Thanks, John Cassidy and Xeni. I think this part bears repeating:
Amid all the discussion of the rights and wrongs of whistle-blowing
and WikiLeaks, it’s easy to forget what exactly Manning revealed. In
an article last month calling for him to be pardoned, the *New
Republic’s* John Judis provided a useful reminder of some of the
incidents captured in the battleground reports that Manning released:
American troops killing civilians, including women and children, and
then calling in an airstrike to destroy evidence; the video of an
American Apache helicopter gunship shooting civilians, including two
Reuters reporters; American military authorities failing to
investigate reports of torture and murder by Iraqi police; and a
“black unit” in Afghanistan tasked to perform extrajudicial
assassinations of Taliban sympathizers that killed as many as 373
What has happened to those responsible for these acts? In most cases,
not much. For example, no charges have been brought against the U.S.
military personnel who were in the Apache helicopter when it opened
fire in Baghdad, in July, 2007—an incident that my colleague Raffi
Khatchadourian wrote about at length in his 2010 article on Julian
Assange and WikiLeaks. “When a soldier who shared information with the
press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured
prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our
justice system,” the A.C.L.U.’s Ben Wizner said in a statement. Could
anybody disagree with that?
The idea that Manning belongs where she is for breaking confidentiality agreements, which might have hurt people though I have never seen any incidents named, while she was trying to expose people who were breaking international law, killed people, and are still free, should obviously be a terrible mockery of justice. Yet many are really happy to make an example of the one but quick to forget the other, and we are much poorer for it.