Bradley Manning says he's sorry he leaked classified documents, jeopardizing national security. The usual response to statements of contrition is this: He's just sorry he got convicted.
Our take is that Bradley Manning is just sorry. Period. He's a sorry individual. He was a sorry soldier and sorry excuse for a “patriot” who may spend only 7-8 years in prison for what did.
That's 7-8 years for leaking 750,000 pages of classified information, the biggest such leak in history. Manning got off lightly, but his supporters believe even one minute in the brig is a minute too many. He could have faced life in prison, but a judicial ruling removed the most serious charge against him. Prosecutors asked for 60 years. He got 35 but is eligible for parole in less than eight.
Manning's gender “confusion” (he has announced that he's a woman trapped in a man's body; Wikipedia already refers to him as “Chelsea Manning”) is a side issue in this sorry state of affairs. Manning wants a presidential pardon. His hero status among anti-war, anti-American groups was elevated by his conviction and sentencing. The Oklahoma Center for Conscience planned a protest in Manning's Logan County hometown and said it was “angered and heartbroken” at the sentence.
This was an outrageous response from a group that has no concept of what a true hero is. A military hero usually does something that threatens (and sometimes takes) his or her own life. Manning? He digitally copied and released documents, an act that he knew was illegal and the opposite of honorable military service.
No one made Manning join the Army. No one made him leak documents. We probably haven't heard the last from Mr./Ms. Manning. He would be only 33 if parole is granted in eight years.