Forum Thread

Bradley Manning Not Guilty of Aiding the Enemy

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    A military judge has found Private Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge that he faced in his court martial for releasing thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks back in 2010. He was found guilty of 19 counts of violating the espionage act and of theft. While Manning will undoubtedly spend many years behind bars, he now avoids the potential life sentence that he was facing had he been convicted of aiding the enemy.

    What does everyone think of today's verdict? Should he have been found not guilty on all counts, or was this the right decision?
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    As a veteran, (Viet Nam), I hold no sympathy for him because of the oath he took when he enlisted, he had to know the consequences of his actions when and if he was caught, had he waited until his enlistment was over and then released the so called secret documents this story might have a different ending, however he must of thought that releasing them now would have a greater impact and give him more credibility, I don't know what his intent was, but on the charge of aiding the enemy I believe that was a correct decision because is a very difficult thing to prove unless you have evidence of him handing over the documents to an enemy agent. When you enlist as a soldier, sailor, marine or an airmen, you will be privy to some pretty valuable information, whether its the workings of a weapon, troop deployment ,various combat formations and operations, if any of those things that you see or hear bothers you, then there is a protocol that must be followed for obvious reasons, if you decide to go public then you have to pay the price. Although we will never for sure if the information that he released was damaging in any way to our troops or missions it doesn't matter, its the deed is what counts.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Manning is not asking for sympathy... I'm glad he didn't get life.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I did not say he was seeking sympathy, but he will be spending a considerable amount of time in prison.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    He'll be spending a considerable amount of time in prison for exposing much of the questionable conduct, to say it politely, that our military has been engaging in throughout the world. That is a shame.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Apparently that is a very fine line that divides a whistle blower from a person who releases classified documents without authorization. You must remember that any military or quasi-military organization or the government that they defend will always engage in practices that will not pass muster in the eyes of civilians, but sometimes these things must be done and done in secret.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    I have zero problem with the idea that our government and military have to keep secrets and do some things outside of the public sphere. I do have a problem with our government violating the conventions and treaties that we are signatories to, especially when our country was instrumental in the writing and passing of them. We should fight wars within the rules of law and Bradley Manning exposed things that our government and military engage in that makes me seriously question if we are still committed to that as a society.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Most wars are fought beyond the so-called rules of engagements, one of the reasons that wars are fought at all is because someone doesn't like the then current rules, whether its over territorial disputes or religious, it doesn't matter, after the a peace accord is reached, now comes the time for accountability ones actions, if you expose to the public at large certain facts( secrets) that could undermine the on-going conflict, then you are not a whistle blower, also if you took an oath of allegiance to your country as a soldier to defend that country, and then you use the privilege of insider information to the detriment of that country, again your not a whistle blower.
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    Sometimes moral decisions are not easy. If you expose some reasons for war which are not legitimate, thus stopping a wasteful expenditure of public Tax funds, in the billions of dollars, you are performing a patriotic duty. Any modern war which we pursue is automatically a potentially bankrupting event, not to mention the inevitable waste of thousands of human lives, who did not need to die. All of these "costs" of war need to be meticulously examined by the American public, & not just forced upon us, as if we were slaves to the Military complex. In a democracy, the People should decide when we need to go to War, and not just the Military acting independently. In the recent past, our military has wanted to do some ridiculous, if not totally insane things. For instance, while JFK was President, General Lemnitzer wanted us to use nuclear bombs on Cuba, only 90 miles south of our Florida shores. Our own CIA was involved, also using Mafia operatives, trying to set up crazy schemes to kill Castro. They had a woman visiting Castro & offering him an exploding cigar. (No lie). The Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to blow up an American airliner with students on board, & blaming it on Castro, so they would have a good excuse to nuke Cuba. Another great Pentagon scheme, was to blow up a US space capsule with astronaut John Glenn aboard, & blaming it on Castro, so they would have a good excuse to nuke Cuba. I HOPE you can see that these were all particularly brain-dead, insane, & extremely irrational men (in our highest military command) during that period. It almost drove JFK nuts having to put up with their "suggestions" at staff meetings. Equally insane things were suggested by Thomas Powers of the USAF Strategic Air Command. It is only because of JFK's good judgment that we averted a nuclear war, because unknown to our intelligence, Russia already had an arsenal of loaded nuclear missiles in Cuba, ready to launch at any moment. Only 90 miles from our shore. We could have been instantly reduced to a nation of radioactive rubble in a half hour. And none of us would be here (alive) to ever talk about it.

