow (877574) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:25AM (#44642379) Homepage
    I do believe he was struggling with gender identity issues before this whole ordeal.
  • by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:26AM (#44642393) Homepage

    Yeah, this was a bad idea. Unfortunately choosing to make such a public statement on this will basically give the highly vocal Conservatives some more ammunition to use against him, basically in their eyes invalidating the stuff she leaked. While we all know that it's got absolutely nothing to do with anything, that's never stopped the highly vocal Conservative minority from making a big deal of this stuff.

    The same people who were screaming for him to be hanged will now feel smug in their self-righteousness and will start finding a way to correlate this gender change with an ability and desire to fabricate the leaked information. This will then invalidate this entire process in the eyes of these people... and believe me they make a lot of noise.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:33AM (#44642503) Homepage Journal

    Yes because the 8th amendment is an inconvenient obstacle for official justice. Just a reminder that your position puts you on the side of a murderer.

  • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:35AM (#44642525)

    Statistic pulled out of ass - check.
    Non sequitur - check.
    lol, bigots.

    I struggle to identify an argument, but I think you're saying:

    1. 99.99% of people identify entirely as a gender which accords somehow with the sex organs they were born with - citation please.

    2. Correlation is causation - citation please.

  • by lxs (131946) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:39AM (#44642583)

    In one sentence: Bradley was our hero. Now Chelsea is our hero.

    It's a story that many of us have been following since the beginning. For those among us that are not robots the lives of the people involved are at least of passing interest to us. In my opinion Manning has done a great thing. He/she deserves better than being relegated to obscurity the moment the story is over.

  • by barlevg (2111272) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:41AM (#44642619)
    I read about this on WaPo [washingtonpost.com] about half an hour ago, where I noticed they did an incredibly intelligent and thoughtful thing: they disabled comments. Now if only that were possible on /.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:42AM (#44642633)

    Mod parent a TROLL, not funny. I really do like the word-play, but I don't think this deserves anything else.

    After reading the comments section of CNN for this story, I'm already severely disheartened that, despite that the attitudes for gays has greatly improved, comments with over 700 net positive upvotes over there say he should also serve 35 years as a prisoner within what he perceives to be a wrong body as an additional punishment.

    At first I thought Manning's sudden announcement of gender identity was a ploy, but if it was mentioned in court documents prior to the case and discharge proceedings, I sympathize for this person. I know individuals who rather chose to kill themselves then reveal the(ir perceived) shame of their gender identity.

    Considering how easy it seems to get into prison these days in the US, I am not particularly finding these rape jokes very funny anymore either.

  • Utter crap (Score:1, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby.comcast@net> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:44AM (#44642649)

    Good friend of mine is transgender, this should never even make the news. Transgender is a mental disease that should first of all never take away from the person, and second of all never be used as an excuse to justify someone's behavior.

    Bradley Meaning's behavior had jack to do with being Transgender and bringing his mental illness into this is a shows a refusal to take responsibility and will only further alienate society from people who are transgender and have not committed Bradley Manning's crimes.

  • by bickerdyke (670000) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:48AM (#44642699)

    How sad is it that prison rape and rape in general is such a joke in the US that one of the first comments on any forum when somebody talks about prisoner well-being is that they not drop the soap, because HA-HA some maleficent goon might RAPE them?

    Tells us a lot about how the US prison system thinks of human dignity.

  • Let's Not Be Jerks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by assertation (1255714) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:51AM (#44642751)

    Speaking as a straight, cisgendered ( transgender people's word for "normal" ), white, and quite handsome man.........please lets not make fun of Manning.

    He is a human being, some who consider to be a hero, who just happens to have problems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:52AM (#44642765)

    Joining Yet Again, thank you for your defense and compassionate attitude. (I would also argue that anything related to Manning is *Stuff That Matters* as I could at least imagine myself as a conscientious nerd wanting to defend the Constitution and Right the wrongs in a similar situation, thinking I was doing the right thing.) If by chance you live outside the US and there are more individuals like you, would you be willing to share your home country? I'm not transgendered, I just have grown tired of being surrounded by bigots...

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:56AM (#44642813) Homepage

    He will always be a he no matter what psychological issues he has to deal with...

    Genetics is only one indicator of sex, and not even a good one when it comes to physiology [wikipedia.org], let alone psychology.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:59AM (#44642853) Homepage

    Comedy is a legitimate form of social/political commentary.

