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Galindez writes: "First of all Bradley, it is the court, the Army, and the American people that should be apologizing to you. We failed you, not the other way around."

Bradley Manning reviewing a document during his court-martial. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN)
Bradley Manning reviewing a document during his court-martial. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN)

An Apology to Bradley Manning

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

15 August 13


RSN Special Coverage: Trial of Bradley Manning

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Here is my reply to Bradley Manning's apology … line by line. Bradley's words in bold.

First, Your Honor, I want to start off with an apology.

First of all Bradley, it is the court, the Army, and the American people that should be apologizing to you. We failed you, not the other way around.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that my actions hurt people.

Your actions saved lives. You exposed war crimes, you exposed our country's "narcissistic" foreign policy. It is ironic that they tried to portray you as "narcissistic" because you exposed our how our government believes it is privileged to violate international law because "we" somehow know better.

I'm sorry that it hurt the United States.

You are a hero, a whistleblower who helped the United States. The government was unable to present any evidence that anyone died or was harmed as a result of your leaks. Even the so-called diplomatic harm as a result of the leak of the cables was really harm caused by the actions of our diplomats that you brought out in the open. The truth can be messy, but we should not punish the messenger who reveals the ugly truth.

At the time of my decisions, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues, issues that are ongoing, and are continuing to affect me. Although they have caused me considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions.

I applaud you for taking responsibility for your actions, and not blaming our dysfunctional society – but again, your actions were heroic. Our society and the Army failed you, Mr. Manning. While I don't believe anyone is fit for deployment to a combat zone, there were enough warning signs for the Army to not deploy you to Iraq. I understand that you are not using that as an excuse, but the Army should apologize for putting you in a situation that you were not capable of handling. After hearing about your upbringing, I understand why you joined the military to get the funding for your education. Unfortunately there is a de facto draft in our country: many people join the military to escape poverty or poor living conditions. You need treatment, not incarceration.

I understood what I was doing, and the decisions I made. However I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those effects are clearer to me now, through both self-reflection during my confinement, in its various forms, and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I've seen here. I'm sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions.

More important than any perceived harm that resulted from the leaks is the greater harm that was prevented. I believe your actions helped to quicken the pace for the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army speculates as to what the consequences of the leaks were – perhaps the real result was they will make soldiers and diplomats think twice before acting. The knowledge that they could not get away with doing wrong, and that someday their actions could become public, might lead to them to do the right thing. That is as likely as the Army's conjecture.

When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people.

You were right, you helped make the world a better place. You prevented a greater harm. If our country followed international law, you would not have been on trial. You did your duty to prevent a greater harm. If you hadn't exposed the criminal actions you revealed, then you would have been guilty of being complicit.

The last few years have been a learning experience. I look back on my decisions and wonder how on earth could I, a junior analyst, possibly believe I could change the world for the better, over the decisions of those with the proper authority.

I only have one response, you did change the world for the better.

In retrospect, I should have worked more aggressively inside the system, as we discussed during the [...] statements. I had options and I should have used these options.

The "system" was and still is hiding crimes. The most effective way to address those crimes is exposing them. You did that, Bradley Manning. Don't second guess your actions, you did the right thing.

Unfortunately I can't go back and change things, I can only go forward. I want to go forward. Before I can do that though, I understand that I must pay a price for my decisions and actions.

I have committed acts of civil disobedience in the past and knew there would be consequences to my actions. I never faced 90 years in prison as you do now. I applaud you for your courage and pray that Judge Lind shows leniency. I understand your decision to show contrition, but many of us believe it is unjust for you to spend one more day in confinement while the criminals you exposed continue to enjoy their freedom.

Once I pay that price, I hope to one day live in a manner that I haven't been able to in the past. I want to be a better person, to go to college, to get a degree, and to have a meaningful relationship with my sister, with my sister's family, and my family. I want to be a positive influence on their lives, just as my Aunt Deborah has been to me.

I pray that day comes soon. You have been a positive influence on society. History will treat you more kindly than our current militaristic society. You will continue to be a hero to millions.

