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.
(Read more Bradley Manning