Bradley Manning has become a bit of a hero in liberal and libertarian circles alike. The former soldier, now only in his early twenties, took information from military computers and released them to the world. While some say he has exposed war crimes and injustices that America was perpetrating against other nations, other claims that he is nothing but a traitor who risked the lives of American troops on the ground through his actions. While both camps have been outspoken about Bradley Manning’s arrest, it is now that they will get an answer as to what exactly his fate is as his trial has recently began. I thought I would like to take this time to voice my opinion about how I feel about Manning’s arrest and upcoming trial.
To me, Bradley Manning is the farthest thing from a hero. While he may have been doing a good thing by releasing allegedly illegal things the military may have done, he did not have to release all the information that he did. The documents that made it to the public have to do with not only alleged war crimes, but they also dealt with the tactics and strategies that Americans use during war. Bradley Manning released these, and this makes him guilty of war crimes. Thus, I feel like he should be tried and, if found guilty, punished for his crimes.
What I do not agree with however is the way that Manning has been treated. Reports have surfaced that he was treated inhumanely while in prison and that this treatment occurred more than once. He is still an American citizen, and he deserves to not be physically or mentally abused while in captivity. The Constitution is in place to ensure that ALL Americans are treated fairly, and those conservatives who rejoice in what Bradley Manning has had to go through are hypocrites because it stands against all the principles America was founded on.
Speaking of the Constitution, I think that the media should be allowed to witness what is going on behind the closed doors of Manning’s trial. This way, it ensures that Manning has a fair trial that is within the lines of how military courts are supposed to act. Of course, there should be the limitation that no sensitive information could be released to the public, but other than that I feel that it should be an open forum. After all, we need to make sure that the world knows that we treat our citizens with fairness and that we uphold the standards and ethics that our country is known for.
To finish, I would just like to say a few things about Bradley Manning and how he is being made a hero of by some in the media. The fact is, Manning was stupid to do what he did. It probably cost more than a few American soldiers there lives, and there should be consequences to his actions. He is not some kind of messiah to be worshiped by those who hated the Bush administration, war, or America. After all, I bet if he was asked if he would do it again he would give a resounding “NO!”.
May God Bless America,
The Generation X Conservative