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President Obama Forgives Chelsea Manning

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    In one of his last official acts, President Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence. She will be freed on May 17th.

    I have no problem admitting that I'm extremely happy with President Obama's decision because I have always felt that her 35-year sentence was overly harsh. Thankfully President Obama agrees and will give her a second chance, but I still think that he should have pardoned her instead of commuting her sentence. A pardon would give her a fresh slate, but a commutation only gets her out of prison while leaving her with the scarlet letter of being convicted of a federal crime for the rest of her life.

    This also makes me wonder why President Obama has been so keen to use his vast powers to forgive crimes by issuing far more commutations instead of pardons. Am I missing something or am I right in thinking that he's just being overly cautious?

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    Obama is always aware of his legacy. Commuting puts responsibility of future actions on the individual. Pardoning puts responsibility on Obama.

    IMO

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    The Washington Post has a discussion of Obama's pardons and commutations. With the 209 sentences commuted yesterday, Obama has now commuted the sentences of 1,385 people, more than any other president in American history. He has also granted 212 pardons.

    The vast majority of the commutations are for reduced sentences for non-violent drug offenses. And of course they only apply to federal sentences. Many people feel that the federal guidelines for drug offenses are too harsh, and Obama is only reducing those sentences for those incarcerated who have not been involved in any violent crimes. What we really need is for Congress to change the sentencing guidelines for drug offenses, but that will never happen under a Trump administration.

    Likewise, the Chelsea Manning sentence of 35 years seems harsh compared to other sentenced in the past. Watching Maddow and others it appears that most of the sentences for leaking have been in the order of 2 years or so. Considering the cooperation and admission of guilt by Private Manning at the time, the 35 year penalty seemed harsh.

    If Clinton had been elected, then maybe Obama would have left the decision to commute to her. But with Trump in charge, there would be no chance. That may have been a factor as well as the fact that she was suicidal and an extra burden on the government.

    It certainly appears though that Republicans are near unanimous in their condemnation of Obama's actions. For many of them, Chelsea Manning could rot in prison for the rest of her life, and even then that would not be enough. It just illustrates how the Republican mind works.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I just learned who Chelsea Manning is. Not unhappy about the relief granted but I question if tax payers funded the surgery. Not a popular use of tax dollars.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    I had top secret clearances and clearances above that the actual name of the clearance was classified. There was very little in any of the classified material that wasn't available in Newsweek or Time. Most of certain special designated classified top secret messages dealt with gay officers. The header was OEO which was officers eyes only and the message was to be immediately given to an officer before decryption. Most duty officers didnt want to be bothered with decrypting so enlisted did it. A lot of rules are broken daily and all the time. Unless a message is immediately operational not much harm can come except embarrassment from disseminating most communications.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Right, just a bunch of lazy people taking the easy way out. Manning never should have spent anytime in prison let alone 7 years. She was a messed up personality before joining and they put her over the edge. I fully support paying for her realignment with tax money. Better it goes for a good reason like that rather than more unesseary weapons!
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    pr Wrote: Right, just a bunch of lazy people taking the easy way out. Manning never should have spent anytime in prison let alone 7 years. She was a messed up personality before joining and they put her over the edge. I fully support paying for her realignment with tax money. Better it goes for a good reason like that rather than more unesseary weapons!

    I'm not sure I agree with you. She broke the law. We may not like the fact that leaking classified information is against the law or that our government seems all too willing to label too many things as classified, but that is for a different discussion. She broke the law and admitted to it.

    Now, I agree with Schmidt that the sentence was overly harsh and that is why President Obama commuted it. Maybe she should have never spent any time in prison, but she did break Federal law and that usually comes with a consequence.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Interesting list of 5 reasons this sentence was commuted. I heard speculation on television that the path towards getting Assange (spelling ?) To turn himself in and bridge that situation might require a good first step. A symbol. Who knows for sure.

    This helped me to understand the circumstances.

    newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/five-re...

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Kenosha, WI
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    IMHO, they targeted her because she was a transgender person. They wanted to make an example of her.
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    I believe any and all criminal activities going on in the Federal Government should be revealed and those involved brought to justice. To often this classified information is covering up serious criminal activities and anyone who reveals these criminal activities should be rewarded. Manning revealed a war crime and nothing happened to these war criminals.