Mr. President: What Say You and I Each Do a Year of Manning's Sentence
Dear President Obama,
I and many other people just like me grieve for what our country has become. And quite frankly sir, we grieve for what you have become as well. I’m an historian so I know that when I say our country ‘has become’ I have to forget things like the slaughter of the Native Americans, the enslaving of millions of Africans and their descendants and our nation’s imperialist war crimes like our slaughter of Filipinos during and after the Spanish American War.
Perhaps I’m wrong about you too Mr. President. Perhaps you haven’t lost your way. Perhaps you are the same as you’ve always been, just as the United States is as bloodthirsty as it’s always been. Perhaps I was just imagining that we’d changed, we’d grown, and that we had transformed into a nation as great as the sum of our better parts.
Mr. President, I’m sure you’ve heard over and over again that we expected change from you. We didn’t want a continuation of the Bush/Cheney years, we wanted an enlightened president, we wanted a man of courage and higher ideals to run the United States of America.
I know you aren’t king. I know that you can’t do whatever you want. But you can issue pardons. For example, you could have saved Troy Davis from execution in Georgia, but you didn’t. And those of us on the “left” who wanted you to interfere were told that you couldn’t because it was your first term. Davis was just one of the many innocents who had to die to make sure you got re-elected. We were told that we just needed to understand.
Well, Mr. President, you first term’s over, innocents are still dying, and now I really don’t understand. Are you being manipulated by corporate masters? Can’t you wear a wire and expose them? Do you really believe that you should have a kill list? Do you really believe that the sacrifice of children killed by errant drones dignifies the office of President of the United States? I can’t believe that you do.
But you must.
So if all you do is ok, then can’t we just strike a bargain over Bradley Manning? If you take into account all the illegal/unconstitutional spying the NSA has been doing while you’ve been in office, then can’t we just call you and Manning square? Let’s say you just pardon him now and let him go. No third term to worry about, just justice.
Mr. President I don’t believe you have the moral fortitude to pardon Manning. Your fragile house of cards depends on persecuting men like Manning who have the courage to show the American people what is going on in our name. You have devoted your presidency to persecuting whistle blowers even though you campaigned saying that they were essential.
Someone has to pay for standing up to the criminal actions of the United States. And now that the court has gotten him to grovel – proving that torture will get a person to say anything – he will be put away for another 35 years.
After all, someone has to pay.
Well, can we strike a deal? Can 35 of us volunteer to serve some of Bradley Manning’s time? We the people of these United States needed to see unarmed men and children gunned down by giddy soldiers flying over their heads. We needed to know that’s what our country was doing… is still doing.
And a grateful nation should do his time. Your administration let Pres. Bush and Vice Pres. Cheney off the hook for these war crimes, but you’re punishing the man who brought them to light. Why? Some say it was so you could execute similar policies without being found out.