    Everything is funny, everything should be discussed and criticize, and joking is a way to do that.

  • by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:59AM (#44642873)

    In many cases, yes you can. There are probably rules around it, so something like a 90 day for possession isn't going to get you heart surgery, but if you were in for 35 years, you'd certainly get heart surgery. There are definitely people who try to get themselves thrown in jail for free medical care and food. Usually those are people who have already been there before and know the system, but it does happen.

    As for hormone therapy, I could have sworn I've heard of people getting that in jail before as well. Gender dysphoria is considered a legitimate psychological condition generally, so he'd have a case, but I don't know if it is life threatening or meets the usual criteria.

  • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:00AM (#44642885)

    Never do. Gender identity people generally feel so much deeply foundational shame that they go their entire lives, telling no one. Wasn't there news media coverage of a 40 year old married man that finally decided (after raising the kids was done and they were well on their way) that she couldn't take it anymore and needed to transition. I think a lot of regular Joe's natural reaction to hearing something like this is that the TG individual must be incredibly selfish and perverse to put their family through the pain of having their family fractured in such a way (familial identity especially is immutable!) But I think the reality is that a TG is experiencing pain which equals the combined expected pain and discomfort of their loved ones -- why else would they wait so long?

    In my anecdotal story my brother only told me, but didn't mention it in their suicide note, so I've told no one.. (... quadruple check that I'm posting anonymously..)

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:02AM (#44642921)

    Given the current state of society as long as he insists it's one sentence then we all must agree that it is so.

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:02AM (#44642927) Homepage
    no. screw that. I get annoyed as hell when places decide for me what stories i can and cant comment on. Thats why digg fell apart when they got bought out, they disabled all comments.

    slashdot IS comments. I can find these stories all over the web (in fact as we all joke we usually do before its here) but we come to slashdot for the comments. Sure the quality has dropped in the past 10 years but there are still alot of good posters here, and there is no reason to disable posts on a story because of fear of what will be said. In fact the entire Idea just tells me whatever is happeneing that we would even considering such a thing, is a horrible thing to begin with or something that is clearly wrong.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:07AM (#44642985)

    It's not a human right, but gender reassignment is the only treatment for gender identity problems. The rational thing to do is treat the prisoner appropriately, not hold back for some ideological reason.

  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:16AM (#44643091) Homepage

    Equally important is why this is news at all?

    Yes, Bradley Manning is an important person. But the details of his personal issues are not newsworthy, except as how they may have effected his decision to provide the information to Wikileaks. Its certain his sexual identity problems played some role in his unhappiness with his position in the army. But ultimately this is a man depressed about who he is and wanting to change. At root, it's not much different from scrawny guy wanting to be big and butch and - unable to live up to that fantasy - doing something reckless. But if that were all there was to the story, you can be sure it wouldn't get half the coverage this one does.

    And why is this so much more exciting? Because transexualism is still considered indecent and indicative of severe psychological problems by our society. Manning is being demonized as a a nut, a freak; certainly not someone to look up to as a patriot standing up for the ideals of his country. The release of this information is an attempt at distracting the public from the much more important problems his actions brought to light, and as a warning to other whistleblowers. It's an underlying message that says not only says "Fuck with the government and all your dirty laundry will be made public" but also "only weirdos and loons would consider a 'traitorous' act like Manning's in the first place!")

    So, yeah, not being personally involved with Bradley Manning I find the details of the problems that led to his actions inconsequential. They are his private demons that he needs to deal with alone. I'd rather the focus be on the other, far more newsworthy problems brought up by his case, be it the revelations in the leaks themselves, the response by the government to said leaks, or even how poorly the US Army is dealing with the psychologically vulnerable members of its armed forces. THAT is news, not whether Mr. Manning is happy with his dick or not.

  • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:17AM (#44643109) Homepage

    This is as poignant and germane as any revolutionary war document. I'd vote for Manning as a member of the new constitutional congress.

  • by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:25AM (#44643237)

    Cisgendered means your brain gender matches your physical gender. The whole point of not using the word 'normal' is to avoid saying that people who are not cisgendered are not normal.

    Which is stupid PC crap. Being transgendered isn't normal. Which is not to say that's a bad thing, they're just being offended for no reason. Normal means, "according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle". Think normal distribution. Most people are not transgendered, therefore being transgendered is not not normal.

    By itself, not being normal isn't offensive. Most people can't run as fast as Usain Bolt, therefore Usain Bolt isn't normal. That's not an insult.

