Bradley Manning is being held in military prison after being charged with heinous crimes and will serve a life sentence. He is not a hero, he in not a traitor. What he is however is a beacon of light showing what is wrong with military intelligence. Thousands of soldiers in all branches of the military have access to ‘classified’ documents. There are few, if any real systems in place to curb the release of this information to the public. As a former soldier with a secret clearance I can personally attest to the lack of real security surrounding these documents and many like it. It is actually a often remarked on bit of humor about how easy it is to obtain supposed secret military documents.
Over the years in my professional endeavors I have often been privy to classified documents, some even proving that flight 93 was shot down on September 11th, 2001. I did not release these documents because I am and was aware of the consequences for such actions. Bradley Manning was a child at the time of his actions. He clearly did not understand what he was truly doing. His state of mind should absolutely be a major point of his defense. He is mentally unstable, that is clear from the minimal amount of research I had conducted on the subject.
Further more, his treatment after his arrest I am sure has been hell on earth. Once a soldier is labeled in the way Bradley has, he will and has become a lighting rod for soldiers with a sickness that comes with premature authority. The military is made up of young individuals who are granted authority when they should not be. This leads to a mental shift turning them into a demon among men. It is a sickness that was a major reason for my not reenlisting.
So what should happen to Pvt. Manning? He should serve jail time, and he will. It should not be a life sentence. What he did is done often by soldiers much higher up in the chain of command; this is yet another instance of the Joe’s paying for the actions of the brass. He should also leave the country, this should not be forced upon him, but I would recommend it for at least 10-20 years.
The Untied States is a mess right now, and has been for quite some time.
Notice the one thing that is not mentioned in the majority of these articles? It is the war crimes that were expose because of these information being released. No one is being held accountable for the actions against the Geneva Convention, international and domestic law. Instead this case is being used as an iron curtain to shroud the real crimes. Everyone is to blame, not just Bradley manning, but he is the one who will pay, and that is wrong, very Wrong.