September 15, 2017

The Dean of Harvard Kennedy School tells you you're wrong if you think the title "Visiting Fellow" is an honorific.

It's not and never has been, according to the "Statement from Dean Elmendorf regarding the invitation to Chelsea Manning to be a Visiting Fellow."
In general across the School, we do not view the title of “Fellow” as conveying a special honor; rather, it is a way to describe some people who spend more than a few hours at the School.... We did not intend to honor her in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds, as we do not honor or endorse any Fellow.
But this strong assertion that "fellow" is not an honorific is not enough. People think it is, and though Elmendorf has told them they are wrong, he apparently can't insist that these wrongheaded people shape up and get it right. He bows to their wrongness:
But I see more clearly now that many people view a Visiting Fellow title as an honorific, so we should weigh that consideration when offering invitations... Any determination should start with the presumption that more speech is better than less. In retrospect, though, I think my assessment of that balance for Chelsea Manning was wrong. Therefore, we are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a Visiting Fellow—and the perceived honor that it implies to some people—while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum.
In nonacademic contexts, the word "fellow" distinctly refers to a man. Perhaps calling Chelsea Manning a "fellow" seemed discordant for gender-related reasons. I'm noticing it anyway and feel a bit offended that such a masculine word is used (or felt) as an honorific.

Anyway, in the academic context, the OED defines "fellow" as "an honorary title conferred by some universities and colleges upon distinguished graduates or other persons" but also "A holder of a certain type of fixed-term academic position or fellowship, which is typically stipendiary and held on condition of pursuing a specified branch of study." So I think Elmendorf's assertion is believable... or at least I think it would be believable if he'd refrained from withdrawing the title. Why cave in to people who are wrong?

Perhaps Chelsea Manning should not have been invited to speak with the students at all. But the decision there was that intellectual diversity and more speech are good and should be part of the university. If you really believe that, stand on principle, don't make it part of a compromise with something you think is false.

135 comments:

Big Mike said...

The dean is not very good at covering his ass, is he?

MadisonMan said...

Chelsea Manning could offer interesting viewpoints to College Students -- I think that an invitation to speak is worthwhile.

Also, people who organize Forums want buzz. And Manning gives buzz, generating interest that might spur a lethargic undergrad to get up off the couch and go to the Forum.

I don't understand the need to throw a title at someone who is coming in for a day to give a talk. That's silly.

Comanche Voter said...

Harvard has a long tradition of listening to or honoring or accepting traitors. Alger Hiss comes to mind, so why not Chelsea nee Bradley Manning?

Harvard's "momma" should be ashamed of her boy.

MadisonMan said...

More from the Crimson.

Robert Cook said...

What a hypocrite and coward!

Even for those who deplore Manning's actions--I think she is a hero, and acted more honorably than anyone in government who planned and prosecuted America's ruinous War of Terror--Manning served seven years in prison. She has paid her debt to society, and should be accorded the same opportunities to function and be heard as anyone else.

Curious George said...

"In nonacademic contexts, the word "fellow" distinctly refers to a man."

In Manning's case it is 100% accurate. What's with all this "her" bullshit?

MadisonMan said...

For all I've read about this in the last 10 minutes, it's still not clear to me if Manning is being paid to appear. I assume some kind of honorarium/travel expense thing is happening though.

The UW has Visiting Fellow, or Honorary Fellows, or some such title (I was one once, while changing jobs, long ago) -- but it conveys no money.

Robert Cook said...

"Harvard has a long tradition of listening to or honoring or accepting traitors. Alger Hiss comes to mind...."

A new book provides a compelling case that Hiss was framed.

Unknown said...

we live in an absurd world when harvard gives a visiting fellowship to manning--especially if the meaning fellow has no meaning. speaking of "manning," I hope the good professor does a quick analysis of why manning has not changed that name...exmanning

David Begley said...

The Harvard endowment is $34 billion. It can do anything it wants. Why does it even charge students a dime?

zipity said...

"Perhaps Chelsea Manning should not have been invited to speak with the students at all. But the decision there was that intellectual diversity and more speech are good and should be part of the university. If you really believe that, stand on principle, don't make it part of a compromise with something you think is false. "

The administrators at Berkley and numerous other bastions of "higher" learning and "free" speech were unavailable for comment...

Curious George said...

"A new book provides a compelling case that Hiss was framed."

To commie morons perhaps.

Ralph L said...

Call it a Mannthing.

She has paid her debt to society
Tell that to Pollard, or any of the others in prison.
When I had a clearance, we had to read stories of the little people who'd been caught, convicted, and given long sentences for things much smaller than what it did.

Robert Cook said...

Curious George's remark shows his nom de plume is a lie.

Ralph L said...

Oxbridge fellows had to remain unmarried in Trollope.

campy said...

though Elmendorf has told them they are wrong, he apparently can't insist that these wrongheaded people shape up and get it right.

He's a Harvard dean. Of course he can.

Curious George said...

"Curious George's remark shows his nom de plume is a lie."

To commie morons perhaps.

Robert Cook said...

"'She has paid her debt to society'

"Tell that to Pollard, or any of the others in prison."


Persons convicted of crimes receive different sentences for similar or identical offenses all the time. Many receive parole earlier than others, and some are pardoned or receive commutations of their sentences. This does not mean those whose sentences were abbreviated did not service their debt to society. It means their debt was considered satisfied.

Chuck said...

This was a really great post, Althouse, until your last three paragraphs.

Let's be a bit clearer and simpler; on a day when you posted another really great post about diversity of views (with conservatism being an essentially discriminated-against view in formal academia) and protecting speech (from progressive activists on campus) in academia, we ought to be protective of the right of Private Manning to speak. So, yeah.

But Harvard was caught with their pants down, in extending a title to Manning. Period. A felon and a traitor. Who endangered American lives and damaged American military and intelligence operations. And indeed Harvard's original announcement of Manning's fellowship was couched in a lot of bullshit about Manning's great expertise in cyber affairs (really?!? -- a Private?) and also what a great transgender role model he/she/it was. It's all this transgender bullshit, I think, that Harvard loved. In terms of high-level cyber security, Manning is a low-level crook.

exiledonmainstreet said...

