Chelsea Manning may no longer be facing years behind bars, but the former Army solider still has to face the reality of his actions.
The convicted spy was formerly Bradley Manning before undergoing his “transition” into Chelsea. No matter the name, Manning has had a lot of time to consider the impact of his choices, and the reasons that the dishonorably discharged soldier gives for those decisions is nothing short of bizarre.
“I’ve accepted responsibility. No one told me to do this. Nobody directed me to do this. This is me. It’s on me,” Manning told ABC News in the first interview since his release from prison.
IN a “Nightline” interview scheduled to be aired in an upcoming edition of the news show, ABC journalist Juju Chang asked Manning about his oath to uphold the Constitution. Strangely, Manning responded that leaking close to half a million classified military reports was somehow part of that oath.
“I feel I stuck to it. I have a responsibility to the public,” Manning stated.
It should be noted that a vague “responsibility to the public” is nowhere in the oath that Manning took before putting on the uniform. That solemn pledge does include obeying the orders of the president and senior officers, as well as bearing allegiance to the United States.
According to ABC News, Manning’s core reason for leaking thousands of classified documents was that he “wanted to spark public debate.”
The report also revealed that the disgraced soldier didn’t think that his actions would threaten national security, a stance which is hard to fathom, considering the staggering amount of government information that Manning leaked.
A court didn’t buy that defense, either. Manning was found guilty on five counts of espionage and theft, and received a sentence of 35 years in prison. After serving only five years of that time, however, Manning was released from prison after Barack Obama commuted his sentence — but did not pardon the crime.
In a way, Manning’s statement that “it’s on me” is the most honest thing he’s recently said. He’s a narcissist.
The reasons for his actions had nothing to do with upholding an oath or defending the United States. It was about him, plain and simple — and he’ll have to live with the fallout from that self-centered decision for the rest of his life.
Unfortunately, so will the nation he betrayed.
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