I have flaws and issues that I have to deal with, but I know that I can and will be a better person. I hope you can give me an opportunity to prove, not through words but through conduct, that I am a good person and that I can return to a productive life in society. Thank you, Your Honor.

None of us are perfect, Bradley. Your honorable conduct has already had a positive impact on society.

I am sorry - sorry that our society continues to fail you. Thank you, Bradley.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

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Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+57 # Henry Braun 2013-08-15 10:50
These days the sunlight almost seems total.
A few, like Bradley Manning, stand between heaven and earth.
In the light of their shadows we others are reading
messages the dead have stopped sending
these days of almost fatal sunlight.
+12 # ER444 2013-08-16 01:53
What a shame Bradley will not get to read this. :(
+82 # jmar 2013-08-15 10:56
Thank you, Scott. You speak my mind perfectly.
+29 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-08-15 13:42
Bingo, jmar. Scott did a beautiful write, and speaks for sooooo many of us "Brad is our hero" praisers of our true Uncle SAM - Snoden, Assange, Manning.

Brad is a real McCoy people server. Wish we could clone him a fill the halls of now corrupt Congress and White House with true Uncle SAM's.
+1 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-15 23:43
I really, in my heart, believe that Brad should not have apologized. Think the military court while listening to Brad. forcefully suppressed facial laughter but were laughing in their hearts and were thinking about the game, a game played by the powerful, "WGYNYSOB." Translation:"We Got You Now You Son Of A Bitch."
+14 # EternalTruth 2013-08-16 10:08
Mannings apology, like so much that happens in the USA today is fighteningly reminiscent of "1984". (Spoiler Alert!) At the end of the novel, Winston is forced through torture to hate his true self and love big brother. I hope that this apology is merely a attempt to reduce his sentence, and not indicative of the total breakdown of the self of this heroic being.
In 1984, once Winston is broken, they kill him anyway. They break him to show that they can, that resistance is futile. And they kill him as a warning to all would-be rebels. I fear that mannings sentence will see him behind bars for the rest of his life, as an example to anyone who would expose the crimes of the USA. No mercy, no leniency, no forgiveness.
In the words of Rev. Wright, "'God Bless America.' No, no, no, not God Bless America. God DAMN America"
Shame on all of us for allowing this to happen. Thank you Bradley Manning. I am truly sorry for what has been done to you.
+85 # Milarepa 2013-08-15 10:57
" on earth could I, a junior analyst, possibly believe I could change the world for the better, over the decisions of those with the proper authority. "

Mr. Manning, sir, you HAVE changed the world for the better.
+87 # Scott Galindez 2013-08-15 11:01
I tossed and turned last night after submitting my report from yesterday. I couldn't sleep until I expressed how I felt, and not just reported on what happened.
+62 # engelbach 2013-08-15 11:21
Beautifully stated, Scott. Thank you!
+17 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-15 11:42
Mr Galindez, I could not sleep either, but not only because of the self-humiliatio n of Mr Manning but also because, having done so, he also deprived of significance the virtual imprisonment of another hero, Julian Assange, in the London Embassy of Ecuador. With one stroke, Mr Coombs, Manning's defense counsel, has had his client kill two eagles of human dignity.
+78 # Scott Galindez 2013-08-15 11:46
Julian Assange had the right response, calling the apology coerced.
-17 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-15 16:16
Mr Assange is gracious, but the apology by Manning is a self-betrayal and a betrayal of Julian Assange, who is now imprisoned for more than a year in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. A "coerced" apology, certainly. It was still a betrayal of all who supported the heroic political act that is now characterized by Mr Coombs' defense as the error of a disturbed youth who meant no harm to the criminal government that is prosecuting him. A betrayal of himself, of Julian Assange, and of all who supported Bradley Manning!
+14 # Cougar27 2013-08-15 18:23
Show me YOUR red badge of courage or shut up.
-15 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-16 16:03
I did not join the high stakes game that Manning played. Those who play it must keep the cyanide tablet in the mouth and be ready to bite. Manning's confession, which will not save him one day of his life, has hurt the cause of Assange, Snowden, and all other whistle-blowers . Fighting the powerful takes discipline.
I do not need a "Red Badge of Courage". I did not flee from my duty and need to vindicate myself. Get your thinking cap on, Cougar27.
+6 # SeniorCitizen31 2013-08-17 14:41
No, you most certainly didn't join the high stakes game of fighting the oppressive, dictatorial and illegal powers that threaten to enslave you along with the rest of us.