What diversity does a left-wing traitor bring to left-wing Harvard?

tcrosse said...

Persons convicted of crimes receive different sentences for similar or identical offenses all the time. Many receive parole earlier than others, and some are pardoned or receive commutations of their sentences.

They cut off his dick, so he was released with time served.

Laslo Spatula said...

How Chelsea Manning sees herself. By Alicia Neal, in cooperation with Manning herself, commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support Network, April 23, 2014.[218][219]


Reminds me of this person.

I am Laslo.

Ray said...

I am surprised Harvard backed down.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

A holder of a certain type of fixed-term academic position...

Apparently, when it came to Bradley Manning, fellow was not a fixed term...

The Drill SGT said...

Manning is known for one professional thing and one personal thing. Given that the inviting entity is the "Kennedy School of Government ", I, for one, assume they are honoring and inviting her to speak on her professional service, which is in my opinion, as a traitor.

Ralph L said...

The FBI interviews & studies serial killers in order to catch others, but I doubt Harvard has that attitude.

Chuck said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
What diversity does a left-wing traitor bring to left-wing Harvard?

+1. Things I wish I wrote...

MayBee said...

My favorite part from Harvard says the audience would have had time to "challenge the speaker" and ask her hard questions about what she'd done.

As if that's what the Harvard students would do!!! Hahahhahahah!

MayBee said...

I find it hilarious that the same people celebrate Manning and accuse Wikileaks of working for Russia to defeat Clinton.

Kevin said...

In general across the School, we do not view the title of “Fellow” as conveying a special honor; rather, it is a way to describe some people who spend more than a few hours at the School....

So the homeless who live on campus should rightly be called Fellows?

Molly said...

Could Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg have escaped execution (in the 21st century) if they had had sex-change operations? Although still universally condemned for their crimes, they would have had considerable sympathy as pioneers in the "trans" world. I think this explains the ambivalence about Chelsea Manning.

Chuck said...

Just for the fun of it, I wanted to remind everybody that the latest American cyber-traitor, Reality Winner, has been caught (allegedly) speaking with her mother on a recorded jail cell call, telling her mother to "go nuclear with the press; that's how Manning got out."

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/448496/reality-winner-sympathized-terrorists-wanted-burn-white-house-down

gspencer said...

"it is a way to describe some people who spend more than a few hours at the School"

So the school's custodian crew, they're all "Fellows," right?

Bob Boyd said...

Doesn't naming someone a fellow say, "You're one of us"?
Which at Harvard would seem to convey a certain status.

Maybe it's flattery employed as a lure.
"Let's study this creature. How do we get it into the lab?"
"We use the F word. Works every time."

Ralph L said...

So the school's custodian crew, they're all "Fellows," right?

More likely, they call them "boys."

Rusty said...


"The Dean of Harvard Kennedy School tells you you're wrong if you think the title "Visiting Fellow" is an honorific."

So it's a punishment?

Sorry, Bob. Rewriting history isn't going to make a pig a horse.

Sebastian said...

"If you really believe that, stand on principle," In the context of a post about a university administrator, that's very funny.

Christopher said...

He is a traitor and should still be rotting in prison.

As for why Harvard backed down, they probably figured that any benefits from the brief buzz created by having a mentally ill criminal speak at their school would be outweighed by the harm resulting from national Intel. and LE officals refusing to work with them.

Places like Harvard don't need media buzz to survive, their bread and butter is prestige and status. Having the former head of the CIA teach your students provides that, having a delusional felon give a speech doesn't.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...In nonacademic contexts, the word "fellow" distinctly refers to a man.

Does it?
"Professor Althouse, as a fellow lover of both precision and word origins, are you certain that word distinctly refers to a man?"

I know, I know; you mean when used strictly as a noun. I'm sure phrases like "fellow traveler" aren't within the scope of your assertion, either.

Anyway Dictionary.com has:
Origin - late Old English fēolaga ‘a partner or colleague’ (literally ‘one who lays down money in a joint enterprise’), from Old Norse félagi, from félag ‘partnership’ from fé ‘cattle, property, money’ + lag ‘a laying down,’ from the Germanic base of lay

heyboom said...

If he was simply an ordinary transgender then I wouldn't have a problem with it. But he is more than that. He is a convicted felon, spy and traitor who has no remorse whatsoever for his crime. Instead, he celebrates it as if he is some kind of hero.

What positive message could he possibly send to the students?

Darrell said...

Hiss was framed (in spite of the Soviet documents showing he was a paid agent, obtained after the fall of the Soviet Union.) Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were innocent. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were innocent.

--Shit the Left claims to believe (but actually doesn't.)

PB said...

Chelsea Manning is merely a sideshow act in the great carnival of progressive politics.

Amadeus 48 said...

My read of Ellmandorf: he did think it was an honorific but he doesn't want to admit that his critics are right. I'd tag his whole statement with "things not believed".

If the Kennedy School wants to hear from Chelsea Manning, that is fine, but I don't believe that a maladjusted traitor who got the US Army to pay for his/her sex change operation and whose actions led to the harm of US personnel deserves that platform. This fellow (I use the term loosely) was sentenced to 35 years but Obama decided to play to the transgender community and let him/her out (conveniently after the US taxpayers had spent tens of thousands on his/her transformation).

Jersey Fled said...

I have absolutely no problem with Chelsea being invited to speak and being designated a Visiting Fellow.

As long as those on the conservative side are given the same treatment.

Methinks that isn't about to happen.

Bad Lieutenant said...

--Shit the Left claims to believe (but actually doesn't.)



If Alger Hiss weren't a traitor, the Left would have no interest in him.

Ann Althouse said...

If you had to pick one word to be a synonym for "fellow" — one word, across all the meanings and going back to the Swedish root — the word would be "partner."

Not Sure said...

Junior Fellow of Harvard University? Huge career boost to a new PhD.

Senior Fellow of Harvard University? Creme de la creme of the HU faculty.

