Letter to the Editor

Traitor or hero?

Morro BayAugust 23, 2013 

Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. To some, he is a traitor, our president included. To others, he’s a hero, even martyr.

Most Americans seem more interested in Edward Snowden because he has blown the whistle on something we really care about: our phones and technology. Also, wasn’t Manning a soldier, sworn to defend his country?

After World War II, America led the Nuremberg Trials and others in the Pacific theater to try and punish war criminals. The legal proceedings against the Nazi hierarchy is especially wellremembered as something that separated “us” from “them.” Terrible things were laid bare. Not even the guilty denied that they committed heinous acts. Their paramount argument was that they were only following orders. The free world argument was that there is a moral higher order. To be “not guilty,” one must defy immoral acts no matter the consequences.

Bradley Manning did that. He showed us civilians being killed in an American war that, at best, is an admitted act committed in the name of bad intelligence. Many of his detractors have called him, at best, naïve. However, at Nuremberg, we would have had to set him free.

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