Chelsea Manning, current resident of Leavenworth and latest pardon recipient of President Obama should not exist to be pardoned. Actually it isn’t a pardon, just a commutation of the sentence and Chelsea Manning is due to be set free in May of 2017. Seven years imprisonment for a traitor who violated national security and put ground forces in an active war zone at risk. According to intelligence sources, ours, our allies and enemies, the Taliban rejoiced at getting operational information on our forces in Afghanistan. According to intelligence sources, military advisors and both sides of the political aisle, this leaked information led to the deaths and injuries of numerous American warriors. The injured and the families of the fallen have received a life sentence because of this traitor, but the traitor gets to walk free after seven years confinement. Chelsea Manning should not exist to be pardoned because had Bradley Manning not been allowed to plea down from charges of Treason and Aiding and Abetting the Enemy, Bradley Manning would have been executed.
Manning’s counsel advised him that given the seriousness of the charges, the overwhelming evidence, and the fact that American soldiers were injured and killed as a result of his actions, a death sentence was all but guaranteed. So, Manning’s attorneys arranged a plea deal that allowed murmurs of his state of mind over being an un-transitioned transgender in the military to ameliorate his guilt. This line of argument was then successfully used to get Bradley Manning permission to transition into Chelsea Manning, of course on the government dime while serving a 35-year sentence. Afterall, it would be cruel and unusual punishment to continue to inflict the mental torture the imprisoned traitor already endured, mental anguish that somehow contributed to his decision to be a traitor, by not facilitating his transition into her.
Of course, Republicans are screaming from the roof tops that Obama just sealed his fate as the President who has done more harm to our national security than any other in history. What Republicans should be doing is thanking Obama for this parting gift. With this one decision, he has invalidated all the histrionics over the supposed impact of leaking national security secrets on the outcome of the election.
Some Democrats have already realized this and are tongue-tied and stammering trying to explain why it was bad when WikiLeaks did it to Hillary and the DNC, but it’s not bad enough to keep someone in prison who plead guilty to avoid a near-certain death sentence for the same thing. WikiLeaks is celebrating, saying this is a win and a protection for future whistle-blowers but Democrats really can’t join in that narrative, because again, it undermines their other narrative.
The one group that should be most outraged about this ill-conceived commutation is the LGBTQXYZ community. Even if Obama’s speech tomorrow doesn’t include some sort of reference to how Bradley Manning’s mental state over needing to become Chelsea Manning played a role in his decision to commute the sentence of this traitor, the subtext is there. Part of Bradley/Chelsea Manning’s original defense was oblique references to the mental strain being secretly transgendered had on the Private, as if this somehow explained his crimes. This defense was denounced by the trans community for the implications of mental illness and being transgendered at a time that community was fighting to be accepted as “normal”.
Manning did what he did in part because of his mental state, therefore he, now she, is deserving of a commutation and therefore gender dysphoria is not a medical issue but a mental health issue. We’re not supposed to imprison the mentally ill, we’re supposed to treat them for their mental illness, therefore it is good and right and just to commute Manning’s sentence. This is the logic that will be used and can’t be argued, because Obama, the leader of the party of their champions proved it by his actions. This is the true tragedy for the transgender and the LGBTQXYZ communities and another gift for Trump and the Republicans.
The LGBTQXYZ community was finally becoming accepted and mainstream, but now will be forever and inextricably linked to this debacle Obama unleashed. One word about Bradley/Chelsea Manning’s mental state from Obama, the White House or Democrats and questions about mental fitness and being transgendered are back. Even if Obama doesn’t go there in his speech, the association will be there in people’s minds. Because no one, not even his most rabid supporters, can spin this any other way without completely undermining the current narrative about national security and WikiLeaks/Russians invalidating Trump’s win.
I’m betting another spin will be that if Obama didn’t commute this sentence Trump never would. That accusation is accurate not because Trump supposedly hates gays, but because he actually supports our men and women in uniform, something Obama and anyone who supports this move, can ever again claim. Obama illegally traded five high level terrorists for another traitor, Bowe Bergdahl. The military and veteran community more than half expected Obama to preemptively pardon that one, but no one saw this commutation of Manning coming.
So the question remains, why did Obama give Trump and the Republicans this parting gift? Because it sets a precedent. Playing fast and loose with national security, leaking classified and top secret information is only bad under certain circumstances. We have to take into account all kinds of other factors, like mental states. Intentions. Reasons. Excuses. I’m betting Obama’s last move will be to grant a preemptive pardon to Hillary. In the case of Manning, it’s mental state. In the case of Hillary, its intentions.
This precedent setting is the only thing that makes any kind of sense of this otherwise unbelievably politically stupid move. Obama is a lot of things but stupid isn’t one of them.
Filed under: Uncategorized