Bradley Manning valued the truth over his own personal freedom, for that he is a hero
Dear Bradley Manning,
The time has come for your injustice. You now face several different counts which in total have put you over 130 years in prison. It seems stunning to me that you should receive this massive punishment. You do not deserve the scorn you have received.
What was your crime? Did you leak secret documents to Al Qaeda? Did you leak the names of military personnel to enemy combatants or states? Did you partake in the massacre of innocent civilians? No. You leaked a video of an American helicopter who attacked and massacred a Reuters news crew, as well as a van with a family inside who were helping a survivor flee the scene.
It seems to me so lopsided that we call the verdict given to you justice. It is true you were not convicted of aiding the enemy. In all you were convicted on 19 of the 21 charges brought against you. To call what you have been served “justice” is a farce of all farces.
To a civilian who lives outside the military, it seems so strange to me that you could be treated in such a way for trying to reveal the truth of our war crimes.
I’ve been hearing several active and former military people tell me that the military is different, that its rules and justice are different and that Manning has to abide by the rules of that system.
Well, I have noticed that the rules of justice are different for military personnel, they have to be. How else could Sergeant Lawrence Hutchins III partake in the massacre of an Iraqi family in 2006 and get only 11 years for that most heinous offense? Yet you, Bradley Manning, leaked proof of an American war crime to the public and you now face over 130 years for that offense.
What enrages me more is the fact Hutchins who committed this massacre has now been released from prison. He’s a free man due to the fact he was held for seven days in solitary confinement in his 2006 interrogation and was denied access to a lawyer. If this does not enrage you, it certainly enrages me.
The many months you spent in solitary, harassed and beaten down, with no rights and with no idea what would happen to you next, makes me sick to believe. I know you might have now come to grips with the fate handed to you, but I want you to know that you are not forgotten Bradley Manning.
I want you to know that you did the right thing. You did what no one else could or would do in face of the obstacles. You knew what you would do would defy your chain of command, and that you could face dire consequences for your action. Your freedom was on the line. Yet, you did the right thing anyway. That is the mark of a truly good person. It’s a trait I envy, and a trait others should envy as well.
Your trial is over, but your case is not forgotten. You did what had to be done to let the American people know what its troops have done in a war that was not just to begin with. Despite the risks and the crushing consequences you now face, you went ahead and leaked the truth. You did what had to be done. You have set a generational example.
Hold strong Bradley Manning. You are not a traitor, and like a true person of character you are facing the unjust punishments sent your way. You do not deserve the fate you have been handed. Like a true man, you valued the truth over your own personal position and comfort. For that, you are indeed a hero. Godspeed Bradley Manning!