The commutation of the sentence of disgraced Army Private Bradley Manning by President Obama is yet another example of his leniency with American enemies and a shameful last act as commander-in-chief, states the National Review in a scathing editorial published on Wednesday.
“Barack Obama is nothing if not consistent. He is lenient with American enemies foreign and domestic,” the editors write. “Make no mistake, his decision to commute the remainder of Bradley (Chelsea) Manning’s jail term sends the message that soldiers can betray their nation — without regard to the lives of their brothers and sisters in arms — yet still expect to receive compassion from their government, so long as they’re ‘whistleblowing’ on an unpopular war.”
Bradley changed his name to Chelsea in 2014 and fought to receive hormone treatments courtesy of the Department of Defense to help him through his “gender dysphoria” and to transition into a woman.
Manning received a 35-year sentence for dumping thousands of top-secret military files on WikiLeaks amounting to “one of the largest security breaches in American military history,” according to NR:
These files not only disclosed the identities of individuals working with Americans and spotlighted vital and sensitive classified diplomatic efforts, they provided a comprehensive overview of American military operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan — including detailed descriptions of American tactics and strategies, right down to descriptions of the vehicles used in various missions, the purpose of the missions, and the targets of operations. In other words, to borrow a football analogy, it was like handing the opposition your playbook — except with lives on the line.
During Manning’s trial, prosecutors introduced evidence that al-Qaeda was not only gleeful about the leak (one of its spokesmen said, “By the grace of God, the enemy’s interests are today spread all over the place”), Osama bin Laden himself “asked for and received” the “Afghanistan battlefield reports that WikiLeaks published.”
Manning claimed what he did was to start “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.” That he did so in protest of the Iraq war, and the fact that he is transgender, won him brownie points with the mainstream media. As NR noted, The New York Times sympathized with Manning and praised Obama’s actions as having “rescued” a transgender woman from an “uncertain future” at an all men’s prison.
Manning’s sentence was already lenient, but obviously not enough for the president. Though he faced a 60-year prison term, Manning was only handed 35, with the chance of parole after ten years.
“Manning will soon walk free, ultimately serving a sentence no longer than that of a garden-variety domestic felon,” states the editors. “In the meantime, across the globe, our enemies better understand our military tactics, friends who’ve risked their lives to fight jihad live in fear, and diplomatic trust is breached. Manning’s commutation was worse than foolish. It was unjust, and it broke faith with America’s warriors. The price paid for betrayal proved to be low indeed.”
As David French reminded in his piece, the official Warrior Ethos states: “I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.”
Manning broke every one of them, French argued:
When he dumped hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic secrets into the public domain, he violated every single tenet of the warrior ethos. He abandoned the mission. He “accepted” defeat and, through his data dumps, worked to facilitate it. He quit on his comrades, acting with utter, callous disregard for their lives. His message to his unit and to his nation was clear: He would disobey lawful orders and risk killing his comrades to, in his words, stimulate “worldwide discussions, debates, and reforms.”
Instead of enforcing the military code as commander-in-chief, President Obama violated his oath and proved for the last time that “he simply does not understand the essence of military leadership or the core of military culture” even after eight long years, said French.