Did you hear? Bradley Manning apologized. What?! No, really! He did. See, the US government isn’t vindictive, it’s vindicated! Or not.
Whistle-blower-in-chief, Bradley Manning took the stand Wednesday during the sentencing phase of his trial to apologize to the poor poor military, and the American people that he so brutally victimized with his reckless truth telling.
It reminds me of Jeremiah Denton Jr. blinking “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” in a forced confession during his eight years as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. We may not have video of Manning’s forced confession, but it still has “TORTURE” written all over it. In fact, I imagine Denton enjoyed better treatment.
Manning currently faces a maximum sentence of 90 years. He said:
I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I am sorry that it hurt the United States.
Truth hurts, doesn’t it? It hurts to know that a US airstrike in Baghdad killed two Reuters reporters, at least 12 innocent civilians, and injured two children. In previous statements, Manning described the Apache pilots as “similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.” But now we’re to believe that he’s sorry he hurt us by telling us about it. Nevermind that prosecution witnesses have testified that no actual damage occurred and no deaths resulted from Manning’s leaks. He’s sorry he hurt people not even the prosecutors say he hurt.
Manning also said:
I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those effects are clearer to me now through both self-reflection during my confinement in its various forms.
Read between the lines. Doesn’t “during my confinement in its various forms” essentially mean torture? While he was “confined” at Quantico, Psychiatrist Captain William Hocter noted that Manning was held in solitary confinement for 11 months. Hocter recommended multiple times that he be allowed to socialize with other detainees and to have exercise. Instead, officials kept him in a 6′ by 8′ cell for 23 hours out of the day without the ability to talk to others. Claiming clothing was a risk to his health, officials first required him to strip down to his boxers while in “confinement,” but later required him to strip totally nude. Are those the “broader effects” that became clear through “self-reflection”?
I look back at my decisions and wonder, ‘How on earth could I, a junior analyst, possibly believe I could change the world for the better over the decisions of those with the proper authority?’ I know that I can and will be a better person. I hope that you can give me the opportunity to prove, not through words but through conduct, that I can return to a productive place in society.
How, indeed. Nevermind that he already has changed the world. But how about that quip about “proper authority?” What military propagandist wrote that for him?
In retrospect, I should have worked more aggressively inside the system.
Well if that’s not just a bow on top of a turd sandwich.
These comments are so obviously coerced it’s insulting that anyone actually expects us to believe them. Make no mistake, this is a forced apology, as empty as the apology a parent extracts from a child.
I don’t blame Manning for making this mea culpa. The man has been tortured and maligned, and railroaded through a kangaroo court for revealing the war crimes of those with “proper authority.” Let him make whatever statement they ask and reduce his punishment as much as he can. Nothing they can do to him will reduce the impact he has made.
Last February he insisted that the American people had the right to know the “true costs of war.” Now he’s apologizing for telling it to us. Well I call shenanigans. This is a statement extracted under extreme psychological and physical duress, and under the threat of life in a cage. That the State is now compelling such repudiations from it’s political prisoners only further exposes how depraved they have become.
Manning is scheduled for sentencing next week. Maybe once the trial is over a sincere statement can be leaked.