Visiting Fellow at the K-School? Meaningless. Why would anyone think otherwise?

Makes total sense, given the worthlessness of the K-School in general.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Jersey Fled said...Jersey Fled said...
I have absolutely no problem with Chelsea being invited to speak and being designated a Visiting Fellow.

As long as those on the conservative side are given the same treatment.

Methinks that isn't about to happen.


Sean Spicer is a Visiting Fellow in the same cohort.

What you should say instead is "I'm ok with Harvard designating Manning a Visiting Fellow even though Manning is a convicted felon and traitor who many believe intentionally harmed the nation and/or endangered our military, just as long as they treat someone in a similar situation (in the public eye) but not on the Left in the same way." There aren't many examples, but someone like Oliver North probably works. If Harvard is ok with Manning they should be ok with North.

A quick search of North and Harvard fellow returns nothing. So you still have a point!

Chuck said...

Jersey Fled said...
I have absolutely no problem with Chelsea being invited to speak and being designated a Visiting Fellow.

As long as those on the conservative side are given the same treatment.

Methinks that isn't about to happen

I am pondering the comparison between Chelsea Manning and John Yoo.

John Yoo is a professor at Cal-Berkeley's Boalt Hall Law School. Yoo is an accomplished legal scholar and former attorney in the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush Administration. Along with current US Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee, Yoo helped author what the left wing media branded as "the torture memos."

His Wikipedia page is pretty good, I think. Appropriately detailed and, on balance, fair:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Yoo

I confess; I am something of a John Yoo fan.

Yoo has been protested, of course. And attacked in an unusually vicious way by successors in the Obama-era OLC. But he's held his academic status.

And just as obvious is the fact that while Chelsea Manning is a person of no academic substance, John Yoo is.

n.n said...

Neo-female. All traitor. Sure, let him speak, with full disclosure.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Chuck said...Just for the fun of it, I wanted to remind everybody that the latest American cyber-traitor, Reality Winner, has been caught (allegedly) speaking with her mother on a recorded jail cell call, telling her mother to "go nuclear with the press; that's how Manning got out."

Thanks for the link, Chuck; I had not read that. I have not been following Winner's case closely (seems like it's not getting a ton of mainstream coverage, huh), mostly because it seems like such an open-and-shut case that I can't imagine her beating the charges (based on what has been alleged so far, anyway). Her assertion to her mother, sadly enough, is largely correct though. It's her bad fortune that the Media & Left likely don't see her as useful in the way championing a Left identity-politics all star like Manning is.

Robert Cook said...Even for those who deplore Manning's actions--[...]Manning served seven years in prison. She has paid her debt to society, and should be accorded the same opportunities to function and be heard as anyone else.

Manning was senteced to 35 years and would have first been eligible for praole after 11 and a half. Manning was incarcerated for less than two thrids of the time Manning should have served, at a minimum (assuming parole and immediate release at the first opportunity), based on Manning's conviction on more than a dozen charges. Despite what Manning and Manning's lawyers said when peadling guilty to some charges, at the sentencing hearing, when applying for clemency, and when applying for a pardon or commutation, this person cearly feels that they essentially did nothing wrong and deserves the renown and respect the Media and Left are giving them.

"Manning served her time!" No.

Chuck said...

Hoodlum -- I like the Oliver North / Chelsea Manning comparison. (Except North's multiple felony convictions were vacated after an appeal, on the basis that the Congressional immunity deal was screwed up and tainted the trial.)

But again, North had a position of substance in the Reagan Administration, with a remarkable military record behind him. And he's since authored some serious (and maybe some non-serious) books.

None of which Chelsea Manning can claim.

Has North ever been given any academic appointments at all? Of course, not Harvard; but anywhere else? I honestly don't know.

Has G. Gordon Liddy ever been given any academic appointments?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Chuck said...I confess; I am something of a John Yoo fan.

You're familiar with the podcast he and Prof. Epstein do, yes?
Law Talk podcast - John Yoo & Richard Epstein

I don't think Yoo works well as an example from the Right--certainly the good Left folks hate him and think he is a criminal, but on top of being an actual academic himself he was never charged with any crime (much less convicted). Oliver North is closer but still lacks that je ne sais quio of "oppressed in-group championed minority" that Manning has.

Matthew Sablan said...

Harvard is more than allowed to make anyone a fellow that they want.

I mean, we have a former Weather Underground member and terrorist teaching in Chicago, so it is clear that there's not much of an ethics bar to universities letting people teach.

But, I'm sure a lot of the people who donate to Harvard can find universities that don't have undistinguished fellows.

Ralph L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph L said...

After my initial disgust, I'm happy to contribute to Mannthing's castration and mutilation.
I just don't want to pay for, or allow, any pain medication or mental health treatment.

Nick said...

Diversity!™ in points of view is one thing. But, I draw the line at amplifying an un-repentant convicted Traitor.

Ralph L said...

What's Ol' Scooter up to these days?

SukieTawdry said...

I'm noticing it anyway and feel a bit offended that such a masculine word is used (or felt) as an honorific.

Gee, that's tough. I guess, then, you would take at least minor offense at being included in the fellowship of man.

Chuck said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...
Chuck said...I confess; I am something of a John Yoo fan.

You're familiar with the podcast he and Prof. Epstein do, yes?
Law Talk podcast - John Yoo & Richard Epstein

Not nearly enough as I should be. Your mentioning it is really great.

I don't think Yoo works well as an example from the Right--certainly the good Left folks hate him and think he is a criminal, but on top of being an actual academic himself he was never charged with any crime (much less convicted). Oliver North is closer but still lacks that je ne sais quio of "oppressed in-group championed minority" that Manning has.

You are entirely correct. I took an immediate liking to the Oliver North comparison as closer. And yet we've both noted the differences there too. Somebody else mentioned Scooter Libby; same thing.

Robert Cook said...

"Hiss was framed (in spite of the Soviet documents showing he was a paid agent, obtained after the fall of the Soviet Union."

