Dear Vogue: Quit Hyperventilating Over Bradley Manning

Dear Vogue: Quit Hyperventilating Over Bradley Manning

Yesterday, when I wrote about Bradley Manning and his “this is what freedom looks like” bathing suit photo, I mentioned the shot came from an article in Vogue magazine. I have to say I was shocked that a fashion mag that normally focuses on borderline anorexic women with makeup that looks like it’s been applied with a garden hose and wearing clothing that’s supposed to be fashionable, but looks like it was rejected by hobos at Grand Central Station, would so zealously throb over a paunchy, pasty, doughy woman wannabe.

But here they are, fervently fawning over what they describe as a “graceful, blue-eyed trans,” reverentially reporting on the fashionable dress, the pixie haircut, and the oh-so-vogue party with the oh-so-fashionable atmosphere, the heroic “coming out,” and the oh-so-difficult life poor little Bradley had when his father left his family and his mother became an alcoholic!

Because that’s rare.

In Manning’s telling, strength was a necessity before it was a choice.


“I had to learn how to do all of this stuff with my mother and also deal with the friction between my parents,” says Manning. “I loved them both, but they were angry at each other. I always felt like I was doing something wrong and I had caused it.”

Because Manning is the only person in the world to have had a difficult childhood. What a hero!

“I don’t know who I am,” she recalls in the park. “Maybe the military will allow me to figure that out.” She looks out toward the river. “It was a naive thought, but it was very real to me in 2007.”

Here’s the problem. Manning joined the Army to figure himself out. He joined the Army for himself – as if the military and the country owed him some psychoanalysis. He didn’t join to serve. He didn’t join out of any sense of duty. He selfishly thought the Army would fix him, and that’s not what the military is there to do.

Bradley Manning wasn’t strong, no matter what Vogue would have you believe. He had neither strength of character, nor physical strength. He was a substandard recruit, and a bitter, disgruntled soldier, according to Jay B. Huwieler, who attended Basic Training with Manning at Ft. Leonard Wood.

Every recruit had the same packing list with the same items in that green duffel bag. They all weighed the same amount. Whether you were 6’4” or 5’4”, male or female, all recruits had to carry their own weight. Understand, that no one breezes through this exercise – everybody hurts, everyone drops their bag at least once, and everyone pays the price for it, including myself. During this exercise, Manning’s problem wasn’t that she was too small or not strong enough. The problem was, she quit. As the rest of the platoon faced one way, gritting their teeth and baring it, whispering words of encouragement to each other, she stood at an about-face the opposite direction, and said she simply could not pick up her own bag.

Huwieler’s story goes on to describe a troop who went out of his way to screw his buddies – a term commonly referred to as a Blue Falcon (Buddy F*cker) – and a soldier who made no effort, but instead chose to simply give up and cry “I can’t” when the going got tough. This was a soldier who was selfish and thought himself better than the rest. Manning thought he was special. He flouted the rules and bragged about it, according to Huwieler.

Sound familiar?

“i was a short (still am), very intelligent (could read at 3 and multiply / divide by 4), very effeminate, and glued to a computer screen at these young ages [MSDOS / Windows 3.1 timeframe]…” he described himself to hacker Adrian Lamo in an internet conversation.

He described his fellow soldiers as “a bunch of hyper-masculine trigger happy ignorant rednecks” in that same conversation.

He was mentally unstable and prone to fits of rage, according to former Specialist Jihrleah Showman, who supervised Manning in Iraq.

She tells Pelley that even before the unit deployed to Iraq, she had grave concerns about Manning. His behavior was erratic, she says, and he told her he had “no allegiance” to America. But when she tried to alert her superiors, she says, she was told they couldn’t afford to lose someone with a valuable top-secret clearance.

In Iraq, Manning was prone to fits of rage, Showman says, even punching her at one point. She says she also saw him bring CDs and a camera into a high-security intelligence vault, where classified material was kept.

