It looks like Army Private Bradley Manning may face a court martial and life in prison. Good. I don’t think he is just guilty of theft as the investigator alleges. That’s not enough. I think he is guilty of treason. Downloading confidential military records and giving them to outside sources cannot be tolerated. One of the arguments his lawyer has been making is that Manning should be released is that the security breach didn’t really cause much damage or jeopardize American national security. Liberals I know seem to think what Manning was doing was some freedom of speech issue.
Bullshit to both.
Let’s think a bit of what Manning actually did. Manning was an intelligence officer in the Army. Under the guise of downloading music, he took classified communications and shared them with Wikileaks. If he worked at Apple or Microsoft or any other company, taking internal documents and data and sharing it would be grounds to be fired. For military personnel, who are entrusted with the safety and security of the nation to steal and share classified information with anyone outside the government cannot be considered — under any circumstances — a good thing. Not only does it set the worst possible precedent, it puts us all in danger. This isn’t theft, this is treason.
Manning supporters say that he was doing the right thing: He was just exposing war crimes and other atrocities perpetrated by the American military. The problem with that theory is that the information he released showed no such thing. Even his defense relies on the idea that the information released did not harm anyone. You can’t have it both ways. If he had been exposing some great crime committed by the US, we would all know about it. He released embarrassing communications and the like.
I know what you are thinking, I am a hawk. I am no such thing, though pacifism isn’t my thing either. We need to fight some wars — like WWII — we need to avoid others. Our military makes mistakes and does things I don’t agree with. The Marines urinating on corpses comes to mind as does what happened an Abu Ghraib. None of that excuses Manning.
Private Bradley Manning was put in a position with access to classified information and entrusted with protecting the nation and he abdicated his responsibilities by leaking the data to Wikileaks. I don’t understand why anyone would think that is a good thing and think he should spend the rest of his life in jail.
PS. I don’t think the US has any reason to prosecute Julian Assange for anything as I know the Department of Justice is trying to do. He broke no laws nor did he violate any trust.