A Straightforward Verdict

Yesterday's verdict in the Bradley Manning trial marks a reasonable ending to a sometimes absurdly overblown proceeding. Manning was found guilty on 19 counts, including five counts of espionage. A further penalty phase remains ahead. The media is playing the verdict as some kind of triumph. (According to HuffPo, NBC, CNN, and the Chicago Tribune: "Bradley Manning Found Not Guilty of Aiding the Enemy".) This is an exercise in absurdity. The espionage charges alone are more than enough to put Manning away for a long time -- after all, very similar charges put Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the electric chair. The "aiding the enemy" charge was difficult to prove in any case, thanks to the clandestine nature of the war on terror. It is almost impossible to show that any particular terrorist action was a direct consequence of Manning's crime, which is a legal requirement. And it's clear enough that Manning acted not out of malice, but from petulance. He was doing work he didn't like....(Read Full Post)