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READ: Bradley Manning’s full letter to President Obama requesting presidential pardon

After Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning, received a sentence of 35 years in prison for the leaking of classified information, her lawyer David Coombs publicly read a letter addressed to President Obama asking for a presidential pardon.

The letter described Manning’s disenchantment of the tactics used in the “war on terror” waged after 9/11 in Iraq and Afghanistan, citing the U.S.’s alleged use of torture, civilian casualties and Guantanamo Bay.

Read the full text of the letter below, via the Associated Press:

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy – the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps – to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

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54 Comments

54 Comments

  1. Jim S

    August 22, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    BULLSHIT! The man is a traitor and got off far too lightly. He needs to shut the “F” up and take his punishment like the girl he thinks he is.
    Hopefully Snowden will get much worse when we get our hands on him. Every nation has to have it’s secrets from its enemies and even its own people in order to keep its own people safe! We can’t allow yahoos like Bradley and Snowden to violate the trusts of their security clearances!

  2. Chuck

    August 22, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Who is this “we” dreaming of harming Snowden? The “we” that has to be kept from knowing what some other “we” decides to do? The “we” that can’t allow whistleblowing? Jim, the “we” of me and people who agree with me that transparency is necessary to a democratic society think that empowering CIA spooks to do whatever they want because “we” can’t handle the truth is BULLSHIT!

  3. Albert

    August 22, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    You’d feel different, Jim S, if it was your family gunned down for NO REASON AT ALL. You’re just another full of shit “patriot”. Wave your flag and drink your Budweiser and pretend that our government, or any government for that matter, is doing these things to keep YOU safe and not to protect their own financial interests.

  4. Steve

    August 23, 2013 at 12:44 am

    And fortunately Jim S, we don’t have yahoos like you looking after the humanity Bradley so eloquently describes.

  5. Guy LaFark (@CoolAndNormal69)

    August 23, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Jim S,

    You are a terrible human being. Manning is a hero, Snowden has also done the public a great service. I hope you enjoy being on the wrong, and the fascist, side of history you insufferable piece of trash.

  6. Logan

    August 23, 2013 at 5:03 am

    You are a gross bigot and a clear idiot.

  7. JP

    August 23, 2013 at 5:07 am

    Yes, let’s “f” her up because she has a conscience and decided the American people should know the full extent of the deceptions their government uses. Let’s keep atrocities and law breaking secret so our enemies don’t find out our hands aren’t as clean as we demand theirs be. Idiot.

  8. JP

    August 23, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Excuse me, I meant yeah,“she needs to shut the f up” and not be truthful and follow her conscience.

  9. Jacob R.

    August 23, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Hope he receives his pardon. It’s a shame that people are prosecuted for revealing how monstrous the USA is sometimes.

  10. beerto

    August 23, 2013 at 5:19 am

    Good thing this a hole didn’t work for the coalition intelligence during one of the great world wars, in a time where both sides dropped millions of tonnes of bombs onto the city streets all over Europe, could you imagine what would happen if someone like this guy handed the Germans our battle plans for Normandy?

  11. Delboy

    August 23, 2013 at 5:20 am

    As a non American living in America I have to some what Agree with Jim. This Guy/Girl plain and simple committed Treason a therefore must go to prison!!!! He must count his luck stars as in olden day’s he would have surely faced the firing squad!!! In hind site I have to say this would be cheaper than keeping his sorry ass in jail for the next 35 years!!!

  12. biggingeryeti

    August 23, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Yeah slaughtering innocent civilians to keep your nation safe is security 101, am I right?

  13. Billy

    August 23, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Retard.

  14. Robert F

    August 23, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Jim S… you are obviously an ignorant, immoral ass if you condone and support the atrocities of killing and maiming non-combatant innocents and, further, hiding it from the American people.

  15. Marcus Jenkins

    August 23, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Manning aided the enemy, pure and simple. But hey, now everyone knows that if you violate your clearance and expose countless innocent agents to torture and death you’ll get to retire to Florida like the rest of us!

  16. Art Hawley

    August 23, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Granted, we have a need to keep secrets from those who would harm us. We don’t need to keep secrets that cover up war crimes. No people should sanction war crimes committed by their government. War crimes inspire hatred and righteous indignation in their victims. It promotes terrorism. It is a foolish tactic. It is a losing tactic if these wars have anything to do with stopping terror.

  17. tinah kenney

    August 23, 2013 at 6:08 am

    @Jim S…….I agree with you. Let is ass rot in jail. While he is becoming a her on the taxpayers.

  18. Colin

    August 23, 2013 at 6:09 am

    So we should instead forget our morality and decide to destroy the homes of people who did nothing wrong, then decide to spy on them, while also torturing them for information.

