Pardon Bradley Manning.
Frankly, many of us can’t quite understand why your administration has been so aggressive in pursuing leaks, but it has to stop. Our government has gone too far, and in sentencing Bradley Manning to thirty-five years in prison, we have shown to the world that we’re far more willing to silence those who are brave enough to expose the worst atrocities than we are to punish those who approved — both tacitly and directly — with carrying out those atrocities. That, Mr. President, is a dangerous and shitty precedent to set.
You campaigned in 2008 fully aware and acknowledging of the kinds of terrible things that happened ing he name of “The War on Terror.” You pledged to be the beacon of light to kill the darkness of the Cheney Administration, and yet, you’ve embraced many of their tactics, and have been even more ruthless in your pursuit of leakers. I understand, Mr. President that Bradley Manning didn’t just leak information about war crimes; he leaked scads and scads of “classified” material. That being said, he was acquitted in his trial of aiding the enemy, which is the government’s way of admitting that he in no way, shape or form, got anyone killed with the information he leaked.
Bradley Manning is a patsy, Mr. President, and you know it. You know deep down, he’s being made an example of. And why? Why, Mr. President? What happened to the man who told us that he could see how far over the backside of good judgment our country had flown while pursuing the specter of Osama Bin Laden? That man would never stand for Bradley Manning serving one more fucking minute of his life behind bars.
What are we saying to future generations of Americans? That we’re above reproach, simply because we have more weaponry? We get to dictate the rules just because we have the biggest dicks in the room? With all due respect Mr. President, what the fuck does that have to do with liberty, justice or equality? You are the first chance we’ve had to roll back the terrible decisions of the last decade. You can show great leadership at times, Mr. President. Your words on race in America in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case were incredibly meaningful and will one day be looked at by historians as a very important moment in our country’s history.
But you know what, Mr. President? History will judge you as poorly for keeping Manning behind bars as they will judge you kindly for the Affordable Care Act. How can you be the same president who fought valiantly and pushed a flawed, but yet still impressive health care reform law into the books when that was a dream pursued and failed throughout our country’s history? Yet here we are, with you standing at a fork in the road, the choice between continuing to pay homage to the Bush Doctrine or drawing one of your famous red lines and saying that we crossed a bridge too far in our prosecution of Bradley Manning.
No, Manning didn’t do it in the smartest way. He wasn’t surgical with the information he dumped. True, he could have exposed many, many people to danger…but he didn’t. And the truth is, Mr. President that Bradley Manning acted on his conscience, something that far too many Americans don’t do, and frankly, I’ve not seen very many politicians anywhere on the political spectrum doing it either in a long, long time. Maybe Bradley Manning isn’t a hero, in fact he’s not. He’s just one guy who saw some really fucked up shit happening in the name of the United States of America, and he acted on it.
The message you’re sending in allowing him to serve out that thirty-five year sentence is not only that he deserves that sentence for blowing the whistle, but that he blew the whistle on things that weren’t so bad. You have to realize, because you’re so fucking smart, Mr. President, that you are giving the thumbs-up to the war crimes committed under Bush and Cheney’s watch. You are helping to clean up Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush and Dick Fucking Cheney in the eyes of the American public. Because if you are not even willing to let Manning go and live the rest of his life as a perhaps misguided, but obviously very well-intentioned true patriot.
Bradley Manning didn’t want The United States of America to be represented by the Bush Doctrine anymore. He’s not alone in that sentiment, Mr. President, and millions of us put you in office twice because we thought you didn’t want to either. I’m not naive, Mr. President. I understand there are people in the world who want us all dead. You and I both know though, that our actions have time and again been the fuel the radicals’ fire. Believe it or not, us convicting and sending Bradley Manning away for thirty-five years just gives the bastards recruiting more murderous terrorists even more propaganda.
I’m not sure that I’m one of those liberals who think Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld belong in prison, per se. But I know for a goddamned fact, with utter and complete certainty that Bradley Manning most certainly does not. You, Mr. President are the only person in a position high enough to end this tragic saga in our American history. You are the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of The United States of America. I gave you that authority, goddamn it, and so did a lot of us. This letter is my explicit consent to you using that authority that I gave you, to do the right thing.
Don’t let me down again, Mr. President. Please.