According to the New York Times, Private Bradley Manning lip-synched to "Lady Gaga as he copied hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables." That's a fitting image for an America in decline under Barack Obama.
Obama said again this week that the introduction of an openly homosexual culture into the military poses no threat to its discipline, even as his administration reeled from a blatant instance of it. Manning, a homosexual resentful of the military's constraints, is the source for the WikiLeaks scandal. Naturally, the media is downplaying that aspect of the story, lest it complicate the left's relentless propaganda in favor of abolishing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
One might have thought an administration massively compromised by a homosexual soldier would have chosen another week to rev up its gays-in-the-military agenda. But, no, that is a vital priority of this administration during the lame-duck session, according to Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs. Who knows, perhaps the Obama administration will even end up citing Manning's conduct in its convoluted case for abolishing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
The New York Times' August profile of Manning rehearsed that argument:
He spent part of his childhood with his father in the arid plains of central Oklahoma, where classmates made fun of him for being a geek. He spent another part with his mother in a small, remote corner of southwest Wales, where classmates made fun of him for being gay.
Then he joined the Army, where, friends said, his social life was defined by the need to conceal his sexuality under "don't ask, don't tell" and he wasted brainpower fetching coffee for officers.
The line of reasoning that the military "forces gays to live a lie" has been picked up by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "We spend a lot of time in the military talking about integrity and honor and values," he said on Tuesday. "One of the things that is most important to me is personal integrity, and a policy or a law that in effect requires people to lie gives me a problem."
This debate is confusing, since the "conservative" position now is to defend Bill Clinton's policy, which principled conservatives at the time opposed as a foolish relaxation of military entrance standards. They predicted that that crack in the door would lead to it being kicked wide open, and in the meantime would result in time-wasting, morale-sapping ambiguities for a military that should be wholly focused on winning wars.
But in Washington the Solomonic solution to any bad policy is to make it even worse. It is never to go back to the original policy that shouldn't have been changed in the first place. Supporting the original policy is deemed too unrealistic and quixotic to be included within the media-determined parameters of the debate. That's why in the tiresome trajectory of this issue Bill Clinton's compromise has now somehow become the "bigoted" view and all the problems associated with the compromise are assigned to the very conservatives who warned of them.
That the Obama administration at a time of terrorism and in the wake of its electoral debacle continues to beat this drum is more evidence of its radicalism, which makes the WikiLeaks scandal a very unkind cut. The Obama administration still doesn't understand why a Bill Ayers-style anarchist, Julian Assange, and a homosexual soldier would have been gunning for it. Why, the attitude of some baffled liberals seems to be, couldn't they have waited for a Republican administration? In a different era, under a different president, Assange would be a hero to them. One could even imagine Obama writing a favorable blurb for a book of his on free speech.
And where were the free-speech liberals this week during the controversy at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.? It turns out that American taxpayers have been financing a very important contribution to the arts called "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," which is billed as the first exploration of "same-sex" portraits ever at a national museum. One of the exhibit's works showed a crucified Jesus Christ covered in ants. John Boehner drew attention to this peculiar Christmas season display and it was quickly taken down without much protest from Democrats or members of the administration. They were evidently too busy hiding Manning and seeking Assange to care.