    If that is what you think, I guess it’s not a big deal.

  19. Jesse

    August 23, 2013 at 6:22 am

    ^ That’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever read another human being write. It shames me to breath the same air as you.

  20. Sam C

    August 23, 2013 at 6:47 am

    I disagree wholeheartedly with the idea that a country HAS to have secrets from its enemies. Why do we even have enemies? We have them because someone, somewhere did something we didn’t like. 9/11/01 was well over a decade ago and we’re still killing people because of it. Hell, we’ve eliminated numerous top agents and even the man responsible for the action and yet we’re still at war. Why? If anything, I hope Snowden and Bradley give others the courage to stand up and do whats right and divulge more classified information. Government is just another way of saying ‘Better than you’, and I’m tired of the TEApublican’s thinking they are better than me because they sit in cushy leather chairs and make asinine laws and infringe on my civil liberties. I HAVE the right know things, and no one, not even the POTUS can deny me my right to knowledge.

  21. Roman Stadtler

    August 23, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Now that we’ve heard from the Vindictive Sexist, howabout some intelligent replies?

  22. Charlie McRae

    August 23, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Go home, Jim S. You’re drunk.

  23. pibulus

    August 23, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Jesus, did you even read the letter Jim?

  24. Rest of the world

    August 23, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Fuck off dipshit. This is why you American hicks are the laughing stock of the world with backwards thought processes like that. Do the world a favour and ask a US soldier to turn a rifle at your face and get him to pull the trigger, I’m sure you will find a queue of trigger happy psychopaths wearing a US soldiers uniform who would get an erection at the thought of killing an innocent person.

  25. christian

    August 23, 2013 at 8:45 am

    You probably have no idea what these people revealed? Keep your mouth in the sand with the rest of your head.

  26. Jack Douglas Miller

    August 23, 2013 at 10:18 am

    When a nation lies to it’s citizens we must question it. Manning saw first hand the torture, murder of innocents and the inhumanity of American aggression. It took courage to revel the truth at a huge personal risk. The whistle blowers should be honored not persecuted. Why haven’t those guilty of war crimes been charged? PARDON BRADLEY MANNING!

  27. King

    August 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

    You are a little bitch. But not for the traditional reasons, you are a little bitch because all you can do is bitch and moan about men (and women) who are better than you. You don’t have the balls to stand up for your beliefs and you have no sense of morality. So all you can do is sit behind a computer and call men much better than your stupid sorry little bitch ass and complain.

    You Jim, win the little bitch of the year award.
    Great job!

  28. CBC

    August 23, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Jim S, you are not worthy of the freedoms you have.

  29. Jake Kent

    August 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

    You’re a special kind of special aren’t you!

  30. Joe T

    August 23, 2013 at 11:59 am

    You are the dumbest motherfucker to ever fuck a mother.

    Do you honestly believe we’re better off not knowing that the government is spying on us, violating international laws, violating The ROE and killing children?

  31. Ferd

    August 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    You do not even begin to understand what “treason” is, by definition, Jim. I would suggest you stick a sock in it.

  32. Duane Couchot-Vore

    August 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Manning was right. If we throw away our way of life to protect our way of life, we are all insane.

  33. a

    August 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I think Manning did the right thing. He should be freed. Our government should be held accountable. There are no excuses.

  34. Simon Johansson (@Simon92SWED)

    August 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Jim S is one of the blind people living in america. I pity those who only listens to the american media who does nothing but making the president look good. If you would open your mind to other news sources than american ones you would soon realize that the land of the free isn’t as free as it used to be, just look at the NSA for an example. Now if I recall correctly the founding fathers did also break against the rules of the current rulers of america to spread the word of liberty. I also see Manning’s attempts at requesting a pardon as futile since the government can’t accept being wrong. But maybe, maybe this could be a wake-up call for all of us in the world that the progress of the united states of america is going in the wrong direction.

  35. Kenton Forshee

    August 23, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Jim, You would do well in a Fascist country.

  36. JoergDE

    August 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I my eyes he is a hero. And I am sorry to say that but most americans have paranoia!

  37. JoergDE

    August 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    You have paranoia like most americans. Europe is not an enemie of the US but you spy out eurpeans. But in Germany the privacy of all people is guaranteed by our constitution. So f***k up and stop spying in Europe.

  38. Rebekah

    August 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Bradley Manning is absolutely right. The U.S. has lost its way. We are not supposed to trash The Constitution with The Patriot Act. We are not supposed to kill innocent people and journalists. We are not supposed to torture people. What we have been doing is no better than the atrocities the U.S. has done (and apologized for) in the 1700’s, 1800’s, and 1900’s. The U.S. was supposed to learn from their mistakes of these previous centuries. Apparently the U.S. believes that they are too good for that.

