Manning “Apologizes”

by SHERWOOD ROSS

Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the Bradley Manning trial was his apology yesterday to the court that, “I am sorry that my actions hurt people…(and) the United States” when, in fact, there is no proof they did either. This show of repentance and contrition offered during the sentencing phase of his trial for feeding WikiLeaks 700,000 military and diplomatic documents is pardonable given that Manning faces 90 years in prison and the price he’s paid for his past honesty and courage has been three years behind bars, during which time he was tortured, humiliated, and hectored as any captive of the medieval Inquisition.

So here is Manning, pleading for forgiveness, confessing the errors of his way, every word out of his mouth undercutting the true reasons for his action, which was that he prayed his leaks would spark “worldwide discussions, debates and reforms.” Yet, who is this idealistic young man from Crescent, Okla., to stand against the likes, say, of a Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State who charged Manning’s action “threatens our national security.”

Ms. Clinton, of course, by supporting America’s criminal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, (for which she will never be asked to apologize in a court of law,) did damage to America that would be unimaginable to PFC Manning, in that the wars she supported have drained the pockets of American taxpayers more effectively than a thousand Las Vegas casinos, and filled the morgues of the Middle East with the remains of a million innocent human beings gunned down by American firepower of the sort that emanated in 2007 from a U.S. Apache helicopter over Baghdad that we would not know about today if PFC Manning had not sent gunsight videotapes of the massacre to WikiLeaks. “There is no evidence that a single US soldier or civilian has been harmed as a result of his leaks,” writes Chase Madar in the August 19-26 issue of The Nation magazine.

Forensic psychiatrist Navy Reserve Captain David Moulton testified, “Manning was under the impression that the information he was giving was going to change the way the world saw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and future wars, actually,” according to a Reuters account of the trial. As Manning is discovering to his sorrow, that kind of idealism has no place in America today, when the country Abraham Lincoln called “the last, best hope of Earth” has degenerated into a common imperial war machine.

“Defense lawyers seeking a milder sentence rested their case on Wednesday after Manning’s statement,” Reuters reported. “With about a dozen witnesses including Army superiors, mental health professionals and Manning’s own sister, they sought to show Judge Colonel Denise Lind that commanders ignored signs of mental stress.”

In fact, the defense has put forward arguments the judge may well dismiss out of hand, such as Manning’s troubled upbringing, the alcoholism of his parents, his desire to be a member of the opposite sex, the unraveling of a romantic relationship, etc., etc. Pardon me, but that ain’t gonna wash.

No, Bradley Manning is going to do hard time for America’s sins guided by a defense that had no chance from the start of obtaining a fair trial, especially after President Obama prejudicially declared two years ago that Manning “broke the law” when he “dumped” those documents. Obama claimed, “We’re a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate.” (!!) This from Global Terrorist Number One, a man who has gutted the Constitution by signing the National Defense Authorization Act into law and has empowered himself to kill people in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere, without legal warrants or trials.

Obama’s assassinations are based on “suspicions” of a CIA Gestapo that has betrayed democracy at every turn while compiling an ugly record of Ku Klux Klan-style kidnapping, torture and murder Obama chooses to ignore. Sadly, the prosecution of Bradley Manning has come to symbolize the new fascism that has taken over America. When Judge Lind sentences Manning, the nation’s prison population will increase at one stroke from two million to 300 million.

Sherwood Ross is former administrative assistant to the Chicago Department of Water & Sewers and served as public relations director for the Illinois Section of the American Water Works Assn. His views do not necessarily represent those of AWWA. Reach him at sherwoodross10@gmail.com.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
September 4-6, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Regime Change Refugees: On the Shores of Europe
Lawrence Ware
No Refuge: the Specter of White Supremacy Still Haunts Black America
Paul Street
Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics
Kali Akuno
Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era
Arun Gupta
Field Notes to Life During the Apocalypse
Steve Hendricks
Come Again? Second Thoughts on My Ashley Madison Affair
Paul Craig Roberts
Whither the Economy?
Ron Jacobs
Bernie Sanders’ Vision: As Myopic as Every Other Candidate or Not?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and Crisis
Jeffrey St. Clair
Arkansas Bloodsuckers: the Clintons, Prisoners and the Blood Trade
Richard W. Behan
Republican Fail, Advantage Sanders: the Indefensible Budget for Defense
Ted Rall
Call It By Its Name: Censorship
Susan Babbitt
“Swarms” Entering the UK? What We Can Still Learn About the Migrant Crisis From Che Guevara
Andrew Levine
Compassionate Conservatism: a Reconsideration and an Appreciation
John Wight
Adrift Without Sanctuary: a Sick and Twisted Morality
Binoy Kampmark
Sieges in an Age of Austerity: Monitoring Julian Assange
Colin Todhunter
Europe’s Refugee Crisis and the Depraved Morality of David Cameron
JP Sottile
Chinese Military Parade Freak-Out
Kathleen Wallace
The Child Has a Name, They All Do
David Rosen
Why So Few Riots?
Norm Kent
The Rent Boy Raid: Homeland Security Should Monitor Our Borders Not Our Bedrooms
Michael Welton
Canada’s Arrogant Autocrat: the Rogue Politics of Stephen Harper
Ramzy Baroud
Palestine’s Crisis of Leadership: Did Abbas Destroy Palestinian Democracy?
Jim Connolly
Sniping at the Sandernistas: Left Perfectionism in the Belly of the Beast
Pepe Escobar
Say Hello to China’s New Toys
Sylvia C. Frain
Tiny Guam, Huge US Marine Base Expansions
Pete Dolack
Turning National Parks into Corporate Profit Centers
Ann Garrison
Africa’s Problem From Hell: Samantha Power
Dan Glazebrook
British Home Secretary Theresa May: Savior or Slaughterer of Black People?
Christopher Brauchli
Poor, Poor, Pitiful Citigroup
Norman Pollack
Paradigm of a Fascist Mindset: Nicholas Burns on Iran
Barry Lando
Standing at the Bar of History: Could the i-Phone Really Have Prevented the Holocaust?
Linn Washington Jr.
Critics of BlackLivesMatter# Practice Defiant Denial
Roger Annis
Canada’s Web of Lies Over Syrian Refugee Crisis
Chris Zinda
Constitutional Crisis in the Heart of Dixie
Rannie Amiri
Everything Stinks: Beirut Protests and Garbage Politics
Graham Peebles
Criminalizing Refugees
Missy Comley Beattie
In Order To Breathe
James McEnteer
Blast From the Past in Buenos Aires
Patrick Higgins
A Response to the “Cruise Missile Left”
Tom H. Hastings
Too Broke to Pay Attention
Edward Leer
Love, Betrayal, and Donuts
Louis Proyect
Migrating Through Hell: Quemada-Diez’s “La Jaula de Oro”
Charles R. Larson
Class and Colonialism in British Cairo
David Yearsley
Michael Sarin: Drumming Like Summer Fireworks Over a Choppy Lake