Bradley Manning Got Off Too Easy
This morning Private First Class Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Already his admirers are decrying his punishment as a miscarriage of justice. Tonight there will be a pro-Manning rally in Times Square.
But Manning is lucky he did not receive life, which he should have. 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.” In Manning’s own words, he was “dealing with a lot of issues.”
Three weeks ago, a military judge correctly found Manning guilty of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of classified documents and videos to WikiLeaks, the international movement of leakers founded and led by Julian Assange, who is currently hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid deportation to Sweden where he faces charges of sexual assault. Manning was found guilty on 20 out of 22 counts, including six violations of the 1917 Espionage Act. But he was found not guilty of “aiding the enemy.”
This was a mistake.