Bradley Manning was convicted today in a military court of a number of charges including espionage. Manning, who worked with classified documents overseas, recorded and then gave a number of private and classified documents to outsiders who subsequently published these documents. Manning passed out these documents in an attempt to make the United States look bad internationally. I don’;t think he really thought this through; I think he was victimized by others who wanted to make a profit on the documents.
Sadly, the people who published the documents so far have gotten away scott free. They are known, but are apparently safely situated in another country in somewhat luxuious conditions. Meanwhile, Manning will spend the rest of his life in a military jail. While I don’;t think Manning’;s sentence is unfair for the most part, I find it distressing that those who did the actual publishing of stolen material are still free.
Clearly, Manning has some mental difficulties. How could anyone think that to spend your life in a military prision is an effective use of your life? We don’;t know what he was told or promised by the people who got to him, but we do know he went along with them. The military must take some of the blame for setting up such unsafe procedues around classified documents. Nonetheless, Manning seemed to hate the United States enough to even risk death for his actions as the United States was at war when this occurred. Or did he want to be a hero? Did he want to do something so that he would be always remembered, even if it was bad?
Manning seemed to go through his trial in a daze, yet seemed to know right from wrong. I think he thought it was more a beauty contest or television show. Perhaps he is using the Army to complete remove himself from the everyday decisions of life. He seems content to go to prison and pay for his crimes. Does he know everyone else is still free? Does he know that the United States has pretty much recovered from his actions? All and all, I don’;t think Manning is completely stable.
I think he was looking to be a hero to someone. I don’;t think it mattered who or how many, just that he could see himself as a hero. From his appearance at this trial, it looks like he is sure he is a hero. The trial just added to his belief that he is a hero to the left. Pretty much, at the moment, the trail and the military court gave Manning exactly what he was looking for. Let’;s hope that a life at hard labor in a military prison will break through his fantasy world.