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Total number of comments: 3 (since 2013-11-28 16:56:53)

David Schanzer

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  • Everybody Leaks in Washington: What the Bradley Manning Trial Tells us about a Broken System (Schanzer)
    • I appreciate the opportunity to have this dialogue on your blog, Juan. One angle of the case I would like to discuss is the assumption made by many, wrongly in my view, that all of Manning's disclosures contributed to promoting a more peaceful world. Manning's release of thousands of State Department cables may well have had the opposite effect. If you believe in the power of diplomacy to resolve conflict, then you have to accept that the disclosures caused real damage by undermining the ability of our diplomats to engage in candid discussions with their counterparts. Take Iran for example. If the leaked cables harm our ability to maintain a coalition that favors sanctions and a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue, then Manning may well have undermined the cause of peace and made military conflict more likely. Second, Manning's guilty plea (albeit 2.5 years into the case) puts him more in the category of civil disobedience than straight up criminal (unless of course his plea is more about tactics than an admission of lawlessness). The question then is how much should he be punished for his decision to disobey the laws in the name of promoting a political cause. For me, the magnitude of the disclosures, the inability of Manning to determine whether these leaks could cause true harm to our troops or others who put their lives at risk, and the fact that he leaked to a rogue web-entrepreneur rather than the press, all mean he should receive a stiff sentence. The life-sentence being pursued by the government, however, seems to me to be overkill, designed to deter future leakers rather than appropriately punish this wrongdoer.

    • There are many proper ways to bring misconduct to light, Manning chose not to take advantage of them before leaking. His statement shows that his motivation was not just to reveal specific misconduct, but to stimulate a dialogue on the merits of the wars. There was no lack of this discussion prior to his disclosures. One cannot be an anti-war activist and a member of the Armed Forces at the same time.

    • There is no excuse for how Manning was treated while in custody. Whatever his sentence is to determined to be will be reduced by about 4 months in recognition of this mistreatment. Arguably, the reduction should have been even greater. Why the case has taken so long to come to trial is worth scrutiny. But it is also worth asking why it has taken Manning so long to plead guilty to a number of counts.

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