  • by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:27AM (#44643251) Homepage Journal

    How sad is it that prison rape and rape in general is such a joke in the US that one of the first comments on any forum when somebody talks about prisoner well-being is that they not drop the soap, because HA-HA some maleficent goon might RAPE them?

    Tells us a lot about how the US prison system thinks of human dignity.

    Tells us a lot more about how US citizens think of prisoner dignity. It's always seemed to me that to the vocal minority at least, and possibly the vast majority of Americans, people stop being human when they're locked up in Jail. Innocent until proven guilty, but once proven guilty (of anything), suddenly all human rights and freedoms go out the door, because nobody "normal" could be guilty of anything....

    I recommend that anyone making prison rape jokes go visit a few prisons and talk to people... inmates AND staff. Visit a few different places; low, medium, and high if they'll let you in.

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:28AM (#44643273)

    I'm a bit mystified as to why we do this. Hear me out:

    When people ask to have limbs amputated because the person feels that having the limb doesn't make them feel whole (strange how you don't feel whole until part of you is removed?! That and/or because they have a sexual fetish for amputated limbs,) modern medicine denies that request, considers it to be abhorrent, and any medical professional who obliges the request is jailed and/or has their license to practice revoked. The treatment for the above condition is the same as if the person had a mental illness, and the solution is to change thinking patterns rather than surgery.

    http://drmarkgriffiths.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/whats-your-crutch-the-bizarre-world-of-amputee-fetishes/ [wordpress.com]

    Yet when they ask to have their genitals mutilated and hormones thrown so far out of whack to the point of permanently handicapping them to a degree, it is viewed as a human right, and in some cases this voluntary surgery must be provided for free by the government, and they are called brave in some circles? Worse is that today there is very little in the way of counseling done, and some half of them end up regretting it after the fact.

    http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Want-To-Reverse-Sex-Reassignment-Surgery/1608417 [experienceproject.com]

    I'm not taking issue with transsexualism BTW, I'm taking issue with the idea that surgery is the answer.

  • by SleazyRidr (1563649) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:32AM (#44643333)

    "Only" two. Why is it that the US claims to be the best country in the world, but it comfortable sharing a list mainly populated by other shining examples of leading countries, such as North Korea, Thailand and Rwanda?

  • by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:33AM (#44643341) Journal

    Egotistical nationalism?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @10:53AM (#44643645)

    You ever been raped? You ignorant asshole.

    Why do you think so many rape victims commit suicide? Even after months or years of therapy and trying to forget?

    At least if the person is killed, the torment is over.

    This comment, and a few above, is from someone who knows what it feels like to have someone's dick inside them against their will. Also, someone who has contemplated suicide, as well as mass murder.

    I certainly wish my attacker had been raped in prison, and then killed, so my tax dollars doesn't keep him alive.

    If you can't appreciate that, you obviously have no experience in the subject, and can take your self-righteous indignation and shove it up your ass.

  • by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:09AM (#44643853) Homepage Journal

    I suggest you go to a rape counseling center, and ask the women there is they care that the man who raped them may face the possibility of being raped in prison.

    Go ask an adult survivor of child abuse if they feel upset that their uncle/father/priest/etc may be subjected to rape in prison.

    Keep a running tally of which one are as horrified as you are, and which one feel it is the least that should happen to them. Report back here when you are done.

    Done that; there are some people who have been so traumatized that even the subject of rape to anyone causes them to wall themselves off. There are others who consider their attackers so inhuman for doing the things they did that they take vindictive pleasure in the concept of their attacker being subjected to what they dished out. There are others who have healed more, who just want it all to stop, and share the same sadness (not horror) that this is perpetuated in prison.

    You see, most of those rapists in prison, if you dig into their past, were sexually abused themselves. Being sexually abused seems to snap something in the brain that allows you to easily see people as "not human". Recovering from that is extremely difficult, and some people turn to a life of crime/abuse as their coping mechanism.

    So my original point stands: it says something about the perspective US citizens (or at least some vocal minorities as I said) have on human dignity. Dehumanization never ends well; forgiveness is MUCH tougher (and some things may never be fully forgiven, especially if the person never really showed any regret or sorrow about what they did), but it's the best way to break the chain.

  • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:28AM (#44644111)

    1. A civilised society provides healthcare to all people, including criminals;

    2. Merely "feeling" something and actually having a gender identity disorder are completely different, and thank you for illustrating why we don't have laypeople either building jet planes or practising medicine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @11:55AM (#44644475)

    Having to pay for a felon's health care is not the same thing as wanting only the rich to be able to afford it. Some people have the belief that the felon earned their situation and so certain procedures may be more elective than others and should not have to be paid for while in jail.

    If there is a suggestion that not getting HRT will actually physically kill him, then perhaps it should be paid for, but it is anything less than life threatening, I don't know that HRT becomes a health care issue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:03PM (#44644575)

    So mutilated is the word now. I'll remember to use that next time I ask a doctor to stitch a wound closed and he trims away some skin.

    Infant circumcision is the deliberate wounding and sexual maiming of a child that removes 1/3 to 1/2 of the penile skin. The foreskin of an adult male is approximately FIFTEEN square inches of erogenous tissue which serves numerous functions throughout a man's lifetime. Not only does cutting up the genitals of healthy individuals without their consent violate human rights, it violates medical ethics to force unnecessary and damaging surgery upon healthy patients.

    But yes, forced genital cutting (whether the victim is male, female, or intersex) is a form of mutilation. Only someone brainwashed into thinking that cutting up the genitals of healthy children is perfectly normal would claim otherwise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:04PM (#44644603)

    When people say they're sucidial, we try to help them not feel suicidal any more.
    When people say they hear voices telling them to kill everyone, we try to help them not hear those voices anymore.
    But for some reason, if a man says he feels like he wants to be a woman, we try to help him pretend he is one, instead of trying to help him not feel that way anymore.
    It's inconsistent.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@world3 . n et> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:08PM (#44644659) Homepage

    Gender is not binary. It isn't controlled or defined by a single physical attribute either. Just look at the difficulty sporting organizations have deciding on a person's gender. Hormones, physical attributes, chromosomes - individually none of them are definitive.

    In some cases people are born with a feminine mind but masculine body. In theory it could be corrected either by making the mind more masculine or the body more feminine, but our understanding of psychology has advanced to the stage where we understanding that trying to alter the mind can be extremely harmful and amount to torture. It's somewhat similar to the old debate about being able to "cure" homosexuality by treating it as a mental illness.

    To address your point about people wanting amputations the key difference is that being male or female is a perfectly natural state in which the human mind can be at ease. Removing limbs is not and usually indicates some other problem, where as gender issues usually just indicate gender issues. Of course, in both cases a trained psychologist has to do all they can to determine what treatment is in the best interest of the patient.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:21PM (#44644815)

    Still mostly a boy's club ... testosterone filled ... many fewer women are interested in the military ... Boys' Club attitude that is the issue

    NO!!! The issue is the foolish effort to mold the military to fit the feminist agenda. For decades, progressives have been slobbering over the idea of using the military system of indoctrination to help order society according to their vision. The purpose of the military is to use force or the threat of force in order to further the country's foreign policy goals not to promote liberal social goals. Feminizing or gayifying the military in a misguided effort to change society at large will prove disastrous to the fitness of the military to perform its legitimate function.

  • by kno3 (1327725) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:23PM (#44644845)
    Of course it is not a remotely typical prison, that is why I chose it. However, it contains some of the worst criminals in Norway.
    I find your view of prisoners rather disheartening, though it is not a surprise. We are all taught to view criminals with a them and us mentality; as if people that haven't been convicted of a crime are morally sound, and those that have are a cancer ruining the rest of society. However the line between them is far more blurred. Indeed, practically all of us would be criminals if the law were omnipresent, fact is that only a tiny percentage of crime is ever dealt with.
    The vast majority of prisoners entering prison are not stab happy psychopaths that will murder everyone around them given the chance. Most of them are decent people that have responded in a predictable manner to the difficult situations they have been in, or possibly have made a extremely bad and uncharacteristic decision under extreme conditions.
    Humans are social animals, and will conform to the surroundings in which they are placed. If you put them into a prison with a system of fear from the guards, a culture of crime from the other inmates, give them no responsibilities, they will behave as such. This is why the recidivism rates are so high. Change the system, change the culture, change the outcomes. Obviously this cannot be done overnight, it will take a long time to undo the damage done by the current system, but it could be done.
    I refer you to an excellent TEDx talk done by Prof Lesley McAra, head of my universities' law school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWEqLcPTv9U [youtube.com]
  • by cold fjord (826450) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:39PM (#44645019)

    "Only" two. Why is it that the US claims to be the best country in the world, but it comfortable sharing a list mainly populated by other shining examples of leading countries, such as North Korea, Thailand and Rwanda?