No, you just snivel from the sidelines.
+49 # tigerlille 2013-08-15 12:32
You spoke for so many of us Scott. Thank you.
+45 # WestWinds 2013-08-15 12:32
You did the correct thing, Scott. Bravo.
+49 # DaveM 2013-08-15 11:27
"In the day when crime dons the apparel of innocence, through a curious juxtaposition peculiar to our times, it is innocence that will be called upon to answer for itself" --Albert Camus, "The Rebel".
0 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-15 11:28
I regret the small contributions I made to Pfc Manning's defense. I think Mr Coombs' defense of Manning was poor. He deprived Manning's act of any lasting significance, except to chroniclers of my country's aggression in Iraq. From an international hero, Manning has brought himself down to a mentally disturbed young man who did harm he did not intend. He cannot even be considered for a Nobel PP, which he had deserved. A disgusting spectacle Manning rendered of himself, which will not take a year off his sentence. Coombs should hide his face.
+58 # Scott Galindez 2013-08-15 11:49
It's easy to say that when not facing life in prison.
-10 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-15 16:36
Even if I thought Manning's self-betrayal would save him some freedom for his old age - and I don't think it will save him one day - I would not change my view. We'll see what good it did him, shortly. Your comment, Mr Galindez, is inappropriate, because my criticism is directed at Mr Coombs. Throughout the case, Mr Coombs, like the military judge, eviscerated the political force of Manning's act. Coombs is no Emil Zola, that's a certainty!
+28 # Scott Galindez 2013-08-15 17:41
Time will tell...I have participated in many civil disobedience actions, some with serious jail time at stake.

I think what you wanted Coombs to do was raise defenses already ruled out by the court and do nothing to try and reduce Manning's sentence,

I covered the trial at Fort Meade and found Coombs to have done the best he could.

Bradley could have remained defiant and been sentenced to life in prison, Coombs job is to defend Bradley Manning, not to further the cause.

