I would be awfully negligent to ignore the topic of disgraced army PFC Bradley Manning as his soap box opera is starting to unfold. To those who have not heard the recent news about the American traitor: Manning has just plead guilty to 20 years worth of espionage charges which amounts to only half of the charges actually levied against him. As a former member of the military myself it just reminds me of the differences between the civilian world and the military and how efficient they are. How things would be if we ran things like the military. Don't get me wrong I don't support a military state controlled by the military but I do think civilian public officials could and really should take note of the behavior and actions of the military member. In this article we'll discuss what I think of Manning, and we'll discuss UCMJ, We'll note the liberals and the Manning support groups, and we'll touch on some other military to civilian topics that should be mentioned.
The big deal is Manning today stepped before a military judge and gave his guilty pleas as we knew and expected that would eventually happen. He's not dealing with a wishy washy civilian court and it's loopholes. He's dealing with the time old steel emblazoned shield of Uniformed Military Justice System or in short UCMJ. Right before he entered his plea the judge allowed him to read a note to the court which could be noted to be more of an shallow excuse for his actions then anything else. Bradley Manning said "I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information … this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general". He boldly said that to a room full of military members as if that sort of excuse for his actions was going to make it all better or make someone tear up. However the military is exact and quick to the point and one would note that sparking domestic debate on any topic or policy is not Manning's job. In fact in addition to not being his job it falls under the realm of politics which is frowned upon in the military and I know that one for a fact. However the real point being that this kid abused his security clearance and knowingly violated confidential records to get his 15 minutes of fame. His fame undoubtedly cost human life, disrupted foreign policy, and made ever lasting problems for the United States that we are still experiencing. So the underlying statement in his excuse is that he knew what he was doing, he knew it was wrong, and it was premeditated. It's actually my opinion that Julian Assange, the old man who owns WikiLeaks, discovered Manning and exploited him as a weak link in a chain that he hates. Most noted that Manning sits behind bars while Assange performs a soap box opera in London in a Ecuadorian embassy hoping to evade justice. Doesn't seem all that fair but then again I sympathize with neither because both are guilty of their own actions and choices.
UCMJ on the other hand I do know and sympathize with because it's a "take no shit" doctrine that has very few loopholes. You are either innocent or guilty which is why military tribunals take so long. There is no play or manipulation performances by lawyers because each side consists of highly trained military personnel trained in legalities. Taking Manning's 20 charges under UCMJ for example…the worse one which is Aiding and Abetting the Enemy carries a max penalty of the death sentence alone. While I doubt that the lethal sentence will be handed down (UCMJ hasn't executed anyone in decades) it is quite likely if found guilty of that charge Manning will be sentenced to life imprisonment in a military prison. Not one of those fancy state penitentiaries you see on TV shows like Lock Up but a strict and hard labor prison ran by the military. Those sort of prisons make life in Rikers Island Prison look like a vacation in paradise practically. Again nothing less then the American Traitor deserves and if you think about it…one of his predecessors, Benedict Arnold, got far worse.
As crazy and rather disgusting as it is however Bradley Manning does have a following of supporters who think he should be released for doing the world some sort of service. We call these folks civilians to the most meaning of the term. People who have never served the nation, who have never committed time and life to the military, and those who just do not understand the situation. To these guys Manning is some sort of folk hero who went against the powers that be instead of what he really is: a criminal. While these supporters consist of many liberals it's also surprising that a number of Libertarians take up his banner as well. Ron Paul for example was a supporter of Manning and called for his release…which is absurd considering Ron Paul's prior service to the Air Force. I personally consider Libertarians to be more liberal than conservative but I'll leave it to you to decide why such groups support a criminal and prop him up so high. Then again Michael Dorner the serial killer ex-cop had a fan following too. Maybe the nation is really more disturbed than I previously thought.
In conclusion to this article I would like to say that I am personally very happy to see progress being made in this trial as well as seeing Manning plead guilty for at least 20 years of imprisonment. I hope the trial goes swiftly and justice is carried out. I warn all those in the trust of the military to respect your security clearance and to think of your nation and comrades. Claims of depression is no excuse for violating that trust….this is the military and we we're all depressed at one time in it's service. It's not the easiest life and it's not the kindest but we knew that much when we signed the dotted line. I am recalled of a WW2 propaganda poster I saw once from the Allied Forces that will suffice as todays quote. I do not know who said it but it's a famous line now in our history. "Loose Lips Might Sink Ships". While sounding naval it's actually been neutralized to apply to other situations as a saying but originally military superiors feared that loose lips could ruin the surprise of D-Day. Same result would apply to what Manning has done.