Thursday, January 19, 2017

More Thoughts on Manning


This was the scene last night as I walked home from work on Finchley Road, looking west toward the tube station. It's one of the least beautiful parts of West Hampstead, with the O2 Centre shopping mall, the train tracks, and Homebase, our big-box hardware and gardening store. But the sunset made it interesting!

So here we are, on the last day of Obama's presidency. I was serious when I said yesterday that he may be my favorite president. For someone who's been mercilessly harassed by political opponents every step of the way, he's been amazingly effective and dignified. He has never failed to be presidential, never wandered from the high road. His wife, too. She's been great. I'll miss them both.

I didn't elaborate on Chelsea Manning yesterday, but here are my thoughts on that subject: She released state secrets, yes. No one disputes her guilt. But she was also punished and clearly had, at the time, some mitigating psychological issues. Compassion demands that she be removed from a dangerous prison environment and be allowed to sort out her life, particularly since she has already served more prison time than any other leaker and did not reveal any critically classified information.

I don't feel the same way about Edward Snowden. Although I'm sympathetic to his motives as a whistleblower, he hasn't been through any judicial process -- and I think an official, judicial assessment of his actions and their consequences needs to occur before we talk about a pardon or commutation. I wouldn't rule out a plea bargain to allow him to return to the United States, because that would address any charges against him. Simply freeing him would be premature.


We had a very frosty morning yesterday. I noticed that the grape hyacinths have sprouted, though I don't see any blooms yet. With all the digging Dave does in the garden, I'm always afraid the hyacinths are going to be uprooted and yet, every spring, they appear by the hundreds. I'm glad they're so durable and he's able to successfully work around them! Our daffodils are beginning to show little sprouts, too.

10 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Like President Obama said in his last press conference, he didn't pardon Chelsea Manning he just commuted the vindictive jail sentence. There are other people languishing in US jails who also deserved commutation, including Leonard Peltier who has been in jail for forty years. What were those FBI agents doing at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation anyway? Amnesty International supports the campaign to release Mr Peltier.

e said...

I agree with Yorkshire Pudding and feel the whole process is subjective and influenced by bias...

Marty Damon said...

I hope future history books will give Obama the credit and respect he's so sadly been denied in today's world.

Ms. Moon said...

I can't talk about politics today. Or maybe ever again. I don't know. It causes me so much fear and pain. But I AM glad that Ms. Manning can get on with her life.
Isn't it awful early for those flowers to begin showing?

John Gray said...

Ilooks like a foreign scene rather than london!
Like miss moon, i too cant talk politics today

ellen abbott said...

How can that be?!!! How can your daffodils already be coming up way up there in the north and mine way down here in the south, not.

Sharon Anck said...

You captured a gorgeous sky in that top shot. What a view!
I've been hearing a lot of criticism of Obama lately which I think is probably normal when the leadership of the country changes so drastically. I'm confident that the years will show what a great man he really is.
It seems a bit early to me for plants to be sprouting but what do I know about plants....not much.

The Bug said...

Beautiful cityscape! I'm working a half day tomorrow & then heading to Indianapolis to watch my niece in a cheer competition. So that's how I'm spending the first day of the apocalypse...

37paddington said...

Another great photo! And I appreciate your clarity on the issue of pardons. I agree with every word you wrote.

Red said...

Both issues are difficult. You can't let people away with state secrets.