Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who allegedly passed classified documents to the whistle-blowing site Wikileaks, has just been charged with 22 additional counts, according to his attorney, Lieutenant Colonel David Coombs. Among these are "aiding the enemy," a capital offense.
Before we go on, you should understand two things. First, I am Son of Regular Navy. Second, I am not a fan of Wikileaks. Both of these things are relevant to my understanding of what has happened to Manning.
Little Lord Fauntleroy vs. the Fighting Man
As regards putting the lives of military people in danger, anything which does that leaves me absolutely arctic. You cannot understand what it's like to go through an entire year not knowing, each day, whether your father has been killed unless you have in fact gone through it. And unless you have, shut up. Try not to forget, by the way, that the overwhelming majority of the men and women who risk their lives in the service are poor people. I don't mean people who can't afford decent weed. I mean people who know what it's like to go hungry.
As to the notion of Wikileaks being a journalistic organization, well, being someone who cavalierly plops into a web page a bunch of stuff they were handed by a person who actually took a risk without adding any value to it seems to strain the definition of journalist. (That's the definition of a blogger.) The arrogance and disregard for simple fellow feeling repeatedly evinced by the knuckleheaded Little Lord Fauntleroy of the left, Julian Assange, leaves me red-hot.
(Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.)
So, both of those things established, I would not hesitate for a moment to cheer a death sentence for PFC Manning if he had passed the information he allegedly stole to a foreign government or armed group; especially one like Al Qaeda, which has unequivocally announced its continued desire to kill my fellow citizens. Manning has simply not done this. Because he has not, these charges come off as politicized revenge by politicians who have been made to look stupid simply by showing the world what they actually did!
Actions vs. Theatre
Last June, Manning was initially charged with four counts of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice's Article 92, for disobeying orders, and eight counts of violating Article 134, a general misconduct charge, for disclosing classified information.
These charges seem proportionate to what Manning is alleged to have done. Adding 22 additional counts, including a capital charge, is the kind of disproportionate and deadly political theatre I have come to expect from a country like Burma or Iran. American exceptionalism aside, this action flies in the face of every ideal the U.S. claims for itself and promulgates abroad - ideals which I claim as my own.
Did Manning break the law? There seems to be evidence to that effect. Did he "aid the enemy"? Unless there is a raft of information that is currently not being shared even in outline, he certainly did not. And if that is the case, put it on the damned table. Otherwise, to each of the wrinkled, embittered and embarrassed old gremlins who've used this deluded boob as a sweet bit of political legerdemain to disguise their own impotence, I say:
Act like a damned man.
Other sources: MSNBC