Bradley Manning: Too Fragile For Service In Iraq?

According to The Guardian, some of his commanding officers thought so. Indeed, some of the specifics, if reported instead about a civilian accused of a serious felony, e.g., murder, would probably be enough to result in a directed verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. But the military is a wholly different environment, and the context in which Manning found himself appears to have been lax about security to a point that would have resulted in termination of contracts or firing of employees in the business world in which I worked before retirement. So for at least those two reasons, it is difficult to draw a meaningful analogy.

Be sure to watch the video embedded in this Guardian post. Unlike most crap from American broadcast news sources, this one is densely packed with information. I’m still not sure what conclusion to draw, but if Bradley Manning is forced through a trial inexorably driven to a guilty verdict, I will require a lot more convincing that justice has been done. This man is quite possibly sick, even if he did what is alleged and even if that act was harmful to security… both conditions not yet established IMHO. This matter must not be allowed to be resolved purely on a basis of presidential expediency.

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  • Bryan  On Friday June 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    The UCMJ recognizes the insanity defense, and the official conduct while Manning was being held at the brig in Virginia makes that defense even stronger. The brig commander kept claiming Manning was psychotic and suicidal.

    Frankly, based on the description of his behavior before being deployed, his clearance should have been pulled. He really should have been out processed for “the good of the Army” as “incompatible with military requirements”. I’ve seen it done for things that were a lot less bizarre that Manning’s reported actions.

    • Steve  On Friday June 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      Bryan, I’ll depend on your assessment of the legal situation under UCMJ, as I have little direct knowledge of the code. What I do know is that the conditions of Manning’s imprisonment, and the initial delays in bringing charges, and still further delays in bringing the matter to trial, AND the very real probability that the information he may have disclosed (he cannot be guilty at this point because he hasn’t been tried) may yet prove embarrassing to the powers-that-be, give the whole matter a fishy smell. And even the Commander-in-Chief hasn’t the power to order the stench to disappear.

      Should Manning have been retained in the Army? probably not, and the reports on his service mentioned in the video indicate that I’m not the only one who feels that way. Should he be treated as he is being treated? almost certainly not. This is still America; the rule of law may not predominate anymore, but it is still in theory the basis on which we run our society… including our military. If he is to be tried, let’s get on with it. If not, release him… and discharge him, if that is appropriate.

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