The Bradley Manning case
21st August, Wednesday, 2013 is bound to become a legendary day for the decades to come. Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, the 25 year old whistle-blower was sentenced to 35 years of prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified and diplomatic documents to wikileaks in 2009. The court martial began three years after Manning was first detained in Iraq under suspicion of leaking a video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack that killed several Iraqi civilians and the subsequent release of 750,000 documents that were a mix of US military reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.
After exposing the reality of the war and the highly justified ways of US at protecting the country from her enemies, Manning’s decision is pathologised considering the diagnosis his fetal alcohol syndrome. During the trial Manning’s childhood history and the testimony of psychiatrist David Moulton was brought to light who took the stand to speculate that Manning was born with fetal alcohol syndrome based on her facial features.
What the trail suggests is that he should have sustained the situation like many others US soldiers probably did – they must have seen the same material that Manning eventually leaked. Sure he should have been concerned and shocked but he didn’t have to make a fuss about it. After all how could it be that a self-adjusted sane person willingly exposes the brutality of war and give up a normal life, a life with friends and family, a sense of belonging to a country without any motive of financial or and personal sorts? He should have been worldly enough to know that had these documents been released later, he wouldn’t have been held responsible for not revealing them. That’s what a healthy self-confident person should have done according to the court martial’s appalling low opinion of a ‘regular’ human being.
Christopher Yates writes ‘In every society, democratic or totalitarian, the sensible, grown-up thing to do is to commit to the long haul of sleazy conformity. The rewards are mostly guaranteed: if not freedom or happiness, then respectability and degree of security. What spoils it is the obstinate few who do otherwise – those, absurdly, who actually believe in the necessary fictions; enough to be moved and angered by the difference between what an organisation does in reality and what it says in public.’
In his letter of letter to President Obama requesting pardon, he says
‘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.’