Actually, my understanding is that, according to the new book on the case, there are no such Russian documents. Do you know otherwise?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Nick said...Diversity!™ in points of view is one thing. But, I draw the line at amplifying an un-repentant convicted Traitor.

Remember: Jane Fonda is a millionaire with an active acting/Hollywood career who receives favorable (bordering on gushing) coverage in the Media to this day. Some kid at an alt-right rally, though, "has not place" in our society and must be shunned, ostracized, and unpersoned since his non-Left-approved views mean he's irredeemable.

It helps to remember that an awful lot of the Left "aren't anti-war, they're just on the other side."

Levi Starks said...

Fellow is not the word that bestows honor, rather its "invited"

Gahrie said...

A new book provides a compelling case that Hiss was framed.

So the Soviet files detailing his activities were all forged?

Hiss was a Communist spy, the Rosenbergs were Communists spies and McCarthy and Nixon were right.

AlbertAnonymous said...

"...don't make it part of a compromise with something you think is false."

But this is what people and institutions do now. It's how the LEFT wants it. They don't have to win on ideas, just make a big deal out of things, claim offense, huff and puff, resort to demonstrations and violence if need be, until you get what you want. True or false doesn't matter. Mob rule. You WILL be made, not just to comply, but ... to care.

Live by the click bait/cheap stunt, die by the click bait/cheap stunt.

BTW, didn't someone very publicly resign from his "fellow" post just the other day because of the Manning "fellowship" ? That's not mentioned here is it? I wonder if it played into this decision. I wonder if others also threatened to do so behind the scenes....

hawkeyedjb said...

The quest to rehabilitate Alger Hiss is never-ending. Why? He was an unrepentant communist who loathed his country. Isn't that what leftists find appealing in him? If so, why try to demonstrate that he was "framed?" Just go ahead and glorify him and his works.

Gahrie said...

Actually, my understanding is that, according to the new book on the case, there are no such Russian documents. Do you know otherwise?

The Verona Project proved Hiss's guilt...but the Left is still defending him.

Darrell said...

Actually, my understanding is that, according to the new book on the case, there are no such Russian documents. Do you know otherwise?

Just what was said in the Media when they were found. Pre-modern internet, but they should be around somewhere.

hawkeyedjb said...

And why is Harvard getting all mealy-mouthed about Chelsea Manning? She is nothing but a plain traitor, and a stick in the eye to anyone who serves this country honorably. In other words, just the kind of person the assholes on the faculty admire. Don't disinvite - celebrate. Revel in your ability to épater les bourgeois.

eric said...

I can't see what it matters what the word "fellow" means.

It's what it means to the speaker that's important.

Right? I mean, he refers to him as "she" and well, that word used to have meaning that we all agreed on. But now that we can call dudes, chicks, does language even matter anymore?

It's the abolition of man.

R.J. Chatt said...

"So I think Elmendorf's assertion is believable... or at least I think it would be believable if he'd refrained from withdrawing the title."
So it's not believable, or at least Althouse doesn't believe him.

Of course the title is an honor and would distinguish anyone's resume. Compare Invited to speak at Harvard versus invited to be a Fellow at Harvard, someone they consider a partner, so to speak. The assertion was absurd.

"The dean is not very good at covering his ass, is he? No, he exposed his ass.

mesquito said...

If Manning is half as flakey as I suspect, there won't be many more of these gigs.

AJ Lynch said...

I still would like to know why we need a School of Government.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"Perhaps calling Chelsea Manning a "fellow" seemed discordant for gender-related reasons. I'm noticing it anyway and feel a bit offended that such a masculine word is used (or felt) as an honorific."

Language evolves. From time immemorial "marriage" referred to committed union of male and female. No longer true. "Fellow" may once have made exclusive reference to those of male sex, but the new meaning conveys no suggestion of sex or gender. Get used to it.

Robert Cook said...

"He is a convicted felon, spy and traitor who has no remorse whatsoever for his crime. Instead, he celebrates it as if he is some kind of hero.

"What positive message could he possibly send to the students?"


That telling the truth about America comes with a steep price.

Swede said...

Brad Manning is a confused as fuck dude who had his genitals removed.

Harvard University is only a shell of itself since it morphed into the reflexively anti-normal organism it is today.

It will continue to embrace all things abhorrent, twisted, and generally not good for the mind or soul.

It will also continue to enjoy it's reputation as a premier institute of thought and learning well past the time it has ceased to be.

Owen said...

Love the discussion of etymology of "fellow" and I get the analogy to "partner." One who shares fully in risk and reward; with whom the highest trust is held. Not the flavor that this glib and oily dean favors.

Unrelatedly I just realized the deep irony of Chelsea's surname. It should be "Unmanning." Has xe undergone the full transition yet? Are we all still paying for it?

JAORE said...

"The Dean of Harvard Kennedy School tells you you're wrong if you think the title "Visiting Fellow" is an honorific."

A show of hands, who would not add Visiting Fellow at Harvard to their resume?

Anyone, anyone.... hello?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Maybe Manning can educate the Harvard folks on why it's so important to embrace transgender individuals serving in the military--to encourage that, in fact.
I mean, when fighting the charges against Manning they (Manning & legal team) argued that Manning had mental problems and "was dealing with a lot of issues" so that should mitigate or excuse Manning's illegal actions. Now, of course, Manning et al. argue that transgender-type people don't pose any additional risk, or cost, on the military and that only transphobic bigots would argue that those people have higher rates of mental problems.
When it was convenient they said "oh I was having a lot of problems with my military duties because of the gender-identity crisis (and other mental health problems related to my transgender identity/transitioning) I was going through while enlisted." Now they say "transgender people are just like non-transgender people, pose no additional costs or burdens on the military, and must be treated exactly the same as anyone else."
I'm sure Manning could clear up that seeming contradiction.

wendybar said...

Bradley Manning is a traitor. We used to hang them. He should be spending his time in prison. Instead, he is treated like a celebrity and everybody loves his tweets. It is beyond sickening.

Robert Cook said...

