The Path to Peace: Why Not the Manning Way?

by Joe Scarry

Okay, I’ll go out on a limb here and say I think there will be an announcement tomorrow awarding the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to Chelsea Manning.

I sat down last night and gave it a good think. I asked myself if I wasn’t just engaging in wishful thinking. I did a mental survey of the globe to see if there was some other obvious candidate I was missing. But I kept coming back to the fact that the information released by Manning played such a big role in the people power movements of the past three years, which in turn have been so important to leading us away from the armed conflicts spawned by too-powerful states, that Manning just seems to be the obvious candidate.

The fact that Manning has paid a huge price for this contribution heightens the appropriateness of this choice.

Most significant of all: Manning’s action has defined a principle that can guide peacemakers everywhere:

“I believed that if the general public… had access to the information contained within the [Iraq and Afghan War Logs] this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.” (Quoted in the July 25, 2013 full page New York Times ad sponsored by Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network.) 

The Manning Principle has come to stand for the proposition that it is the moral nature of the broad mass of people that offers hope to peace, and that it is this that we should turn to and rely upon in our peacemaking efforts.

Maybe my prediction will be borne out tomorrow; maybe not. But isn’t the more important question, “In whom and in what should we be putting our faith?” If not in Manning — and the Manning Principle — then in whom and in what?

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