We haven’t heard much on the pending Court Martial of accused traitor Bradley Manning since he considered pleading guilty to some lesser charges last month. But in advance of the kickoff of proceedings in January, there was one more episode to air. This week, for the first time since this entire sordid affair began, Manning took the stand himself to give an account of his experiences in the crowbar motel. It was not a happy tale, as one might imagine.
“I was just a mess. I was really starting to fall apart,” the 24-year-old former Army intelligence analyst said. Manning said he didn’t remember an incident while in Kuwait where he bashed his head into a wall or another where he fashioned a noose out of a bed sheet as his civilian attorney, David Coombs, said he had, but Manning did say he felt he was “going to die… [in] an animal cage.”
“I certainly contemplated [suicide]. There’s no means, even if the noose… there’d be nothing I could do with it. Nothing to hang it on. It felt… pointless,” he said. Manning had been on suicide watch since late June 2010, a month after his initial arrest in Baghdad.
Apparently the latest attempt at salvation by Manning’s defense team – which at this point seems more interested in headlines than attempting any sort of competent legal work – is to claim that the time the Private has already spent in captivity is more than enough punishment so we should scrap the whole affair and just send him home now. Manning spoke about his treatment before coming back to the United States to stand before the wheel for his alleged actions.
He recounted an incident in Baghdad when he fainted from the heat in his cell. Later in Kuwait, Manning said he was initially given phone privileges he used to call an aunt and friend in the United States, but that privilege was taken away a short time later.
After his alarming breakdown in June 2010, Manning told a mental health specialist that he really “didn’t want to die, but [he] just wanted to get out of the cage,” saying he believed his life had “just sunk.”
In the spirit of this new, bipartisan, post-election era, we’ve found something we can all agree upon. Your life certainly had just sunk because you were caught doing the (alleged) actions which you were ready to plead guilty to last month. And apparently you fainted from the heat in your cell. We have plenty of men and women who do the same thing without selling out their country, just from the heat inside their armor in the field. I’d like to summon up a bit more sympathy that the air conditioning in your cell wasn’t up to expected standards, but I’m having a hard time managing it.
Shortly after New Years, the Army will have finished their detailed investigative work and moved on to the final stage. By all accounts, this could have taken place much sooner, but Manning’s defense team has filed one nuisance motion after another on every technicality they could find to derail the process. The Army has patiently heard and considered each and every one of these motions, giving the accused ample opportunity to air grievances. But none have proven persuasive and the delays seem to be more the fault of his own team than the Army’s criminal justice system.
It’s time to get this farce over with.