Chelsea Manning was a political prisoner in the United States for seven years, during which time she endured treatment that the United Nations described as “cruel and inhumane,” for the crime of telling the world the truth about the crimes that were being committed by the U.S. government. Crimes which include purposefully murdering innocent civilians in Iraq during the Iraq War, for which none of the perpetrators were held accountable. Instead it was Manning who was imprisoned for revealing these crimes to the public.
Today Manning finally walked free from the prison at Fort Leavenworth after her 35 year sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama.
This is one of the few unquestionably good things to have come out of Obama’s presidency, but it’s something he could have done much sooner or even stopped from happening altogether. Instead he waited until the end of his second term and after the 2016 presidential election was decided.
Regardless, the important thing is that a genuine American hero, someone who stood up for justice and was met with injustice, mockery, and humiliation as a result, is now free to live the rest of her life. It’s not good enough, and she deserves so much better, but that is unfortunately the reality. The best one can expect if you expose the crimes of the U.S. government is to be stranded in a foreign country against your will like Edward Snowden, whereas the abuse that Chelsea Manning suffered shows us the truly barbaric nature of the government that claims to represent us.