    You're joking, right? Some random person makes up a list based on unknown data, criteria, and extremely dubious fairness, and the US as a nation should feel humiliated by it? In one of those prisons people were claimed to be engaging in cannibalism. The North Korean prison system is a study [latinospost.com] in atrocity [theguardian.com]. US prisons are nothing like that. I'm reasonably certain that an honest list would have quite a few more prisons on it before getting to US prisons.

    But to help clarify things, let's try a thought experiment:

    A thought experiment list of the worst people that ever lived:
    Stalin
    Pol Pot
    Mao
    SleazyRidr

    Should you feel humiliated? Ashamed? No? Of course you shouldn't! Why? Are you a mass murderer responsible for the death of millions? No. So you don't really fit on that list, do you? Well guess what? Including the US prisons on that list is equal nonsense.

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:41PM (#44645041)

    The correct answer is: the list is bogus.

  • by lgw (121541) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:47PM (#44645115) Journal

    As a general rule, "use some willpower and get over it" is a poor approach for any psychosis. If it merely "bothers you", meh, whatever, but if your day-to-day activities are significantly impeded by your mental state, or you're a danger to yourself or others (a couple of ways of drawing a line between neurosis and psychosis), then treatment is called for. Especially if the root cause is a "hardware problem, not a software problem", willpower isn't going to help.

    Would you really argue that someone who has a problem with psychosis shouldn't take his meds, if meds are available?

  • by deanklear (2529024) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:35PM (#44645773)

    Let's try another thought experiment:

    Which nations on earth operate a stateless prison camp where due process and the Geneva Conventions don't apply?

    Which nations on earth have military commanders that regularly order the assassination of individuals who receive no due process before their death?

    Which nation has the highest number of prisoners, both in raw numbers and per capita?

    In each of those answers, for the first time in her history, you'd have to say the answers include America.

    These crimes are regularly committed by other nations, and they are rightfully called violations of human rights by US Citizens and the government. But when the United States engages in aggressive warfare, a suspension of basic human rights, and a campaign of persecution against individuals, including journalists, who dare to talk about these items, somehow the conversation turns to talking about another nation instead of our own.

    Putin may be a despot, but he is, by all accounts, a superior despot to Stalin. Does that excuse his behavior? Should we wait until he's got a few hundred thousand dead under his belt before we start including him in criticism?

    The abject hypocrisy, ignorance, and hollow patriotism that plagues what's left of American culture is nauseating. Not only is our citizenry unable to have an intelligent conversation about world affairs, but they can't be led by facts or argument to any truth that conflicts with their jingoist worldview.

    But America, especially in this case, has no place for pride. We treat our dissidents as poorly as our culture will allow -- the same as every other nation on earth. It wasn't too long ago that we were putting dissidents to death, or simply murdering unionists in the street back in the 1920s and 1930s.

    Ahh, but who wants to talk about actual history when we can discuss the faults of others? The true mark of any great nation is not how it actually behaves, but only the stories that placate the masses with our nobility and purpose. Our treatment of the powerless, the dissidents, and our enemies can always be justified, as long as we tell ourselves that responsibility and accountability can be abdicated by pointing our finger at a few dead despots.

    Is that the extent of your patriotism? Excusing the nonsensical corporal punishment of a dissident to protect the broken, corrupted, and unjust institutions that run our country by stooping so low as to say it's justified since we kill and torture fewer people?

    "My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death."
    --Twain

  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:44PM (#44645901)

    Alcatraz hasn't been a prison for about 50 years. It is a tourist trap, and you don't want to drop the soap anywhere nearby.

    Whoever made the list had an agenda.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:18PM (#44647737)

    People are allowed opinions on stuff that has not actually happened to them.

    Unless you are a man commenting that abortion might be wrong.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:28PM (#44647869) Journal

    I certainly wish my attacker had been raped in prison, and then killed, so my tax dollars doesn't keep him alive.

    In other words, you want personal revenge, not social justice.

    Which is fine, but prisons are not meant to be the tools of your personal revenge. Aside from your tax dollars, they're also funded by my tax dollars, and I certainly don't want them to be used for torture punishments.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @07:24PM (#44649727)

    You don't realize it, but your joke about olive drab is exactly what he was referring to. You are suggesting putting form before function. That is exactly the opposite of what the military is.

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