One of my mentors Phil Berrigan would have been defiant until the end, and in this court in this climate would have been sentenced to life in prison, I don't fault Bradley for not taking that route.
-8 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-16 16:10
If you choose to defy the powerful you should first find the commitment required. What Manning undertook led to consequences he ought to have anticipated. Berrigan was an example of such commitment. People who enlist others in their cause have to be ready to go all the way, because they do harm to their cause and their colleagues when they trade for leniency.
+1 # 6thextinction 2013-08-15 21:10
Re your saying " criticism is directed at Mr. Coombs" is incorrect. You said, "Manning's self-betrayal" and "A disgusting spectacle Manning rendered of himself, which will not take a year off his sentence." You do not consider those criticisms?
+38 # tigerlille 2013-08-15 12:39
No, no, no. This statement does not deprive his actions of any lasting significance; you are over reacting. Think about it. In an action typical of a being struggling with self deprecation and self worth, Bradley demeaned himself, but he never betrayed Julian Assange, and we all know that was the intent and purpose of the systematic institutional abuse that was perpetrated against him. It is our duty to demonstrate to Bradley that he is as much of a hero as
Julian Assange.
-6 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-16 16:18
Yes, they are criticisms and well merited. But we are now allowing, by his confession, that he was a misdirected youth with emotional problems. That allowed, I focused my criticism on Mr Coombs. To fight the powerful, one must be disciplined. We are dealing with a despotic government, led by a man who has taken on the power of an executioner.
-7 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-16 16:19
Manning's confession betrayed Assange. If Manning has harmed the US, as he confessed, then so has Assange. That is the betrayal.
+19 # Jack Gibson 2013-08-15 14:29
You are so right. Coombs should bow his head in shame. That people are praising him for his work "for Bradley", really chaps my hide. Coombs made a hero look like a poor, pathetic, broken man. In truth, though, Manning is just that. The U.S. government and military succeeded in breaking him. They may not have gotten him to give up Julian Assange, but they broke him nevertheless. This poor kid will never be the same again, his life is probably destroyed, and that life will probably end in "shame" that he is not responsible for. But the mass-murderers and so-called "defense" attorneys who sold out their clients, with smiles on their faces, walk free.
+1 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-16 18:52
Note that Snowden and Manning are both idealistic and young. Assange, too, is idealistic, but he is an Australian and I do not know how Australians are propagandized in their schools. I do know that our young people are encouraged to join the armed forces. When they do, they surrender not only their right to do or not do. They surrender their right to make moral judgments. That is what Bradley Manning did not consider when he enlisted. He thought, "We are all Americans, and Americans do not commit atrocities." How many of us are lucky enough to have parents to warn us what military service means, or what it means when you sign a secrecy agreement with our government? Not very many, I would guess!
0 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-17 15:11
I do not know why your post received a few "red" numbers. You have an excellent post. Well, maybe those who posted a "disapprove" will reconsider? I gave you an approve, OK?
+5 # Lowflyin Lolana 2013-08-19 15:51
I hear you on this and I have to say I agree. I'm not physically there and so I don't know and can't say what Manning must do. But I do know that every single time I've heard someone say Manning blew the whistle because of his weaknesses, I get angry. No, he blew the whistle because of his strengths. His moral courage and his selflessness, his understanding that going through channels would NOT work, his commitment to the Constitution abandoned by those with less clarity of vision. Manning is where he is now, not because of his failings as a human being, but because of his triumph as a soldier and an American.
So it makes me angry to hear anyone, even him, saying he is where he is, because it's a bad thing.
It just does.
+16 # Nominae 2013-08-15 21:21
Quoting Innocent Victim:
I regret the small contributions I made to Pfc Manning's defense.........

Part I

How much time, "victim", have you ever spent as a POW ? How much time have you spent in Solitary Confinement ?

How much time have you spent being subjugated to extreme physical and/ or psychological stress techniques of any kind at all ? When, in fact, is the last time that you so much as missed a meal ?

In short, without personal experience in the above types of human endurance tests, *NO* individual knows how s/he will respond under conditions *never before* experienced.

Much less about how another "should" respond, even if you *had* been there, because each response is individual and unique to each person. There IS no "single standard".

This is precisely why as, as aviators during Vietnam, we were required to undergo Survival Schools featuring long daily navigation hikes, very little sleep, and no food for five days,
to mimic being shot down behind enemy lines, and finally, no water for the last day which is spent undergoing brutal interrogation techniques in a simulated concentration camp.
And, yes, water boarding *IS* torture.

I do not mention this for sympathy, but to share what I and my fellow aviators learned: There is *no* - zero, zip, nada - way to predict how *any* human being, including one's own self, will respond to extreme conditions never before encountered.

+15 # Nominae 2013-08-15 21:28
Part II

This was the reason for the schools. So that, in the event that we were shot down behind enemy lines in Vietnam, the subsequent capture and incarceration would *not* be our "first ever" experience with same.

If you have never personally *LIVED* experiences that mimic, or directly compare with what Manning has of late endured, neither you, nor any other "uninitiated" human being on the face of this planet has the *slightest* idea of what they talking about in re this subject.

Your "assessment" of what Manning "woulda-coulda- shoulda" done is not only more empty than the layman's opinion regarding how people should live on Mars, it is also steeped in astounding heights of narcissism which apparently encourage you in self-appointing as the arbiter of what is/was best for Manning, and in insisting that you know best regarding how *everyone* involved "woulda-coulda- shoulda" conducted themselves during the course of a trial at which you were not even in attendance.

If Manning had come out, as a *member* of the military, roaring contempt and defiance *AT* the military, the military, my friend, would have had Manning's a$$ for lunch.

Since it's *Manning's* future on the line, perhaps we can be content to leave the strategy regarding that future up to Manning himself, along with his hired counsel.

