With his 35-year sentence for leaking military secrets, Bradley Manning should be eligible for parole in seven years, reports the Guardian. But the 25-year-old is hoping for an even shorter stay: His defense team will formally ask President Obama for a pardon next week. The chances of success are right about zero, but Mannng already has written his personal plea to the president, says attorney David Coombs:
- "When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love to my country and a sense of duty to others. 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."
Coombs also relays that everyone on the defense team was emotional after the sentencing—except for Manning. "He looked to us and said: 'It's OK. I'm going to move forward and I'm going to be all right.'"
Reaction to the verdict is predictably all over the map:
- Too light: "Manning is lucky he did not receive life, which he should have," writes Ryan Evans at the National Interest. "The sympathy for this 'troubled young man' is emblematic of a post-accountability society. No one, it seems, is to be held responsible for their actions any longer. Instead, blame is shifted to a difficult childhood, bullying, loneliness, or—my personal favorite—'the system.'"
- Too severe: "Manning's harsh sentence and the government's despotic desire to 'send a message' represents yet another dismal step toward secrecy from a presidential administration that once pledged to be the 'most transparent in history,'" write Jesselyn Radack and Kathleen McClellan at CNN.
- Just right: "Assuming that Manning is released on parole after a reasonable time, the sentence imposed by Col. Denise Lind strikes a reasonable balance between the damage Manning did to national security and the service he performed by exposing certain matters to public attention," write the editors at the LA Times.