"'Actually, my understanding is that, according to the new book on the case, there are no such Russian documents. Do you know otherwise?'

"Just what was said in the Media when they were found. Pre-modern internet, but they should be around somewhere."


Or perhaps they never existed.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...That telling the truth about America comes with a steep price.

Not so steep, though, when your sentence is commuted and you're celebrated as a hero, right?? I mean, Manning didn't even bother to serve the sentence first...and even the President who commuted that sentence agreed that the conviction was valid and deserved (thus the commutation and not a pardon).

Hey, when Manning released a quarter of a million diplomatic cables (having not read the vast majority of them) and that put people in danger around the world (intelligence sources, etc) and harmed our diplomatic relations...was that gallantly "telling the truth about America" for our own good, too?

You know what? Never mind. I get it: Manning's a truth warrior and any illegal actions Manning took can only have been in service of the Greater Good. Idiots like me won't ever understand such sublime morality--we're still hung up on "the law" and "an oath" and "one's sworn duty to fellow soldiers and the chain of command," dumb stuff like that. You and Manning answer to a higher law--to God's Law, really...the god of the Leftist Truth.

We should definitely applaud the reckless, illegal, oath-breaking acts of individuals whom we entrust with power and responsibility just so long as those acts happen to conform with our own personal sense of morality and/or our own ideology. Yeah, I can't see how that norm could possibly be harmful.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Alas, Cookie, the Venona project proves that you and the leftist hack who wrote the book you are promoting are wrong. Alger Hiss was guilty and should have been executed, the Rosenberg were guilty and deserved to die, and the damage they caused was immense:

"The killing and maiming of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians on both sides of the war in Korea might have been averted had the Soviets not been able to parry the American atomic threat."

Authors John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr say the fact that the Venona project was kept secret for so long had adverse consequences, since Communists were able to popularize their own view of the Cold War and present themselves as victims:

"Consequently, Communists were depicted as innocent victims of an irrational and oppressive American government. In this sinister but widely accepted portrait of America in the 1940s and 1950s, an idealistic New Dealer (Alger Hiss) was thrown into prison on the perjured testimony of a mentally sick anti-Communist fanatic (Whittaker Chambers), innocent progressives (the Rosenbergs) were sent to the electric chair on trumped-up charges of espionage laced with anti-Semitism, and dozens of blameless civil servants had their careers ruined by the smears of a professional anti-Communist (Elizabeth Bentley)."

http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/h/haynes-venona.html

Cookie wants to preserve that narrative and the book he is touting helps him do that.

exiledonmainstreet said...

And your narrative is a lie, Robert. Communism is a lie.

Robert Cook said...

"We should definitely applaud the reckless, illegal, oath-breaking acts of individuals whom we entrust with power and responsibility just so long as those acts happen to conform with our own personal sense of morality and/or our own ideology."

I never said Manning should not have been tried for what he did, or that, having been found guilty, he shouldn't have served prison time. He did, unequivocally, break the law. (I do think he did a heroic thing.)However, he served seven years, which is more time than other powerful law-breakers serve, (if they're even prosecuted), so one cannot say Manning did not pay for his deeds.

Jupiter said...

Cookie,

You are correct that no Soviet documents have been found proving Hiss guilty. Those who regard his guilt as proven generally do so on the basis of the Venona intercepts, and in particular the ALES document.

But I have to ask, if he wasn't a Commie, why do you care? Why is it that all you Commies are so intent upon proving that Hiss wasn't one of you?

Robert Cook said...

Not only does this new book make a case for Hiss' innocence, it also calls into question Whitaker Chambers' own claims to having been a Soviet spy.

From the article at Counterpunch discussing the book:

"Contemporary investigations into the Hiss case have moved to the Russian archives in Moscow, where both sides have sought proof, either of Hiss’s innocence or his connections to Russian intelligence.

Those, including Brady, who believe Hiss was framed and is innocent, point to numerous searches through the Russian records, none of which have turned up a hint that he was a Soviet agent. Nor for that matter do they produce a shred of evidence indicating that Chambers was a Russian spy.

Many Russians familiar with Soviet spycraft make the additional point that the espionage methods that Chambers described to HUAC and at the trials would have been absurd, even in the 1930s. Spies didn’t retype documents. Nor did they turn over documents that had their handwriting on the copies (as Hiss allegedly did).

And no spy agency (Russia’s included) would have employed anyone as erratic as Whittaker Chambers, who sent postcards to his college friends while he was presumably training with intelligence operatives.


I can't say I know Hiss was innocent or guilty. However, the lengthy article discussing the new book does make it appear the book raises significant doubts about much that has become accepted wisdom in the case. That the case was pushed by infamous liar Richard Nixon and other similar self-serving scum does not inspire innate trust in their claims against Hiss.

Robert Cook said...

"But I have to ask, if he wasn't a Commie, why do you care? Why is it that all you Commies are so intent upon proving that Hiss wasn't one of you?"

The truth counts. Americans are told--and we tell ourselves--so many self-serving lies about our greatness, our exceptional virtue, our unparalleled justice--that it is important always to have the truth revealed. If it turns out that Hiss was innocent, it is a tragedy that an innocent man was crucified for the political ambitions of little shit Richard Nixon. And, if that is what happened, we should know about it. If Hiss was innocent, justice demands that this be revealed.

Earnest Prole said...

So Harvard is saying this Chelsea Manning chick is not really a fellow after all? Chelsea's apparently been saying this for several years now, so what's not to like?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

One can say Manning has not fully paid for those traitorous, illegal deeds. I'm saying it.

Look: it's not even just about the commutation. It's more about the fact that Manning, like other Left-approved criminals, is celebrated by the Media and the Academy. We're talking glamours covers of magazines, here, man...and Harvard (Visiting) Fellowships.
Bill Ayers admittedly committed violet crimes--terrorism--in furtherance of his Lefty ideology. He beat the rap; OK, that's how the legal system works some times. BUT! He wasn't treated like some typical criminal; he was warmly embraced by the Leftist people in power at universities and to this day receives favorable Media coverage, etc. Same for Manning--had Manning received the commutation and gone quietly away to live whatever personal life Manning wants to live, to be ignored by the Media and culture at large, fine. President Obama commuted the sentence and that's a legitimate power fo that office, OK. BUT! Manning is being held up as a heroic figure worthy of respect and renown, simply because Manning is a useful symbol for a Leftist ideology relying on identity politics appeals.

