“Time is what stops history happening at once; time is the speed at which the past disappears. Film gives those lost worlds a brief resurrection. Those since-fallen buildings, those long-decayed faces, they engrossed me. “We were as you are,” they said. “The present doesn’t matter.”—
“Your memory is a monster; you forget - it doesn’t. It simply files things away; it keeps things for you, or hides things from you. Your memory summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory, but your memory has you!”—
“I must continue to follow the path I take now. If I do nothing, if I study nothing, if I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it — keep going, keep going come what may.
But what is your final goal, you may ask. That goal will become clearer, will emerge slowly but surely, much as the rough draught turns into a sketch, and the sketch into a painting through the serious work done on it, through the elaboration of the original vague idea and through the consolidation of the first fleeting and passing thought.”—Vincent van Gogh
The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.
“I saw the sun rise by accident.
It was a horrible sight.
Annoyed by its splendor, I sought refuge
in a moist pillow, and lay there, alone,
at the dawn of another day,
that brought me closer to another death,
pondering the vanity of my solitude,
the vanity of procrastination,
and the tiresome inevitability of waking up
again the same person.
It might still be possible to change,
but obstinately I remain the same,
hoping that others might take solace
in my consistency.
But perhaps they take no solace in it,
perhaps they too find it tedious.”—John Tottenham
“I don’t understand people
who claim that they have no regrets in life -
who insist, out of gratitude, pride or ignorance,
that they wouldn’t want to change a thing.
My life is raging river of regret, flowing
into a sea of shame. There is very little
I wouldn’t do differently if given a second chance.
I always knew I’d end up feeling this way:
It was a setup. Regret was something
I worked towards, something I felt I had to earn.
And now, naturally, I regret that too.”—John Tottenham
“I am reliant upon spurts
That soon sputter out. The slightest diligence
Unleashes a heightened awareness
Of my own existence… my own innocence… this precious life…
I want to stop; it has to simmer down
To a manageable boredom. And with this desire for composure,
Fear of death and torpor merge in an unlikely union
That bears no fruit.”—John Tottenham
“In retrospect, you never had a chance. You didn’t have the resources. You didn’t have the tools. And as you watch your life go up in flames, you just want to sleep.”—Last Call, Magnificent Ruin (via nevver)
“'Perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols; vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts and paving-stones along the weary road that others have tramped before us; perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us.'”—
“'Oh, my darling, why is it that love makes me hate the world? It's supposed to have quite the opposite effect. I feel as though all mankind, and God, too, were in a conspiracy against us.'
‘They are, they are.’
‘But we’ve got our happiness in spite of them; here and now, we’ve taken possession of it. They can’t hurt us, can they?’
‘Not tonight; not now.’
‘Not for how many nights?’”—