On the face of it, Bradley Manning was a mature all-American man in his mid-thirties. The U.S. Army selected him to be posted to a war zone in a difficult to handle posting in Baghdad. Additionally, he handled handle sensitive information. Being the U.S. Army, they would have undertaken a background check to see if the young man was a red-blooded American fit for the place and for the job.
The job was to handle classified information which for the Army was just that – information that another government departments would sift through and handle; would know what to do with for further action. It included the Iraq and Afghan war logs, which scores of yet others had labored to produce through video recordings, 250,000 diplomatic cables and 500,000 army reports.
Everyone down the line knew that classified material meant that – that they had to be kept away from the eyes of the world. They knew that if these were ever viewed by anybody and everybody, it would first of all, fall into the hands of the enemies of the United States, and secondly, persons who were probably not able to judge or to pass judgment, would do so.
Yet Bradley Manning chose to do exactly that. He passed on the information through computer networks worldwide and on to the public domain. It did not matter to his infantile mind that he was being used by persons within the media who were doing it for their own financial benefit.
Why was that? The end, it turned out, was self glory. Worse, as far as Bradley Manning, U.S. Army soldier could see at first, no one had figured out the full criticism of the army. Nor had they figured that he should be commended. So in search of self glory he turned to another in the thieves group – a computer hacker. Unfortunately for Bradley, his associate may have been a thief and a hacker, but unlike Bradley, he had feelings for the country to which he owed his citizenship.
Bradley Manning was caught and exposed for what and who he was, and has been able to cobble together a weak defense of himself and a weak apology. The childhood defense reared its ugly head once again. We don’t accept this excuse from murderers or child molesters so why should we accept it from someone like Bradley Manning.
All because he probably knew himself and his failings, – eventually, of biting the hand that feeds. Prison, in the end, remains a mild judgment for someone like Bradley Manning’s mindset.