Photo from Harrison Mann’s LinkedIn.

An Army officer has resigned from his military intelligence job in protest of what he calls the United State’s “unqualified support” for Israel in its war with Hamas in Gaza.

Maj. Harrison Mann posted a letter to LinkedIn on Monday in which he explained why he felt compelled to resign from his intelligence officer position last fall. He wrote that the justifications for Israel’s war in Gaza became “difficult to defend” and that “whatever the justification you’re either advancing a policy that enables the mass starvation of children, or you’re not.” The post received an outpouring of support with hundreds of likes and comments in just a few hours.

Mann was working as a Foreign Area Officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Middle East/Africa Regional Center when he told superiors on Nov. 1, 2023 he would be resigning from the Army, according to his letter. Mann continued to work at DIA until mid-April, when he circulated his letter to colleagues. Mann said that he resigned from his DIA position earlier than required and without another job lined up. Mann has been in the Army for 13 years, according to his LinkedIn.

Reached by Task & Purpose, Mann declined to comment “unless cleared by DIA Office of Corporate Communications” or until after he leaves active duty next month.

According to the Army, Mann requested an unqualified resignation from his commission on Nov. 29, 2023 which is  “a voluntary action for officers to be discharged from service and can be requested for any reason after completion of service obligations.” Mann’s request was approved Jan. 8, 2024 and will become effective on June 3, 2024, the Army said in a statement.

Mann commissioned into the Army in 2011 as an Infantry Officer. He is currently assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington D.C. as a Foreign Area Officer.  He has deployed to Tunisia, Bahrain, South Korea and Kuwait.

Mann described grappling with his personal role “wittingly” advancing the U.S. military’s ”unqualified support” for Israel.

“I told myself my individual contribution was minimal, and that if I didn’t do my job, someone else would, so why cause a stir for nothing?” he wrote. “I told myself I don’t make policy and it’s not my place to question it.”

In his letter, Mann also says that he’s the descendant of European Jews and “was raised in a particularly unforgiving moral environment.” 

“When it came to the topic of bearing responsibility for ethnic cleansing — my grandfather refused to ever purchase products manufactured in Germany — where the paramount importance of ‘never again’ and the inadequacy of ‘just following orders’ were oft repeated. I’m haunted by the knowledge that I failed those principles,” Mann wrote.

Mann went on to say that he held off sharing the reason for his resignation because he was afraid of violating professional norms and disappointing officers that he respects. 

“These are not indefensible reasons. Each of us signed up to serve knowing we might have to support policies we weren’t fully convinced of. Our defense institutions couldn’t function otherwise. However, at some point it became difficult to defend the outcomes of this particular policy,” he wrote.

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Mann’s resignation comes amid increasing calls for the Biden administration to put parameters on U.S. weapon shipments to Israel, citing human rights concerns and potential violations of international law. 

According to the national security blog, Just Security, since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel which killed more than 1,200 civilians, the U.S. has transferred bombs, artillery shells, precision guidance bomb kits, tank ammunition, guided missiles, firearms, drones, and various types of ammunition, to the Israeli government. 

For the first time since the war began, President Biden decided to delay U.S. deliveries of 3,500 bombs to Israel in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah where millions of Palestinians have been displaced to and are seeking shelter. 

Then, a recent State Department report found “reasonable” assessments that U.S.-supplied weapons to Israel were used by the IDF in cases inconsistent with International Humanitarian Law, IHL or best established practices for mitigating civilian harm. The report said that limited information was shared to assess the use of U.S. munitions but that Israeli operated systems which are “entirely U.S. origin,” like crewed attack aircraft, “are likely to have been involved in incidents that raise concerns about Israel’s IHL compliance.”

Protests in the ranks

In February, Senior Airman, Aaron Bushnell, set himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C. and died of his injuries.

Bushnell’s protest inspired another Senior Airman, Larry Hebert, 26, who began a hunger strike in front of the White House in March to highlight the chronic starvation in the Gaza strip brought on by the war between Hamas and Israel. Hebert is now working to gain Consciounes Objector status, according to the veteran’s activist group Veterans for Peace. 

In December 2021, U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Stuart P. Scheller Jr. was relieved and then resigned from the Marines Corps after posting a social media video in which he demanded “accountability” from senior leadership over the death of Marines at the Abbey Gate bombing in Kabul.

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