Statement by Bradley Manning after his
2103, Published on
Following the announcement of Bradley Manning’s sentence
of 35 years in military prison, Manning’s civilian defense attorney read
a statement from Manning, which will be included in a filing requesting
a pardon from President Barack Obama.
Coombs also described what Manning was like after the sentence was
announced. He recounted how he and his other defense attorneys had been
crying. Manning looked at him and said, “It’s okay. It’s alright. I know
you did your best. I’m going to be okay. I’m going to get through this.”
Manning’s remarks to Coombs are but another indication of the resolve
and strong character Manning has as a human being.
The statement by Pfc. Bradley Manning appears below:
The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of the concern for my
country and the wrold that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11,
our country has been at war. We have been at war with an enemy that
chooses not to meet us on a traditional battlefield. Due to this fact,
we’ve had to alter our methods of combatting the risk posed to us and
our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help
defend our 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 that I realized that
our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we had forgotten
our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue 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 teh 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 any
logically-based dissension, it is usually an 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
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 that 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 my
sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my request knowing
that some time 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.
Russia Today on sentencing
Protest in London on day of the sentencing.
Protest in Berlin on day of the sentencing.