The transcript of Bradley Manning’s statement at his providence inquiry is well worth reading. It is a picture of a man who was deeply troubled by information he found in his duties as an intelligence analyst, and who decided to make that information public out of a belief that it ultimately would make the United States a better country, and the world a better place. Here’s a quote:
In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.
His statement also shows that he understands that he broke the law and takes responsibility for his actions, and in that sense his actions should be considered civil disobedience. And that makes it all the more appalling that he’s been kept in humiliating and inhumane conditions for over a thousand days without trial.