This is not Fantasy Football.
-14 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-16 16:22
Espionage is not fantasy football. Those who engage in it should keep a cyanide capsule in the mouth and be ready to bite it. When you take on a despotic government, you are playing a high stakes game. I have not made that choice for myself, but Manning did.
+9 # Trueblue Democrat 2013-08-17 07:29
What espionage are you speaking of? NSA's? CIA's? FBI's? All of which are spying on every American every day. So they should "keep a cyanide capsule" handy? I agree with you, in fact I'll take it a step farther and say they should bite down on it -- immediately.
-4 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-08-16 23:32
I like some of your points. Yet, you say, "......has brought himself down to a mentally disturbed young man who did harm he did not intend." From your perspective, who did Manning harm? Secondly, how do you know Manning is as you say, "mentally disturbed?" Before you reply, how was Manning treated while behind bars? Was his behind bars treatment a form of torture? How would Manning's treatment affect you if you were in his "behind the bars" situation? I'm just asking for your thoughts-not being critical, OK?
+12 # Jack Gibson 2013-08-17 09:47
He's not saying that Manning harmed anyone. He's saying that, by his end-of-sentenci ng- phase confession, he has lowered himself to someone who did harm. He admitted to harm that he did NOT do. So, he's either been broken to the point of really believing that he did harm that he did not do, or he's being dishonest and confessing to things that he knows are not true in order to beg for a lesser sentence. It is my belief that he's both; and thus, he's mentally disturbed because he's a broken man, and because he's now willing to compromise himself as a result of it, and be dishonest in order to throw himself at the "mercy" of an evil court of "no-justice". Do I hold him completely responsible for the latter? No. And I don't do so because of the fact that he's also the former. He's now so broken that he's no longer completely responsible for his actions. The system has succeeded in driving him insane. Otherwise, if they hadn't so-succeeded, he would have stood strong, never admitted any guilt, never would have prostrated himself before that evil court, and would have stood up against it throughout. But they tortured him into submission, so that he couldn't do anything but meekly surrender to their evil fate for him. All of this is now clear to me as never before in consideration of his situation. He's, in a sense, been "Manchurianized "; and turned into the compliant, broken man that he was not, before they broke him. It's not his fault, and I feel nothing but compassion for him.
+36 # Brooklynite 2013-08-15 11:33
I wonder if Manning will get a chance to read this?
+47 # alpha 2013-08-15 11:39
I, too share the thoughts above for Mr Manning. Peace and reconciliation won't come to this country until we all have the courage of Mr. Manning, God bless him.
+27 # James Marcus 2013-08-15 11:54
Proof... of 'The Depth of The Disease' ( Abuse of Power, and ever-present Dis-Honesty)
Manning , the 'Just Hero', apologizing to The Slave Masters and Thieves) (to save his life, of course)
It is Disgusting to allow such Travesty of justice......
-78 # CavKChas 2013-08-15 12:09
No....Americans certainly do not owe Mr. Manning an apology. He was extremely immature and emotionally distressed when doing what he did. Perhaps he would like to pay for all that he destroyed THAT TAXPAYERS WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR!
+35 # tedrey 2013-08-15 12:09
The Army had Manning in his clutches for years, monitored what he could read and who he could see, told him falsely over and over that he had betrayed his country and had caused harm to untold many, and offered him absolution if he would publicly crawl before them. The Army has learned this craft from studying the "trial" methods of Stalin and of Mao.

I doubt they will ever let him read Scott's words here, or speak out to the people without censorship. That little man is still too dangerous to their hold on power. He could destroy them, and what he has done still may do so.

