<b>Manning: A patriot</b>
EDITOR: Americans express horror at Germans for keeping silent during World War ll and covering up atrocities. We are appalled at them saying, "I was only following orders." We believe those orders were unconscionable and should not have been followed. Since Pfc. Bradley Manning released documents proving that the United States is committing war crimes, he has been pursued as a criminal. Now he has been convicted of charges that could lead to many years in prison. This is hypocrisy of a very ugly sort.
Had a young German done the same in 1940, Americans would hail him as a hero. We have no more right to commit war crimes than any other nation, and those who perpetrate them should be held accountable.
To prosecute Manning and put him in prison is a shameful and dangerous act. It sends a message to those who have access to information the public needs to know that they are risking their careers and freedom if they break silence. We need whistle-blowers. They are supposed to be protected. Our democracy depends on knowing what's going on.
Manning is a real patriot and has done us a great service. He should be free.