3 Views on Manning's Verdict
Including one that suggests we'll need to wait 50 years to truly assess him
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2013 5:06 PM CDT
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – Bradley Manning's acquittal today on the most serious charge against him, aiding the enemy, may not mean much in terms of his freedom—he could well spend the rest of his life in prison anyway. But that specific decision still has huge implications for the nation. A sample of pro and con views:

  • Great decision: A guilty verdict on the charge would have been disastrous, writes Fred Kaplan at Slate. "By this logic, any published criticism of an American war, or of US foreign policy generally, could be interpreted as 'aiding the enemy' if copies were found in enemy hands." Wouldn't that make stories about Abu Ghraib traitorous? Manning did violate military conduct, as he himself has admitted, and will serve his time accordingly. But he has insisted that he never set out to deliberately aid al-Qaeda. "The military court’s assent on that point was wise, beneficial for free speech, and for the country."

  • Horrible decision: The court "seriously erred," writes John Yoo, author of the Bush administration's rationalizations for harsh interrogations, in the National Review. Manning had to know "that posting anything on the Internet would make it available to al-Qaeda in Iraq, Afghanistan, and world-wide." He leaked the information anyway and put US lives at risk. The law is clear on the point: "Manning committed the crime of aiding the enemy, and he is lucky to escape the death penalty."
  • The long view: So is Manning really a traitor? Check back in 50 years, suggests Andrew Cohen at the Atlantic. "Manning is unlike almost every other criminal sentenced to life in prison" in that everything about his case is still evolving. "All of these issues, all of these conflicts, all of these uncertainties, interacting with each other in ways we have only just begun to comprehend, are themselves a continuing testament to Manning's conduct—to the choice he made when he broke the law for a cause he considered just." His public story might be nearly done, but "his history is not yet written."

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kawahchan
Jul 31, 2013 10:26 AM CDT
(R) 2016 Gov. RICK PERRY Report: If Bradley Manning is a Republican, not a Democrat, we will either grant him an Amnesty for how he feels his conscience to this Kenyan black war-criminal Barack Obama's wrong doing in his war act; or Republicans will sentence Manning to serve as a Peace Corps official to secure CIA operation abroad. Manning is so young, good and smart little guy.
justreading1
Jul 30, 2013 11:13 PM CDT
Most likely he will never come out of prison. So sad. He is such a bright individual who took some wrong paths. This is a hard lesson for him, to know he wasted his whole life in jail.
SPHeroid
Jul 30, 2013 10:06 PM CDT
Treason, rightly, is very difficult to prove,,,,, This fool put dozens of Americans at risk, destroyed many covert operations, and completely disregard his oath as a soldier....For what?......A book deal?...A cheap "Made for TV movie"?.... I hope he rots......