He has had to run himself down too much already; let's not add to his humiliation.
+39 # tigerlille 2013-08-15 12:29
Thank you Scott. It broke something in me to read about Bradley's apology. And if it hurt me, God only knows what the ramifications were for Bradley. I understand that his lawyer is using every tool available that might result in leniency when the sentencing is announced. But this apology demeaned a brave and vulnerable soul. In the end, Bradley Manning is one tough little fucker. They never broke him.
It was obvious that the Army intended to torment him until he betrayed Wikkileaks, and specifically Julian Assange. And it never happened. Be like bamboo, Bradley, and bend with the wind. Ultimately, you will prevail. You already have.
+21 # tigerlille 2013-08-15 14:29
If in saying the Bradley does not deserve to be addressed as "Mr." you are attempting to sneer at his manhood..., get over it. We are all a collection of male and female energies, regardless of which sex we identify with. One blogger defined manliness as the cultivation of many virtues such as courage, loyalty, industry, resiliency, resolution, personal responsibility, self reliance, integrity, and sacrifice. Bradley has all these characteristics in abundance (as do many women). When was the last time you made a sacrifice for the common good?
+39 # WestWinds 2013-08-15 12:36
My heart aches for Sgt. Manning. He is the sacrificial lamb to this Right-wing cult of shameful behavior.
+44 # luvdoc 2013-08-15 12:37
...the uniform code of military justice?...As a marine, I was commended for having passed the UCMJ study course. Now I see it is neither uniform nor just. Manning's being held for years without charges, with his commander in chief declaring him a traitor before trial....the empire has betrayed itself. luvdoc
+33 # seeuingoa 2013-08-15 12:45
Whatever Bradley Manning is saying now
moulded be torturous behaviour of his capturers doesn´t diminish his bravery
in the first place.

Potent drugs and torture can "zombie"
any man.

Remember the film "The Manchurian Candidate ?
-82 # Aggie61 2013-08-15 12:49
Mr. Manning? Sorry, inappropriate honorific. This young man is a naive traitor who broke the law. I doubt his motives were honorable, but even if they were, it makes no difference except for possible consideration of the length of his sentence. The anti-government pronouncements of so many are reminiscent of the '70's. But don't worry. There is no draft, and you don't have to stand up for your country and accept the consequences as honorable citizens. And I am a liberal by the way.
+26 # Jack Gibson 2013-08-15 14:03
Yah, you are liberally brainwashed and moronic.
+23 # dquandle 2013-08-15 14:06
only a "Liberal" as described by Phil Ochs
+26 # tonenotvolume 2013-08-15 19:30
Aggie, your self-delusion is astounding. Pathetically stuck in some anti-draft dodging, Vietnam War, government-as-f ather nightmare created after decades of patriotism, conservative values, and righteous BS, you still wallow in your "honor" as your freedom is being torn apart by your own government. Your comment should have been given on stage next to an empty chair.
-8 # Aggie61 2013-08-18 10:23
Judging by the minuses, I hit the mark. What sacrifices have the critics made in defense of the USA? How mature/experien ced are they?
By every definition, Manning is a traitor who broke the law. He can't be a hero who knew what he doing and the risks he was running and, at the same time, be a child who didn't realize the seriousness of his actions. By the way, one can be a liberal and call for appropriate behavior of soldiers in uniform and under oath, subject to regulations which call for penalties if those regs are violated. Do the crime; serve the time.
+40 # billeeboy 2013-08-15 12:51
Well said Scott. I don't pray but my thoughts and hopes are certainly with Bradley Manning. He is a hero. I am not sure had I been in his position I would have had the courage to do what he did. Thank you Bradley!
+45 # Salus Populi 2013-08-15 12:56
None of us has been in Bradley Manning's shoes; none can judge him for his coerced apology. How many people of his age would have had the courage to do what he did in exposing the monstrous record of the U.S. "leadership"? How many of any age, for that matter? In a just world, not only the criminals who arranged the murder of two million and more Iraqis, but the judge who excluded the necessity defense, would be on trial for their crimes against humanity and the ecosystem. The very fact that those who commit the greatest atrocities, like the captain who shot down the Iranian Airbus during the foul reign of Bush _pere_, are given medals, while those who follow not only their conscience but the Nuremberg Principles and expose the skull behind the masque of comity worn by the elite managers of global pillage are faced with life in prison or the death penalty for "aiding the enemy" [in truth, the population of our country, which is considered the 'enemy' by the Overlords] is stark testimony to just how far we in the United States have fallen. We are the Nazis of the 21st century.
+28 # oakes721 2013-08-15 13:14
As though taking on the roll and dialogue of his prosecutors and giving a parole board a picture perfect example of how he's rehabilitated himself as a result of three years of being isolated, humiliated, caged and tortured, Mr. Manning simply gave them what they wanted to hear ~ that they'd broken the greater American spirit that called upon him to challenge their corruption.
+35 # Jack Gibson 2013-08-15 14:02
Thank you, Scott Galindez, for realizing that Bradley Manning has NOTHING to apologize about or for. This entire debacle that they've put this poor kid through just tears my heart apart. So, thank you for, in the end, making it clear how heart-wrenching "the downfall of Bradley Manning" is. I hope and pray that he is shown mercy, but I don't hold my breath that he will be. God be with you, Bradley, and help you through all of your trials and tribulations, make you a stronger person, help you to get out of prison while you are still young, and enable you to be a truly better person like we all need to be.
+18 # chrisjones 2013-08-15 14:04
Excellent response to Manning's apology. Ditto the Wikileaks statement.

