Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Traitors don’t make good fellows

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

To the Editor:

It is disheartening to read that Brown students want to offer Chelsea Manning a visiting fellowship at the Watson Institute (“Ricci GS, Hemmatian Borujeni GS: Invite Chelsea Manning to Watson,” Jan. 24). I’m all for controversy. Invite Ray Kelly, Rick Ross and Milo Yiannopoulos to talk. Let them challenge your perspectives and meet them with your hard questions and your picket lines. That’s what we do.

But offering a fellowship, an invitation into our community? This is someone who was charged with aiding the enemy during wartime. Julius Rosenberg and Benedict Arnold are similarly qualified. Manning has no academic credentials to speak of. This is someone whose claim to fame was releasing 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks, an organization complicit in subverting the 2016 U.S. election in concert with Russian intelligence.

In no sense was Manning’s leak a victimless crime. As the New Yorker reported in August, hundreds of Afghan people were identified in documents released to the public. The military tried to notify them and limit the damage “but many could not be found, or were in environments too dangerous to reach. Their fate is unknown.” Who we invite to speak displays the quality of our discourse. Who we invite to teach displays the quality of our character.

Walker Mills ’15

Note: The author is currently forward deployed as an active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces.