Tahlequah Daily Press


August 26, 2013

‘Treatment’ for Manning should have its limits

TAHLEQUAH — Public opinion about Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s decision to funnel classified information to WikiLeaks runs the gamut. Some may admire him for trying to promote a more transparent society – one the U.S. claims to uphold but seldom practices. Others may view him as a traitor, who leaked sensitive documents that could place American lives in danger.

But whether Manning is ultimately labeled a “terrorist” or a “freedom fighter,” yet another venue has been added to this three-ring circus, thanks to the revelations about his gender identity.

Though most Americans following this case were unaware that Manning considers himself a woman – by name of “Chelsea” – he was apparently diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” in May 2010, just before he was snared and accused of unloading thousands of top-secret documents.

Given the timing, even the most cynical among us can be forgiven for wondering if Manning saw the writing on the wall, and is now using his situation to complete his gender reassignment on the tab of the U.S. military – in other words, the taxpayers.

Manning’s case will undoubtedly be used to shine a spotlight on transgendered people, by both detractors and supporters. Indeed, it is an issue that is still not well understood, and evokes sometimes irrational fear among those who aren’t educated on the subject.

So some might argue that if his predicament fosters a greater understanding, there could be a silver lining in this otherwise black cloud.

But that does not mean taxpayers should have to foot the bill for his hormone replacement surgery, or further down the road, any reassignment surgery he and his attorney might deem necessary.

In fact, although the Army has said Manning will receive mental health counseling, officials have said the “leaker” will not be privy to these specialized treatments.

Naturally, Manning’s attorney has said he’ll fight this policy. But to many folks on both the liberal and conservative end of the spectrum, Manning shouldn’t be entitled to these procedures any more than another man would be allowed to have, say, facial plastic surgery because his “ugliness” may have prompted him to commit a crime.

And while it’s true that others will see that as a poor comparison, they may still argue that prisoners should only receive basic health care, not the “luxuries” most of their law-abiding peers can ill afford these days.

If Manning wants to be referred to by the female pronoun, and if a charitable organization wants to contribute to his gender reassignment treatment, that’s one thing.

But asking taxpayers to contribute is another matter altogether. This issue is one that will be hotly debated in the coming months, and perhaps years.

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  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014


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