It seems to me that Coombs is approaching this trial in a quite programmatic fashion.

Snowden used the Nuremberg Principles as the basis of his initial defence. That stance has been noticeable by its absence in Coomb's defence of Manning. I think Coombs is being realistic about the hypocrisy of Western governments including the US about these Principles. It is clear that in the eyes of the WW2 Allies, they were, and are, only applicable to the losing side in wars. Victors don't commit war crimes it would appear. 24/7 area bombing (euphemism for carpet bombing of civilians), Dresden, the Dam Busters raid, mass rape of German women by Red Army, Hiroshima, Nagasaki were not war crimes if you please.

No allied soldiers were prosecuted for war crimes or complicity in them at Nuremberg.

Coombs is aware of this hypocrisy and double standards. I assume that he concluded that using this line of defence would be counter-product ive in the circumstances of a rigged show trial.
+24 # chrisjones 2013-08-15 14:15
Send this to Judge Lind with as many signatures as possible before the sentence?
+22 # jackho 2013-08-15 19:30
I couldn't agree more. Somebody has to get to Bradley Manning and tell him that he WAS right, that he did help all of us. People are busy trying to cover up what he exposed, but it's not working, except on Manning himself. How's the Nobel nomination coming along?
+13 # Helen Marshall 2013-08-15 21:49
How can we best convey to this young man that he owes no one an apology, and that we, from the president on down, owe him both an apology and a huge thank you?

I am deeply saddened by reading his remarks, and I can only understand them in the context of intense fear of solitary confinement for decades to come.
+14 # fdawei 2013-08-15 23:17
Amen to your remarks, Mr. Galindez. My heart breaks whenever I see this sketch of Mr. Manning, sitting so aloof and in seclusion.