Still not a woman

Still think Manning is some kind of tragic hero, Vogue?

I guess it’s OK for a guy to punch a woman in the face like he did to Showman, as long as said guy later identifies as having plumbing he doesn’t have.

How liberating.

When President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence (note: Manning was not pardoned), he claimed Manning “has served a tough prison sentence.”


You know what’s tough? Having your life threatened by the Taliban, because some disgruntled, spindly punk revealed you had cooperated with coalition forces in Afghanistan.

You know what’s tough? Being an intelligence analyst on the Pentagon task force, assigned to assess the damage an unstable, neurotic, selfish narcissist did by releasing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, incident reports, tactics, techniques, and procedures, working round the clock, away from family, rushing to brief policy makers in order to help them make informed decisions.

You know what’s tough? Having your name exposed by a whining, sniveling attention whore for speaking to U.S. Embassy personnel in China or another such tyrannical hole. What do you think happened to that poor schmuck who was revealed to have been giving information to U.S. diplomats?

Sitting in a jail cell, pining for hormones is not tough.

If Manning has struggled, as Vogue claims, it was a struggle of his own making.

And I still refuse to call him a woman.

Written by

Marta Hernandez is an immigrant, writer, editor, science fiction fan (especially military sci-fi), and a lover of freedom, her children, her husband and her pets. She loves to shoot, and range time is sacred, as is her hiking obsession, especially if we’re talking the European Alps. She is an avid caffeine and TWD addict, and wants to own otters, sloths, wallabies, koalas, and wombats when she grows up.

  • Brian Swisher says:

    Please review the difference between “flaunt” and “flout”.

    • Marta Hernandez says:

      I do know the difference, but it’s been a long week, and brain unfortunately wasn’t fully engaged last night. Thank you for assuming my ignorance, though.

      It’s fixed, and I appreciate you catching that.

  • Bradley Manning is a sad, pathetic traitor, who is likely mentally ill. Not so ill to be excused for his crimes, but ill enough to ensure he will be miserable until he deals with it. I am sorry he has issues over gender. I doubt gender reassignment will fix what is wrong with him. He can do it if he wishes, but to encourage him is almost the equivalent of yelling “jump” to a person in crisis on a ledge.

  • GWB says:

    In Manning’s telling, strength was a necessity before it was a choice.

    No, this trans thing is not “strength”. It’s actually failing to stand up to your issues. It’s caving to your feelings when reality says they might not actually be valid.

    Here’s the problem. Manning joined the Army to figure himself out.

    Well, honestly, a LOT of people in history have joined the military to “figure themselves out”. And, for the vast majority of them, it worked out pretty well. They learned some discipline, got themselves in shape, and left their narcissistic egos somewhere on the assault course, probably caught on some concertina wire. His joining the military wasn’t his problem – it was the fact they didn’t force him to leave his narcissistic ego somewhere in Boot Camp.

    and said she simply could not pick up her own bag.

    So, he was already a feminist – a victim who had to be accommodated, rather than strengthened and made self-sufficient.

    he told her he had “no allegiance” to America. … someone with a valuable top-secret clearance

    He never should have had that clearance. Hell, he shouldn’t have had a Secret one! (And *everyone* gets a Secret clearance, practically.) THIS is where the real problem lay. No one in the chain of command would acknowledge the obvious problem and deal with it.

    She says she also saw him bring CDs and a camera into a high-security intelligence vault, where classified material was kept.

    At that point, I would have simply called the MPs. I would have dialed up the IG and told him what I saw. I would have emailed everyone in the chain of command and told them. If I was the supervisor, I would have written a reprimand, and insisted on delivering it in the Division Commander’s office.

    who is likely absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt mentally ill

    FIFY, Evi L.

    Until he gains a measure of true humility and he repents of the evil he committed, I won’t even hold any sympathy for his “struggles” in life. He has to grow up.

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