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Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2003, 05:15 AM
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It isn't that Manning is so much more deserving.

No prisoner deserves to be treated like Manning has been treated, neither before nor after conviction.

Solitary confinement is difficult enough, but it should not be the job of the prisons or pre-trial jails to attempt to obliterate a prisoner's personality, perhaps their ability to remember accurately or to speak coherently through sensory deprivation and humiliation, especially before trial.

Manning is not more deserving than other prisoners. He is just better known.

In addition, there is a lot of sympathy for Manning because of the suspicion on our parts that many of the "secrets" he revealed were being kept secret simply because they were embarrassing to our military and also to our diplomatic corps, not because their secrecy had any strategic importance.

The disclosures of Manning reminded us of the corruption, immorality, cruelty, carelessness, moral laziness, error and bullying that occurs in war. It reminds us that the embedding of journalists with our troops has prevented us from seeing the ugliness of war and of what a nation like ours does to civilians when we fight a war.

Manning reminded us about the killing and death, of the suffering of innocent journalists, of small children in war. And since so few journalists have had the courage to talk graphically about the horror of war in recent years, we are very grateful to Manning for telling the truth.

So much silence and so many lies, and then there is Bradley Manning just telling the truth. It was just so honest and refreshing.

Yes. He is alleged to have broken his oath. And that is a serious matter. I agree with you on that.

But then, had he not broken his oath, we would not have the evidence of the crimes that he revealed, so that causes us to give him some credit along with condemnation.

We have to thank Manning for asking, with his revelations, the simple question: Is war worth it?

The answer is clearly no. In particular, the War in Iraq was not worth it. All the killing of innocents, of the merely angry who were not any real threat to our national security, the revenge, the heartlessness, the cunning, the use of weapons that dehumanize the victim and make them into computer targets.

So we are grateful to Manning in spite of his disloyalty because he went beyond his duty to a place of honesty. It's just so refreshing.

I think that if he committed a crime, he should have been treated with respect like the human being he is and given a fair trial. Under the circumstances and after what he has been through, he cannot be given a fair trial. The military justice system is more on trial here than is Bradley Manning. It's a real shame.

Compare: Soldiers who were convicted of committing acts of

mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib:

An Army reservist who appeared in several of the most infamous abuse photos taken by guards at Abu Ghraib prison was sentenced Tuesday to six months in prison for her role in the scandal that rocked the U.S. military's image at home and abroad.

The sentence for Spc. Sabrina Harman came a day after she was convicted on six of the seven counts she faced for mistreating detainees at the Baghdad lockup in late 2003. She faced a maximum of five years in prison, though prosecutors asked the jury to give her three years.

With credit for time served, Harman's actual sentence will be just more than four months.


The United States Department of Defense removed seventeen soldiers and officers from duty, and eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery. Between May 2004 and March 2006, eleven soldiers were convicted in courts martial, sentenced to military prison, and dishonorably discharged from service. Two soldiers, Specialist Charles Graner, and his former fiancée, Specialist Lynndie England, were sentenced to ten years and three years in prison, respectively, in trials ending on January 14, 2005 and September 26, 2005. The commanding officer of all Iraq detention facilities, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, was reprimanded for dereliction of duty and then demoted to the rank of Colonel on May 5, 2005. Col. Karpinski has denied knowledge of the abuses, claiming that the interrogations were authorized by her superiors and performed by subcontractors, and that she was not even allowed entry into the interrogation rooms.

. . .

The prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi died in Abu Ghraib prison after being interrogated and tortured by a CIA officer and a private contractor. The torture included physical violence and strappado hanging, whereby the victim is hung from the wrists with the hands tied behind the back. His death has been labeled a homicide by the US military,[8] but neither of the two men who caused his death have been charged. The private contractor was granted qualified immunity.[9]


Who fares better in the US military prisons and justice system?

Someone who violates the law and mistreats prisoners?

Or someone who blows the whistle on perceived violations of law?

Can a bully expect a lighter sentence than a person who speaks out from a compassionate, if arguably misguided motive?

We shall see.

But I recognize that a part of me is in all of them.

There are moments in life, in the life of a nation as in the life of a person, in which the underlying moral fiber of the nation is tested.

Is there a moral rectitude that supersedes all else?

Do we confront our own evil and allow ourselves to be judged and condemned by others?

Or do we cower behind the rigid application of rules to condemn that part of ourselves that is honest and open about our mistakes and misdeeds?

Manning is a challenge for our nation and for our military. What happens to Manning may predict whether we survive as a free nation or whether we become a nation that lies to itself and hides its ugly truths.

Sometimes the path between insuring the security of our nation and destroying the very freedom and human values that make our nation worth securing is very hard to find much less follow.
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