Manning told the court that he “believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information ... this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.” Not only was this not his call to make, his actions have done nothing whatsoever to further that debate.
Americans have been conducting a very robust debate on foreign policy over the past decade, upon which the elections of 2004, 2006 and 2008 may have all turned. The WikiLeaks documents have added virtually nothing to that debate. Outside the relatively small circle of people in the military and the diplomatic corps directly affected or endangered by the revelations, the general public has shown no interest in the documents' actual contents beyond the considerations that were already widely known.
American policy is often questionable and should always be questioned. That is no excuse for what Manning did. Loyalty to country still means something, and remains both a virtue and a duty. Manning's just punishment will remind all Americans of this fact if they have forgotten.
— The Washington Examiner