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.

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  1. Don’t you think that this argument is a little bit one-dimensional? Yes, he is probably not such an appropriate speaker to invite at military bases or federal agencies, but at a university? Obama would not have released him if he just considered him a “traitor” — if you don’t really see how his act had intended at least a certain level of greater public good, perhaps it’s time to see the other side for a little. Your sentiment as a member of the armed forces does make sense, but this may come off to a lot of people as an extension of Trump’s tweets. I had hoped that words from Brown students would be a little bit more profound and insightful than them.

  2. TheShapeOfThings says:

    I am a terrorist. Mostly because my right to speak is subject to interpretation by the authorities having juridiction and thier willingness listen.

    If a person speaks and their speech is bad, it does not reflect on the audience. The thrashing floor that decides which speech is good or bad is public discourse.

    When I am told not to listen because the person is accused of something, I am more interested in their opinions than yours, though I’d like to hear yours too. About the speech, not the speaker.

  3. TheShapeOfThings says:

    I had to explain to my employer that I could not give them my address because the last time they had it, they destroyed my home and I have not had one since.

    As a citizen, this is not a good time to shut up and wave the flag.

  4. TheShapeOfThings says:

    I had a good idea what was in the Rhode Island state constitution when I was being molested in my home by people who also swore to uphold it.

  5. TheShapeOfThings says:

    According to my beliefs that might be considered religous, sex change is folly. We are all predominantly female to begin with. Enough so that their is no difinitive line separating the two in whole.

    What you do is what separate’s or unites you with others. Neither by itself is good or bad.

  6. Man with Axe says:

    I think Chelsea Manning is a good fit at Brown because he almost finished one semester at a community college, and he seems to be good at punctuating his writing with emojis. Don’t hold his treason against him. At Brown that is a feature, not a bug. I agree with him that every PFC (did he achieve that esteemed rank?) should be allowed to choose which of our government’s secrets should be shared with our enemies.

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