It’s hard to write about Bradley Manning. I’ve composed more than one lengthy, impassioned post about Manning, and deleted it; we’ve heard things about or from Manning that we weren’t supposed to hear, and we’ve heard lots of things about Manning that may or may not be the truth, and addressing those things publicly — in any of the various ways that they are actually being construed — may actually put Manning in danger.
But let’s start with the most important thing, something simple: Bradley Manning is accused of trying really, really hard to do the right thing.
Bradley Manning is nobody special. He was an ordinary, unexceptional person, enlisted in the US Military, as many people are, and he allegedly found out that the military was doing something which — though we all might have suspected or feared or heard about it — betrayed its most basic promise.