That's disgusting, and ought to be fought against.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Robert if you don't accept the evidence of the Venona project, than I put you in the same category as people who think the moon landings were fake. The evidence convicting Hiss was solid and the shitbag should have been drawn and quartered.

And Chambers' "Witness" is one of the great works of the 20th century.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

[I'm still not sure how releasing 250K diplomatic cables--all that Manning could grab, apparently--and comprising sensitive discussions on a huge number of topics qualifies as an "heroic" act, nor how that and other non-war/non-alleged war crime related leaks Manning did doesn't shoot to hell the theory that Manning broke the law and acted traitorously in service of some deeper devotion to "what's best for the country," but then I understand I'm just not properly equipped to grasp the deep and subtle truths of the Lefty morality required for such conclusions.]

Diagram that thought, baby.

Rusty said...

"Actually, my understanding is that, according to the new book on the case, there are no such Russian documents. Do you know otherwise?"

There is plenty of evidence , ie notes in his own handwriting that he never refuted. His blatant lies and obfuscations that were easily refuted by the evidence. I have to hand it to him and other traitors. They are steadfast in their innocence even in the face of overwhelming evidence against them. Must be something their soviet handlers told them to do.

Marty Sobel claimed for years that he was a victim of an FBI witch hunt until the KGB opened their files.

Khesanh 0802 said...

Harvard finally showed a little common sense and withdrew the invitation You can bet there were some big bucks people making angry calls to President Drew Faust when the Manning invitation hit the news. "Stupid is as stupid does."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Here is a thorough, evenhanded article on the controversy over whether Hiss is ALES from the Venona decrypts:

The Mystery of Venona's ALES

(link goes to a page on the CIA's public library website...so watch out!)

That article is from a few years ago but nothing new has really come up to change its conclusion--the author actually laments that the issue will probably continue to be litigated (with future books, etc) forever.

Key sentence after a long block addressing specific claims:
By the end, it is clear that Hiss alone remains the best candidate to be ALES. His espionage career from the mid-1930s has been well documented, and he fits all the other criteria set out by VENONA 1822.

Owen said...

Breaking your oath and releasing secret documents that *you haven't even read* is unforgivable. You cannot claim that you are exposing some evil. You have kept yourself in ignorance of whether what you expose is good, bad, or nothing at all.

Presumptively whatever you expose without knowing and weighing its moral value than your cause, should be held against you. It is at best vandalism, arson of state files. More realistically it is treason.

Sometimes it really is that simple.

Cookie, have you read "Witness" by Whittaker Chambers? Well worth it.

Big Mike said...

Which at Harvard would seem to convey a certain status.

@Bob Boyd, heck yes! For an awful lot of us "Visiting Fellow, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government" would add quite a bit of luster to our resume. As Althouse noted on a post the other day, Manning occupies a position that would otherwise be filled by the best of rejected applicants.

Tell me something, Professor Althouse, since you have experience in 21s century academia, what is the thrill of bringing convicted felons on board the faculty? Is this a return to Tom Wolfe's "Radical Chic."

Robert Cook said...

"Of all the documents from the Russian archive, Hiss makes an appearance in only two of them. On one—intercepted as part of the VENONA program—he merits a mention when someone in the United States, next to the code name ALES, wrote on the side: 'Probably Alger Hiss.'

"Mind you, it wasn’t the Russians who wrote 'probably Alger Hiss' in the margin of the decrypted memo, but a postwar American official, adding his own annotation and speculation to a translated Russian memo, no doubt because the Hiss case was raging in the press."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Right, right...read the article at that link I posted--the conclusion that ALES is Hiss is based on a lot more than some random marginal note, man.
People respect Senator DP Moynihan, right? The report from his Commission on Government Secrecy maintains that Hiss was ALES (and, you know, a Soviet spy) and Moynihan himself said he was convinced of that, as well. I mean, if we're just going to appeals to authority, there's one.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Owen said...
Breaking your oath and releasing secret documents that *you haven't even read* is unforgivable. You cannot claim that you are exposing some evil. You have kept yourself in ignorance of whether what you expose is good, bad, or nothing at all.

Presumptively whatever you expose without knowing and weighing its moral value than your cause, should be held against you. It is at best vandalism, arson of state files. More realistically it is treason.


Yuuup. That's why I ask people who believe Manning's actions to be "heroic" or at least necessitated by some larger moral imperative to square that with the fact that Manning leaked all those diplomatic cables, too. That never seems to be addressed, oddly!
Devil's advocate I can only come up with "well that one part of the whole possibly wasn't justified, or AS justified morally, but that shouldn't taint the rest of the heroic deeds" but that just seems lame. That's especially true when the argument is that Manning acted with heroic INTENTION (as a whistleblower) since, as you mention, the fact that Manning did not know what those communications contained means Manning could not have only released them in order to expose some specific information they contained (evidence of a larger crime, etc).

exiledonmainstreet said...

HoodlumDoodlum said:
.
"People respect Senator DP Moynihan, right?"

"Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Chairman of the bipartisan Commission on Government Secrecy, responsible for securing the release of Venona project materials, in the Introduction to his book Secrecy states, "The Venona intercepts contained overwhelming proof of the activities of Soviet spy networks in America, complete with names, dates, places, and deeds."

The Secrecy Commission's Final Report found that:

"But for every accusation there was a denial. ... For all who could agree there were Communists in government, there were as many who saw the Government as contriving fantastic accusations against innocent persons. A balanced history of this period is now beginning to appear; the VENONA messages will surely supply a great cache of facts to bring the matter to some closure...."

No closure for the "America Is Always Wrong" crowd.

Mac McConnell said...

