Friday, January 20, 2017

Krauthammer on Manning, Obama

Today, at the Washington Post,  Charles Krauthammer comments on President Obama's commutation of sentence for Chelsea Manning, "one of the great traitors of our time." Krauthammer notes manning "stole and then released through WikiLeaks almost half a million military reports plus a quarter-million State Department documents." He writes, among other things:
... the military secrets were almost certainly deadly. They jeopardized the lives not just of American soldiers on two active fronts — Iraq and Afghanistan — but of locals who were, at great peril, secretly aiding and abetting us. After Manning’s documents release, the Taliban “went on a killing spree” (according to intelligence sources quoted by Fox News) of those who fit the description of individuals working with the United States.
... Even the word “leaker” is misleading. “Leak” makes it sound like a piece of information a whistleblower gives Woodward and Bernstein to expose misdeeds in high office. This was nothing of the sort. It was the indiscriminate dumping of a mountain of national security secrets certain to bring harm to American troops, allies and interests.
Obama considered Manning’s 35-year sentence excessive. On the contrary. It was lenient. Manning could have been — and in previous ages, might well have been — hanged for such treason. Now she walks after seven years.
What makes this commutation so spectacularly in-your-face is its hypocrisy. Here is a president who spent weeks banging the drums over the harm inflicted by WikiLeaks with its release of stolen materials and emails during the election campaign. He demanded a report immediately. He imposed sanctions on Russia. He preened about the sanctity of the American political process.
Over what? What exactly was released? A campaign chairman’s private emails and Democratic National Committee chatter, i.e., campaign gossip, backbiting, indiscretions and cynicism. The usual stuff, embarrassing but not dangerous. No national security secrets, no classified material, no exposure of anyone to harm, just to ridicule and opprobrium.
See full editorial here.

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