    So should we have everlasting full confidence in our Military's Judgment? Hell, NO. While we have had many men of good character & sound mind in our military leadership, there is always room for a Kook or two to sneak in. We must have Eternal Vigilance, to make sure that those in leadership are working in our nation's best interest. And that we don't have a "rogue" military going astray in our name. So it is often up to the valiant brave young men who act as our whistle blowers, to keep our nation on track, and to keep the rest of us safe here at home. God Bless Them.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    We don't need rogue service personal to become whistle blowers when in fact they are doing nothing more than releasing information that themselves perceived to be not classified and that the public has a dire need to know, this why we have so many various oversight committee's to prevent this of behavior from our leaders and not just military, if they are not doing the job, then there are other protocols that are in place in that event, what we do not need is someone with an agenda in mind to release classified documents to a Media of his choice, who they may also have a particular slant to the releasing of news that fit their own agenda.
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    Then there are even high Govt officials who have a dangerous "agenda" & want to use the United States military to pursue some profiteering venture, such as the oil wells in Arab countries. A few determined GOP officials with Geo W as their President, decided they wanted to grab the world resources of oil, & would make up their "motivation" as they went along. Fifteen yrs earlier, the PNAC (a Republican think tank) had determined they wanted to grab any global oil before the Russians or Chinese could get to it. They knew the profits would be astronomical, & if we (the US) had a monopoly on this fuel, we could "rule the world." GREED, as usual, was the major motive. As we know, both Daddy Bush and Georgie "W" owned oil wells in Texas, & Daddy Bush even owned oil wells in Kuwait, (which is why we had to invade Iraq the first time, when Daddy Bush was President).
    We had to wage a month long war, just to rescue Daddy Bush's oil wells. While there, hundreds of poison gas alarms went off, & our soldiers had to put on "haz mat" coveralls & gas masks & most were terrified for their lives. But GOP thinks it OK to sacrifice US soldiers for personal gain.

    In 2003, Geo "W" Bush proudly launched "Shock & Awe" -- a huge military attack on the nation of IRAQ. We bombed the hell out of that nation, with massive destruction of hundreds of buildings, dwellings, palaces, & the electrical & water system of the civilian population. (This is officially a War Crime). "W" was televised watching the whole attack on TV, grinning away. Of course, it would have been nice to have attacked the RIGHT country, while he was at it. Since IRAQ had nothing to do with 9/11, and Saddam Hussein had never threatened us or attacked us, & had No WMD hidden there. Poor old "W" must have forgot he was supposed to pursue Osama bin Laden, the guy who was actually accused of the 9/11 terrorist attack, but I guess it was not possible to attack Osama's country & steal their oil wells. So we can't blame "W" if we bankrupted the US Treasury bombing the wrong nation, & then had to waste the next 12 years "nation building" in Iraq, while propping up an opium druglord in nearby Afghanistan. It is exactly what the Founders of this nation had in mind, wasn't it? A drunken cowboy President, fighting & killing off our soldiers for his personal glory & the chance to make huge profits on the War Machine. Wow, & the chance to steal some oil wells dirt cheap. Unfortunately it now appears we are embroiled in an endless war in the Middle East, we have stirred up an endless Jihad with the Muslim nations, & we can never put Humpty Dumpty back together again, with all the King's horses & all the King's men. The whole world knows this was a major War Crime, & ruins our great reputation we had with the United Nations. And besides that, this insane war is ruining our financial status globally. All of this may have been averted, if there had been somebody with BRAINS there who could have been a little "whistle blower" to stop this Disaster before it got started.

    "Blessed are the Peace Makers, for they shall be called the children of God." [quote: the BIBLE]
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    It's all well and good to list a series of events and in true 2020hindsight point out everything that was /is wrong with that particular decision, however it doesn't excuse what Manning did, the Iraq war was waged by a coalition of Nations, some from the Middle East, others from Europe and also Australia and New Zealand, so according to you, we as well as all of the other Nations were duped .The fact is Iraq did invade the country of Kuwait and was oppressing the people of that Nation, another fact regarding WMD's , George Bush as well as the entire multi-national military strike force believed the same thing, and that was that Saddam was hiding WMDS and considering that he had used this type of weapon on his own people (Kurds) and also during the war with Iran, it was hardly a stretch of the imagination to think that he still had them and would use them, and by giving Saddam so many warnings and way too much lead time before the Inspectors were allowed to enter his country to try and locate these weapons I would have been flabbergasted if they found any at all. But ,again this has nothing to do with what Manning did and for which he will be punished for.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    When Manning made the misguided decision to release American secrets when he may have been a young, naïve kid, but he was a soldier in the Army and he knew he was breaking the law. He deserves all that he will soon receive, an all-expenses, paid vacation to some rathole somewhere, maybe Ft Leavenworth.

    Every time he looks in the mirror he will see the person responsible for his plight.

    You're right Johnny, no matter what other mistakes were made, nothing excuses what Manning did.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    I am somewhat surprised with the reactions I have been reading here and throughout the news. Does anyone here think that Bradley Manning did his patriotic duty of exposing the fact that our military is possibly committing war crimes? Just because we are fighting an idea and not a standing army doesn't give us the right to randomly kill whoever we want in the name of fighting extremism and then claim that they are doing it to protect the American way of life. Instead of shooting the messenger, our Government and military should be the ones taking a long, hard look in the mirror and ask if they are doing what they are supposed to be doing to keep our nation safe or just creating an entirely new generation of "terrorists" because of the policies that we continue to live by.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    It is possible that he could be considered a hero by some, let's see how history judges him.

    He is definitely a criminal, no debate. He broke laws and rules he swore to uphold.