Bradley Manning didn't release highly classified military info out of truth and love of country, he was acting out over his boyfriend dumping him.

Robert Cook said...

That Daniel Moynihan "himself said he was convinced" is not evidence of anything but his own belief.

Also, to me, any article posted by the CIA on their own website is innately suspect. They are one of the greatest fabricators and purveyors of lies in the modern world. To quote the pull quote from your link: "Proof that Alger Hiss was not a spy would have significant implications for historical interpretations of the Cold War era."

Indeed. So it stands to reason that a government organization so intimately tied to to the entire history of the Cold War would have a vested interest in confirming the self-serving historical interpretation that we have so long claimed as truth.

Gahrie said...

So it stands to reason that a government organization so intimately tied to to the entire history of the Cold War would have a vested interest in confirming the self-serving historical interpretation that we have so long claimed as truth.

But the Left has no vested interest in denying the allegations of Communist spies within the government...right?

It's just an accident that the Left has defended every single Communist spy that has ever been exposed...and has never condemned anyone for being a Communist spy...right?

Nixon was right.

HUAC was right.

McCarthy was right...even if he was a dick.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ok. Anything the CIA asserts or believes can't be trusted. Anything a person who studied the matter in depth concludes can't be credited beyond just being their belief--and if such a person is a member of the US government, well there you go: almost certainly a liar.

Basically the only trustworthy sources are the ones who assert what you already want to believe, and anyway the very existence of such arguments ("this new book says there's doubt, so doubt must exist) is proof enough that the assertions and conclusions of others cannot be accepted. Since someone questions it that conclusion cannot be said to be definitive, and since "doubt exists" the smart thing to do is to default to the conclusion you want to reach anyway. "It hasn't been proven!" Ok.

There's no way to convince someone who has decided not to be convinced; tautologies reign. I'd say "typical" but that seems a bit rude.

damikesc said...

If it wasn't honorific, it wouldn't need a title.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

[Meanwhile, of course, one must show no hesitation to throw labels like "war criminal" around as widely as necessary to insult any leaders one dislikes...and that just happens to be all the leaders of that evil criminal nation, America. See an assertion that Hiss was a Soviet spy requires 100% proof, but the assertion that "politician X is another in an unbroken line of American war criminals" requires just one's own judgement.

Different standards of evidence, you see.]

Joe said...

I'd like to say this was a case of confusing notoriety about something with expertise in that same thing, but it really was just grandstanding.

And I agree with damikesc ("If it wasn't honorific, it wouldn't need a title.")

Big Mike said...

@Cookie, explain away the prothonotary warbler.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"That Daniel Moynihan "himself said he was convinced" is not evidence of anything but his own belief."

He didn't say "I am convinced." He said there was overwhelming proof of Soviet spy networks in the US. Cookie reminds me of Holocaust deniers who have all sorts of explanations for those awful photographs of the death camps: "They were faked! The Jews are lying because Jews always lie! Nobody has proved that gas actually came out of those shower heads! Books have been written about how the whole thing is a lie, but the Jews have covered up the truth!"

HoodlumDoodlum wrote of Robert:

"Basically the only trustworthy sources are the ones who assert what you already want to believe, and anyway the very existence of such arguments ("this new book says there's doubt, so doubt must exist) is proof enough that the assertions and conclusions of others cannot be accepted."

Yep.




Quaestor said...

We did not intend to honor her in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds, as we do not honor or endorse any Fellow.

Bradley Manning was an admirer of Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, later becoming one of most productive contributing sources. When Manning committed his criminal breach of U.S. military law Assange was a hero to left generally and to Harvard specifically since the embarrassed party was a Republican president. However, since the publication of What Happened Assange has become a non-person, a later day Bukharin, consequently anyone associated with Assange must be a saboteur in league with Donald Trump.

James K said...

"A holder of a certain type of fixed-term academic position or fellowship, which is typically stipendiary and held on condition of pursuing a specified branch of study." So I think Elmendorf's assertion is believable

Of course it's honorary. They don't offer it to anyone off the street who wants it. It's granted to a specific individual based on some sort of qualification or desirability, and evaluation that he/she can add value to the university.

Virgil Hilts said...

Sorry but at Harvard the word Fellow does carry ++ connotations. The Society of Fellows at Harvard is a famous and long-standing elite group of selected students and scholars - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Society_of_Fellows

FIDO said...

Where is Milo's Fellowship? Do only anarchists, malcontents and bomb throwers get 'Fellowships' from Harvard these days?

What message does THAT send?

Quaestor said...

Historians' Muted Response to the Vassiliev Papers Is Surprising.

The Hiss was innocent bailiwick is entirely built on conjecture, conspiracy theory, and absurd No True Scotsman fallacies like "...and no spy agency (Russia’s included) would have employed anyone as erratic as Whittaker Chambers, who sent postcards to his college friends while he was presumably training with intelligence operatives."

As usual, Cookie proves conclusively that he knows not a whit of the subject he chooses to pontificate on. A study of the history of real spies, the self-confessed variety shows that erratic, even pathological behavior is tolerable as long as they are productive, witness the behavior of Guy Burgess, a man repeatedly arrested on suspicion of buggery in public lavatories, and Andrew Daulton Lee, who ran a major cocaine smuggling operation while serving as Christopher Boyce's contact with the KGB.

There are many kinds of spies, and most of them aren't professional intelligence officers like Rudolf Abel. Most are persons who are part of the society of the nation-state being targeted who have direct access to secrets or access to others who have access to secrets. These spies are traitors to their own. They choose treason for many reasons — sometimes out of conviction, but more often out of despair. They are homosexuals fearful of exposure or resentful of their fated proclivities. Or they are gamblers or drug users who have stolen to finance their addictions. Or they are neurotic paranoids nursing grudges for wrongs done to them, real or imagined. Or they are fantasists who, coveting the supposed glamour of the spy trade, imagine themselves to be James Bond. They are not stable as a rule; they are often erratic. They need supervison, which is why case officers, the trained professionals, exist.

That Cookie would promote a book written by authors who evidently are ignorant of the history of espionage shows a severe lack of intellectual honesty.

