nettime's impressed reader on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 09:42:58 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Bradley Manning's Post-Sentencing Statement


August 21, 2013

[The following is a transcript of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley 
Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday after 
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.]

     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 in our 
efforts to meet this 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 
our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American 
soldier that is ordered 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, the 
Japanese-American internment camps -- to name a few. I am confident that 
many of our 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, and I regret if my 
actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my 
intention 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 country that is 
truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all 
women and men are created equal.

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