Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Manning verdict was a pleasant surprise


By THE KENNEBEC JOURNAL

A counterterrorism policy should be guided by thoughtful realism, not by fear. Too often, that’s not the case.
    Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was acquitted on the most serious of the charges he faced for disclosing secret U.S. government documents—a decision that recognizes that it’s just as wrong to overreact in the fight against terrorism as it is not to react at all.
    So, the verdict in the Bradley Manning espionage trial was a pleasant surprise.
    Military judge Col. Denise Lind found Manning guilty of most of the charges he faced for stealing thousands of documents that were published worldwide on the WikiLeaks website. But she acquitted Manning on the most serious count, aiding the enemy, which could have put him in prison for life.
    Judge Lind recognized that it’s just as wrong to overreact in the fight against terrorism as it is not to react at all. The use of torture, abuse of prisoners and the ongoing embarrassment of the prison at Guantanamo Bay are all examples of times when government officials have gone too far, and the damage they have done to our reputation as a nation is something we may not overcome for a long time.
    If you don’t believe that, look at a letter sent this week to Russia’s minister of justice by Attorney General Eric Holder, who is attempting to extradite leaker Edward Snowden from Russia. Snowden had told authorities there he’d be tortured and possibly executed if he were returned to this country.
    Holder called the claims “entirely without merit” and wrote, “Torture is unlawful in the United States.” Holder added that Snowden would not face the death penalty for revealing the existence of a secret program of the National Security Agency to collect telephone and computer use data.
    When the attorney general of the United States has to defend the credibility of America’s human rights policies to the government of Russia, we should admit that there is a cost to the anti-terrorism overreactions of the last decade. Torture may be against the law, but the world knows that people in the U.S. government can get around those laws when they want to, and no one has been punished for going too far.
    Manning may have broken the law when he copied thousands of pages of reports of incidents on the ground in Iraq that challenged the rosy picture of the war he thought Americans were seeing through the media. But the war itself was an overreaction to 9/11. It would have been a grave injustice to convict him of aiding the enemy when his intent—whether you find it heroic or misguided—was to help his country see the truth.
    Since 9/11, restraint and commitment to due process and the rule of law have been criticized as soft on terrorism. Col. Lind’s verdict shows that it is possible to draw a line and say that some responses go too far, even if they are intended to make us safe. This is a line that we should not be afraid to draw more often.


The Kennebec (Maine) Journal published this editorial on Aug. 1.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2019 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.