Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

July 30, 2013

Bradley Manning deserves a medal instead of a prison cell

You don’t have a democracy without informed citizens. Question is, do enough of today’s Americans expect their government to be truthful enough to deserve international respect?

In the past 10 years American statecraft has (sometimes even secretly) moved from one catastrophe to another, laying waste to other nations without damaging our own national interests.

The past decade’s wars have resulted in the deaths of at least 174,000 civilians, 31,741 Allied military personnel (including 8,351 U.S. soldiers and military contractors), and cost our treasury upwards of $3.7 trillion. (Secrecy: The American Experience, Yale University Press).

Imagine what we could’ve done to our crumbling infrastructure and how many “jobs” eventually would’ve minimized resultant foreclosure offenses.

More important, the potentially precious input from killed/maimed mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends. Lost forever!

Bradley Manning did supply WikiLeaks with Iraq/Afghan War logs, State Department cables and the infamously shocking “Collateral Murder video,” where Apache helicopter pilots (not under fire) are begging their distant commanding officer for permission to open fire on innocent Iraqi civilians, brutally killing several children and journalists.

How else could we have learned what our government is doing? Therefore, Bradley surely deserves some important national honor (Presidential Medal of Freedom) instead of the military prison cell where he’s currently enduring undeserved agony and a contrived court-martial.

Many of the principal players in our tragic Middle East farce have taken home a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

George Tenet, the CIA director who maintained the case for invading Iraq was a “slam dunk,” got his medal in 2004, as did Paul Bremer, the American proconsul under whose administration occupied Iraq slid into today’s chaos.

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had already won the medal for stints in previous administrations as secretaries of Defense. Tony Blair was bestowed the award in 2010 by Barack Obama. Why not Bradley?

Charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 with aiding the enemy (he was informing our public and even the prosecution admits that they cannot prove that Bradley’s actions have endangered our national security), Bradley faces life in prison.

He’s going to get 40 years for embarrassing our secretive government with the truth. He has put his sanity and his freedom on the line so that we Americans might know what our government has done to other nations in our name.

It’s embarrassing and we’re becoming internationally-alienated Americans.

For updates on Manning’s case the best source is the Bradley Manning Support Network website, www.bradleymanning.org.

Manning himself can be reached at Commander, HHC YSA/ATTN:PFC Manning/239 Sheridan Avenue, Bldg 417/JBM-HH, VA 22211. Manning’s lawyer says he greatly appreciates friendly letters.

Bill Arnold

Romney, W.Va.

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