Michael said...

Robert Cook
The Brady book on Hiss should be read with the knowledge that Brady was a friend of Hiss. She sallies paranoia to her case that is for sure.

TestTube said...

Robert Cook:

I feel no obligation to re-litigate the case of Alger Hiss. Hiss, like Bradley Manning is an example of a grotesque. In the case of Manning, a physical as well as a psychological grotesque.

Grotesques can be instructive -- although what you learn from them is seldom what they mean to teach you.

They generally don't belong in a fellowship, unless there is some special area of genius that lies outside their grotesqueness -- such as Dr. William Chester Minor, insane killer who also was an important contributor to the OED.

Manning has no such area of expertise. Nor has he the gift of introspection, which might allow him to provide some insight as to his grotesque nature. His present value, such as it is, is a sort of specimen to be studied.

Not fellowship material.

TestTube said...

Robert Cook:

I should clarify that I bear you no ill-will for your opinion, though I think it is not one of your better ones. -- I appreciate your contributions to these threads.

I also apologize for any whiff of condescension you may detect in my posts. It is an unintended and unfortunate defect in my writing style.

Darryl Thomas said...

I find it helpful to go to the Venona intercepts when discussing who was (or was not) a Soviet tool in the early days of the Cold War. One of declassified 1945 messages makes reference an American code-named “Ales”. The message identifies Ales as a Soviet agent working in the U.S. State Department and as someone who accompanied FDR to Yalta Conference and then flew to Moscow. That lines up rather perfectly with Hiss.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Yeah, I mean, skepticism is healthy and skepticism about spies/intelligence work is not just healthy but vital, sure. I wouldn't expect anyone to say "Hiss was a spy 'cause this guy says so." I'm not even disagreeing with an assertion that it cannot be definitively proven that Hiss was ALES or was a spy at all...I'd bet most serious investigators will admit it's not 100% certain with the information the public currently has.

But if the objection to a pretty widely (but not universally) held conclusion (that Hiss was ALES and was an important Soviet spy) should rest on something, and that something ought to be subjected to the same kind of standards as the evidence and argument on the other side is.

But we're all friends here, we all friendly fellows.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

[As an aside: I got into reading about Soviet intelligence work through reading about the history of our atomic program, specifically the development of the hydrogen bomb. A very good book I recommend is Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. That's an Amazon link but use the Professor's portal if you buy it. The Kindle version is only $10! It is a good book for learning about US history, the technological challenges of designing and testing a thermo nuke (esp. back then, w/o computer power), and the successful effort of the Soviets to steal (or be given!) important secrets--all with the backdrop of the Cold War. Really a good book--it touches on the philosophy of nuclear deterrence/warfare, as well.]

Rob said...

Can you imagine the outcry at Harvard if the Kennedy School had made Joe Arpaio a Visiting Fellow (so they could ask him hard questions, of course)? Can you imagine the Kennedy School would ever have done such a thing?

Rusty said...

"Indeed. So it stands to reason that a government organization so intimately tied to to the entire history of the Cold War would have a vested interest in confirming the self-serving historical interpretation that we have so long claimed as truth."

Read the trial transcripts and the testimony of the witnesses.

Just because you want something to be true doesn't mean it's ever going to be true.

Jim at said...

"-I think she is a hero."

1. She is a he.
2. Of course you think he's a hero. I'd be more surprised if you didn't.

Sigivald said...

In nonacademic contexts, the word "fellow" distinctly refers to a man

Well, "a fellow" is masculine in normal use, yes.

But, say, "fellow ____" is not remotely; "fellow travelers" aren't all male, nor is there any dissonance in "My fellow women...", is there?

If "visiting fellow" is interpreted - reasonably! - as "visiting fellow academic", not "a fellow who is visiting", it's ungendered.

Amadeus 48 said...

Anyone asserting Alger Hiss's innocence at this late date is not very familiar with the case. I am glad there is a new book asserting his innocence. It is important that people still defending the Communist underground be impoverished as quickly as possible, even by the cost of a book.

JAORE said...

Fellow, not a fellow, Fellow, not a fellow.

I sense a trend.

Khesanh 0802 said...

My congratulatory note to Harvard president Faust:
"Dear President Faust;

The offer of a visiting fellowship to Manning at the Kennedy School was poorly thought out and an insult to average Americans, particularly those who have served their country with honor.

I heartily commend the withdrawal of the offer and recommend that the Dean of the Kennedy school be sent to re-education camp until he obtains a better grasp of reality."

Khesanh 0802 said...

@Virgil Hilts you are right on the money. The Harvard Corporation is known formally as "the President and Fellows of Harvard College". To be a visiting Fellow can be thought of as being one step below an honorary degree recipient in terms of how Harvard values one's accomplishments. There is something about the air in Cambridge....

Char Char Binks said...

Visiting feller.

Ralph L said...

How independent of Harvard is the Kennedy School?
I suspect we shouldn't mix them up too closely.

Khesanh 0802 said...

@ Ralph L The Kennedy School is only one of many graduate schools that are part of Harvard University- Medicine, Business, Law, Public Administration (Kennedy), etc. There were a total of 22,000 students in all departments of the University in 2016. The College (undergraduate) student body is about 5,000. Each school is headed by a Dean who reports to the President and Fellows. There is also a Board of Overseers that acts as an adjunct to the Fellows. Both were formed by the original charter of Harvard College.

The Kennedy school is just as much a part of the University as the Medical School - although of considerably less value to the world.

David-2 said...

AA asks "Why cave in?"

Because that's the default learned behavior of the modern American college/university administrator.

Michael K said...

To quote the pull quote from your link: "Proof that Alger Hiss was not a spy would have significant implications for historical interpretations of the Cold War era."

I told you Cookie was sad when Stalin died.

Zach said...

In general across the School, we do not view the title of “Fellow” as conveying a special honor; rather, it is a way to describe some people who spend more than a few hours at the School....

This is misleading. Most Fellowships are quite prestigious, and would be something you would put prominently on your resume.