God Bless Bradley Manning. May He ease your tortuous read ahead.
+14 # guaznu 2013-08-16 00:01
The more one looks at this show trial, the more it recalls the show trial in Nazi Germany of those heroes who attempted to bring Hitler to justice only to end up on a piano wire. Manning must be demonized -they insist- in order to deify "America", Obama and apple pie. No doubt these "truths" are above reproach.
+15 # tm7devils 2013-08-16 01:34
The US Army, and our governmental leaders, will never live down the extreme depravity they have shown of themselves in this debacle.
I served 3 years in the army(honorable discharge) and the positive feelings I had have been mitigated - by their actions - to the toilet.
Anybody who says or thinks "my country, right or wrong" is a fool...and a traitor to our constitution.
+15 # RMDC 2013-08-16 08:12
Yes, these are my feelings exactly. Maybe Manning will never be allowed to read this, but it could be forwarded to Obama and all members of congress thousands of times. These are the people who need to read it.
+14 # Moefwn 2013-08-16 10:58
Exactly what I wanted to say. Thank you, Scott. I only hope he will have the opportunity to read your words.
+4 # Innocent Victim 2013-08-16 18:40
Bradley Manning experience and Edward Snowden's, too, have a lesson for young people which are not being clearly drawn - even by our most progressive journalists and commentators. It is a hard lesson to teach to high school students because they have already been subjected to mythologized history and carefully manicured civics classes. That lesson is: when you join the armed forces or when you sign a secrecy agreement to get a job with classified status, you are surrendering your legal right to make moral judgments for yourself. Your are placing not only your life in the hands of a chain of command, you are also placing your conscience in its hands. If you see things that you think ought not to be done, if you are, yourself, required to do them, you have no way out that would let you continue your life and your mental integrity. Young people have the illusion: we are all Americans, and Americans behave in a certain way: we obey the law; we respect the rights of others; we treat others as we would like to be treated. That is the trap. That is what our schools teach us. That is why we abandon ourselves when we raise that right hand, step forward, or sign a secrecy agreement. A young person must learn that most parents will not warn them about what they are surrendering: their freedom of thought as well as their freedom of action.
+14 # EternalTruth 2013-08-17 15:34
Just as one cannot legally contract oneself into slavery, one cannot legally abnegate ones moral responsibilitie s. No amount of signatures or oaths can excuse complicity or silence in the face of crimes against humanity. This episode shows how truly sick our society has become. The one person in this entire affair with nothing to apologize for is forced to grovel before these perpetrators of war, torture and genocide, who have the audacity to pass judgement on those who refuse to conspire in their crimes.
+9 # TwainPatriot 2013-08-17 22:44
Quoting EternalTruth:
Just as one cannot legally contract oneself into slavery, one cannot legally abnegate one's moral responsibilitie s.
Thank you for making this point. It made it clear to me how degraded my own sense of decency had become! Of course we can't abnegate our moral responsibilitie s, our humanity. We may think we can and many presently "serving" our government seem to think they can, putting "oath" and/or "country" before loyalty to moral responsibilitie s.
First, they cannot without putting their souls, their "sacred honor" (or however one wants to put it) in serious jeopardy. Secondly, they are vulnerable to any honest adjudication under the Nuremberg Principles, coming sometimes more quickly than a cynical calculus might predict. I am praying to be privileged to live long enough to see Mr Manning pardoned and I will work to see he is aware of the grassroots support he has in this country.
+16 # DaveM 2013-08-16 23:28
The day will come when Bradley Manning's name will be engraved in stone as befitting a true hero. Alas, the deeds of heroes virtually always outlive the heroes themselves.

Bless you, Bradley Manning. We, the American people, will not give up on you. And if there are names to be carved in stone, we'd like your hand to be there to hold the chisel.
+9 # 2013-08-17 13:24
I give profound thanks to Bradley Manning, Scott Galindez, Edward Snowden--and to "Innocent Victim".

How many parents fail their children when they encourage them to give up freedoms of thought and action in "joining" the military and consenting to kill and be killed?
+10 # TwainPatriot 2013-08-17 22:25
My tributes are to: RSN for covering the trial; Scott Galindez for keeping his soul intact enough have the response he shares here; and, of course, to Mr. Bradley Manning for being as conscience-stic ken as he was in "leaking" the information in the first place, and for being as strong as he has been, before custody and since, whether now broken, partially broken, or self-serving or whatever. May Mr Manning know the blessing of the knowledge that "courage is fear that has said its prayers". He is one of my heroes already and my grandchildren will know why it is important to know his name and his story, certainly before considering going into military service.
+3 # Eliz77 2013-08-24 15:46
The one thing I have to cavil at you, Scott, is that the Army put her in a situation she couldn't handle. On the contrary, I believe she handled it better than any of the other personnel in the situation, and was the only one competent and brave enough to call out the crimes and criminals.

I also think it it ungracious for all the people safe at home to say that Manning lost cred with that apology. A police sgt. friend of mine reminded us that when you have a gun to your head, you will say whatever necessary to save your life. While 35 years is cruel and obscene, it may be a little easier to move to time served, at least.

The proper verdict would have been not guilty with payment for time served and damages for the torture and an honorable discharge with full benefits.

I must repeat what I have been saying: Pfc Manning lived up to the oath she swore to protect the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. She may have stepped over some minor bureaucratic policies, but she followed the laws of the land and took the high moral road. Bless her and protect her. We need more people like that to make our country strong in compassion and justice for all.

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