I know tons of courageous men. I knew guys in the army that prayed for war and lusted after the chance to jump on a grenade for their friends, or to charge a machine gun nest to the death. And they weren't posers. I saw one of them challenge a knife-wielding crowd of ten vicious guys in a European subway to a scrap. He told them that they'd better get more guys if they want to cut him a new ass, just before the German police saved us; or saved the ten guys, depending on how you like to play the odds.
Are these guys heroes? They have the potential, but it takes a little more than a reckless run to oblivion to be a hero in my book. Dictionary.com defines hero as the bread or roll used to make a hero sandwich...whoops, they give other choices too but I'll define the word in my own way. A hero is a person (OK, maybe Old Yeller) who uses their courage in a moral way to the benefit of society.
So, a soldier who demonstrates great courage in an illegal war wouldn't fit this description. Courage, morality and being beneficial to society. These three tenets don't often come together unless one is surrounded by scallywags.
Luckily for Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, scallywags abound, and the opportunity to face life in prison, knocked. Let's examine if they meet the 3 criteria for a hero.
Manning was an army private who had access to loads of data that was potentially damaging to very bad, but very powerful people. It must've taken courage to operate against the interest of the above mentioned scallywags. Manning showed in writing that dirty and dangerous people controlled his society with lies and murder. The danger proved to be 35 years in prison that Manning is currently serving.
Assange is the journalist/publisher known for receiving Manning's data and dumping the raw, unedited script on the internet. He's holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy and faces probably false allegations of rape and the rest of his life at the Club Fed Institution for Re-education. Prison.
It's very unfunny that the FBI gathered enormous amounts of evidence that Hillary Clinton passed state secrets to China and violated countless laws on handling classified documents, yet they couldn't find a reason to indict her. More than 40 people who were intimately associated with the Clinton's are prematurely dead. Nothing to see here, folks. Go back to your homes and lights out in ten minutes. Yet, Assange had a non-violent he-said, she-said-later romp with with a young lady and he's public enemy number one. It is this dynamic of never-guilty-no-matter-what vs you're-guilty-if-we-accuse-you that helps many a brave soul reach inward for heroism.
Edward Snowden fully understood that he would be smashed under the boot of state if he got caught enlightening the minions. He left a lucrative job and easy lifestyle to show people that there is no doubt that their government is evil and commits illegal acts as a matter of routine. He gave up his lifestyle and headed to Russia. I'm sure he realizes that the long arm of injustice can go far past the U.S. borders. His life is in peril every day. For Snowden, Russia may be one massive gulag guarded by the Americans. There can be no escape.
All of these men faced or are facing situations that took huge courage. The founding fathers of America spoke often about the dangers of a secret society. Shining a light on such a society is obviously moral, beneficial and in line with what America was intended to be. The filthy government-worshipping thugs who would imprison Assange, Manning or Snowden would've imprisoned Paul Revere or Thomas Jefferson. The way you stand on these people says far more about you than it does about them. You may be the reason we need heroes.
Dennis has been to 35 countries and carried a gun in most of them. He's worked as a soldier, policeman and intelligence operator before and during the Bosnian war. When looking into the abyss, he found that it has several faces and names that can and should be identified. A Henchman's Honor tells the story of his path to discovery and blows the lid off the organization of evil.