Most everyone knows that President Obama commuted Private Bradley Manning’s (aka, Chelsea Elizabeth Manning) 35-year sentence such that he will be released from prison on May 17, 2017. He was convicted by court-martial on August 2013 for violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses.
He was accused of disclosing to WikiLeaks 700,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents. In other words, treason.
Intelligence sources revealed:
That after certain Afghanistan reports were released in 2010, the Taliban “went on a killing spree,” taking out everyone who seemed to fit the description of individuals working with the U.S.
“I feel very comfortable that justice has been served. Commuting her sentence should not be seen as leniency for those who commit similar offenses.”
After hearing the news, Manning tweeted,
Thank [email protected] Obama for giving me a chance. =,).
Thank you @BarackObama for giving me a chance. =,)
— Chelsea Manning (@xychelsea) January 19, 2017
But politicians, military, veterans, and pundits were besides themselves and spoke or wrote about Manning’s “early” release.
In an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier, Vice President-elect Mike Pence commented:
“Private Manning is a traitor and should not have been turned into a martyr. Private Manning’s actions compromised our national security, endangered American personnel downrange, compromised individuals in Afghanistan who were cooperating with our forces by leaking 750,000 documents to WikiLeaks.”
Major David French, (U.S. Army Reserves) and former member of our military’s legal branch, the Judge Advocate General, called Manning a traitor but castigated Obama’s action:
When Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence yesterday, he signaled once again that, even after eight long years as commander-in-chief, he simply does not understand the essence of military leadership or the core of military culture. By minimizing Manning’s crimes, he violated his own obligation to men and women in uniform. It was his job to enforce the lawful military norms that have been forged through centuries of bitter battlefield experience. Instead, he violated those norms, ensuring that Manning will serve no more time than men convicted of far more mundane crimes.
On “The O’Reilly Factor”, Senator John McCain said:
“I feel rage and frustration and sorrow. The sorrow is for the families of the individuals who were identified by these leaks and then murdered by the Taliban. The rage is because this president is basically endorsing letting someone go through who was responsible for the needless deaths of our allies. What is more egregious than providing the enemy with information that helps them?”
Brian Duffy, the National Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), made a statement about Manning’s “early out”:
“To release from prison former Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to serve 35 years for releasing three-quarters of a million classified and sensitive military and diplomatic communiques, is offensive to everyone who has ever honorably served in uniform… and those who break the law must pay the price.”
And pundit Dave Jolly wrote:
Many believe that Obama’s action in commuting Manning’s sentence had everything to do with this pro-LGBT agenda and nothing to do with justice.
Well Manning, who has been wanting to have the surgery necessary to change himself into herself, may have received a just punishment after all. Per his original conviction, he will receive a dishonorable discharge from the army. This means he will lose all taxpayer benefits, will be unable to be use services from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and most important to him, he will not be able to obtain his gender reassignment surgery unless he pays for it him-herself.
Most veterans are still angry about Manning’s commuted prison sentence but making him pay might make them feel a whole lot better.
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