Chelsea Manning is a former U.S. Army private who gave tens of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Convicted of a capital offense, "aiding the enemy," Manning was imprisoned in 2010 and later pardoned by former President Barack Obama in late 2016. Manning, then known as Bradley, also had a sex change while in prison.
The now-freed Manning has become a hero of the political Left. Signifying as much, Manning will feature in Vogue magazine's September issue.
On Thursday, Vogue published its article and profile photo. The "Women's March" group summed up the liberal Twitter reaction.
For the Left, Manning is truly "everything." From Vogue, we learn that Manning once was a man, then a woman, and is now a demigod. Consider this paragraph.
"[Manning is] standing, greeting new faces from all sides, thanking, thanking some more. Her left arm is crossed over her belly, cradling her opposite elbow, which is straight. When Beyonce's "Love on Top" begins its climbing modulations, she uncrosses her arms and begins — mindlessly, flirtatiously — with the charm on her gold necklace, drawing it back and forth between her thumb and forefinger. She sways. She lets herself lean forward, laughing at a joke. When her newest friend wanders away, she turns around and smiles."
Vogue also lies about what Manning did. Most damning is that it praises her for leaking "the so-called Collateral Murder video, showing a U.S. helicopter killing a group of Baghdad pedestrians that included children and press."
This is what we nowadays call fake news. The video in question does not show the killing of "Baghdad pedestrians." On the contrary, as I've noted previously, it shows the lawful targeting of insurgents armed with rifles and a grenade launcher. Those "Baghdad pedestrians" were threatening a U.S. Army unit that suffered one of the highest casualty rates of any unit in Iraq (read David Finkel's The Good Soldiers).
Regardless, like so many thousands of these leaks, this video allowed American enemies to misrepresent the truth for propaganda effect.
Still, the Left's reaction to #ManninginVogue is hypocritical for another reason. While they now rightly attack Russian intelligence operations against the United States, they conveniently forget who Manning actually leaked to.
It was WikiLeaks, that favorite cutout intermediary of the Russian intelligence services.
You can't make this up, but Vogue can.
After all, this isn't the first time the magazine has rendered heroism out of villainy. In 2012, as Bashar al-Assad slaughtered his people, Vogue profiled his wife, Asma. She is, Vogue said, "the rose in the desert."
This September, if you see Chelsea Manning's vibrant smile on a newsstand, spare a thought for those who served the nation better than she did. A thought for those like Byron Fouty and Alex Jiminez, who were tortured and murdered by the Islamic State of Iraq. This September will be the 10th anniversary of their deaths.
Don't expect their families to get a profile in Vogue. They won't be smiling, fidgeting, or flirting.