  39. Chase

    August 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    “He needs to shut the “F” up and take his punishment like the girl he thinks he is.”

    Wow, Jim S. Girls need to shut up and take their punishments? Really? Your comment implies that you think men ought to dominate society and treat women as subordinate. So long as you continue to use these kinds of slurs, I’ll know that the US hasn’t quite gotten past it’s history of oppression. You merely contribute to the problem, and trample real human beings’ dignities in the process. Your insult targets 50% of the population and attempts to make them feel less than human (or at least less than men). Just stop.

    P.S. I’m a straight white male in a high income bracket. If I can do it, you can (and should) too.

  40. E-whiz

    August 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    BULLSHIT! The main is a hero and deserves to be pardoned. More people need to come forward and speak out against the atrocities being committed. Snowden revealed that every aspect of our lives are being spied on by the government without warrant or just reason, only in the name of fighting terrorism. Jim S sounds like he’s happy with his head in the sand, not caring that our liberties are being stripped away daily as we slide further into a police state. Sheeple like you are the reason the government is allowed to get away with this.

  41. Jim S is a dipshit

    August 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    You clearly have no idea what the definition of a traitor is. Feel free to continue your blind support of a government that will choose to fuck you over at every chance. I can’t wait for your generation to die off.

  42. JC

    August 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    It’s nice he could find a convenient quote from somebody named Howard Zinn. I have another quote:

    War is hell.

  43. Michael

    August 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    You’re a fascist pig.

  44. Jim S is a Сunt

    August 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Butthurt much ?

  45. Eric Davis

    August 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Jim, You shut the F up. Its people like you “simple minded” who were committing the crimes who started all this. People are one of the two, Evil; and Rightreous….What Bradley did wasnt out of evilness, He was trying to do the right thing for Humanity…. I support him and hope our President pardons him before he leaves office.

  46. cu4achat

    August 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Having secrets of gunning down innocent civilians, is in no way a security threat. We need more whistle blowers to make our governments accountable!

  47. Fantastic MrFox

    August 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    It is you, who is the bull shit

  48. Brandi A

    August 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Jim S – you are an idiot

  49. Vince Metzler

    August 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Jim S, you’re a piece of shit. You actually care more about security clearance than you do about transparent democracy and liberty, about whistleblowers doing the right thing. Oh, and I love how you make a thinly veiled rape joke while bashing on the fact she’s trans. Go die in a fire.

  50. jeremy

    August 24, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Jim I would feel safer if you were in jail and bradley manning were president!

  51. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog of the Will

    August 24, 2013 at 5:34 am

    So youre admitting that the US government considers the American People to be its “enemies”?

    Because thats exactly what Snowden did, he leaked crimes that the US government was committing against US citizens, TO the citizens of the United States. He leaked how the US government was spying on its allies. Not enemies. ALLIES. Allies and its own citizens. He didnt commit treason, he EXPOSED treason.

  52. Tired of Haters

    August 31, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Jim S.
    Many of the people you are talking to think that the world is perfect. They think just because a person doesn’t have a weapon in their hands they are not guilty of murder. He (Manning) is a traitor. The information he gave away allowed the enemy to know who was an informant among them. He gave the enemy propaganda material. He is the lowest of scum. He should have been sentenced to death. I feel no sympathy for him. There were uprisings that caused soldiers to be attacked and killed because of him providing information. During a time of war aiding the enemy is punishable by death. So, Jim S both of those snitches deserve to be punished to the maximum. Freedom isn’t free. Many of my friends have paid a price. To whom much is given much is owed. Thanks for having the courage to say something Jim S.

  53. cameron

    August 31, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    some of the people commenting are just as bad as right wingers, throwing around names and accusations if they dont agree with you. shame on you all verbal assaulting jim because he has a differing opinion. how about this, you ask why he feels that way and you both have an intelligent cnversation rather than calling him names and saying he doesnt deserve to breathe the same air as you? who the hell are you? commenters like the ones above me are an embarassment to progressives or liberals (which ever you consider your self). how about you all relax.

  54. Stewart

    September 10, 2013 at 12:19 am

    I think the point is that Manning was not selective about what he released. If he was specific and released those documents that showed Americans acting against the interest of the US or against civilians it would have been more forgivable. Unfortunately Manning dumped everything out of the system to third parties including information that should not have been.

    I’m inclined to think that he should not be released because he was indiscriminate about who or what he hurt in the US. Much like what he was accusing the US of doing.

    Disclaimer: I am not a citizen of the USA but I do like the US and its people.

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