I try to maintain a certain level of decorum here at Explanatory Conservatism, but after I heard that President Obama had commuted Bradley Manning’s sentence, the only thing I could think for about an hour was “WTF?”. Seriously, WTF?
Bradley Manning is a traitor who put at risk the lives of American and allied soldiers, as well as Iraqi and Afghan civilians who were helping us fight al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist organizations. The secret documents Bradley Manning stole and then released to the world included classified military reports detailing how US and allied soldiers operated, what they knew, what they had done, and who was helping them.
There is a lot of information that may seem mundane to most people, but is classified because their release could cost lives. Something as simple as the schedule for soldiers to return home for two weeks of R&R could tell the enemy when a particular outpost is undermanned or that a convoy may have fewer soldiers coming back than when it left.
Included in the documents Manning released were diplomatic cables that strained relations with our allies at a time of war, information on the worst of the worst captured terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, and incident reports for Iraq and Afghanistan. The incident reports detailed American patrols and combat engagements, discussions with village elders, American casualties, and Afghan civilians who provided us with information about al Qaeda and the Taliban.
These last documents were of great interest to al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden asked for and personally reviewed the Afghanistan incident reports. The Afghanistan battlefield reports would provide al Qaeda and the Taliban with better intelligence to improve their attacks on coalition forces than they could have possibly dreamed of. After the documents were released, the US military had to scramble to safeguard informants who were suddenly in much greater peril, further weakening America’s ability to help the Afghan people and defeat the terrorists.
Whether he intended to or not, Bradley Manning gave aid and comfort to the enemy; an enemy that killed nearly three thousand American civilians in the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, has killed thousands of American military personnel in the Middle East, and intends to kill as many more Americans as possible. There is no other word to describe Manning than traitor. For President Obama to commute his sentence is inexcusable and unpardonable. Seriously, WTF?