I enjoyed Joyce McMillan’s piece on Bradley Manning (Perspective, 2 August) which was, as is usual with her columns, well written and thought provoking.
The part about the childish simplifying of “good guys and bad guys” and the labelling of Manning as a bad guy, for speaking out as his conscience dictated, was particularly depressing.
I was struck by the picture used to accompany the article. It shows a small, pale young man, gently smiling in the military uniform of his country with his name pinned prominently to the front so he is known to all who meet him.
Accompanying him are two large, unsmiling men, in caps and dark glasses to help obscure their identity, in casual plain clothes, escorting the handcuffed Manning. There is no indication of their identity, their role, their authority or indeed which organisation they are controlled by. It seems bizarre that a military trial should have anything other than uniformed staff carrying out the process. Presumably these are members of the “military-industrial establishment” of the companies Joyce McMillan speaks of, who seem to have a considerable dubious influence in American military endeavours.
To the simplistic, childish viewer, steeped in the stereotypes of “good guys and bad guys” from film and TV, it is clear who appears to be the bad guy in that picture and that is not Bradley Manning.