Yesterday, a military judge convicted Army Pfc. Bradley Manning of violating the Espionage Act, but acquitted him on charges of aiding the enemy. Manning, who leaked more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 and now faces up to 136 years in prison, is being hailed by some as a hero for his whistleblowing and a traitor by others for compromising national security. Here are the cases the two sides are making:

ARGUMENTS FOR MANNING BEING A HERO:

  • Sacrificed his dreams of leading a relatively normal life as a lonely outcast questioning his gender identity
  • Risked life and limb to reveal documents superiors had mistakenly entrusted to him
  • Martyred self in name of higher cause no one really wants to read about
  • Leaked videos meant that Akron, OH resident Carolyn Sutter spent 10 extra minutes on her computer on the morning of February 19, 2010, causing her to miss her usual bus—the very same bus that crashed that morning and would have killed her if she’d been on board
  • Everybody but the army seems to think he’s a decent enough guy
  • The chance of Bradley Manning being the product of the one of his father’s sperm that fertilized his mother’s egg and ultimately became a human is specularly low and, actually, almost unfathomable! One in 10^2,685,000, to be exact! So, whether or not Manning is a hero, he is a miracle. We are all miracles.
  • ARGUMENTS FOR MANNING BEING A TRAITOR:

    • Has thus far failed to demonstrate himself as anything beyond some flash-in-the-pan, one-hit-wonder whistleblower
    • Lacks the raw, unadulterated masculinity of an Assange or Snowden
    • Stubbornly refuses to leave public eye, months after the American people lost interest in him
    • Pompous “Private First Class” moniker
    • Closing statement in trial was just “With all due respect, your honor, I fucking hate this country”
    • Ultimately, the judgment of Bradley Manning is a far deeper question than whether he is merely a hero or villain, streaked with shades of gray and consumed by moral ambiguity. But yeah, sure, he’s probably a traitor.