I have spent a lot of my life working as a consultant for the DOD and the US Navy. Some of the most important work I have done in my life, after Houston, was the work I did with these people. It is taken me all over the world and has resulted in me landing on Nimitz Class Carriers and having my ass catapulted off them. It has also resulted in my presence several times in the Middle East in combat situations.
I was safe and sound tucked away in 100,000 tons of steel but I worked closely with the men and women that flew the missions and made the ship run smoothly and these young men and women and even boys and girls are examples of what is good. They do their jobs and both the pilots and the deck crews risk their lives daily working long shifts.
You might be surprised to know that from the top Officers down they absolutely hate war because they are the ones that fight it. I have watched the helicopter crews sneak into the dark with those special people on board. I have watched as those same crews scrambled to rescue others that were wounded or down and the one thing you do not do is betray the trust of the person next to you in the plane, next to you on the deck, next to you in Command, next to you in a ground fire fight, or next to you in Intelligence. It is the one single code that if broken is beneath contempt and Manning broke that code. He betrayed those he served with and he betrayed his country.
His leaked information has been found in the hands of terrorist operatives and whether it helped them and hurt our men and women is never going to be revealed but clandestine operations were halted and loss of intelligence can lead to our soldiers dying.
Lest you forget who they are fighting maybe you need to be reminded. They are fighting "animals" that think they have the right to shoot a girl in the head for wanting an education; they believe they have the right to burn girls alive as they attend school; they believe they have the right to throw acid in a girls face because she does not fit their image of how she should be; they believe deliberately murdering women and children is justifiable in the name of their god; they believe it is a woman's fault if she is raped; women are considered behind their animals. They are bullies, murderers, and exclusively male unless they can dupe a woman into a suicide run.
When we pull out I would not want to be female in Afghanistan. War is horrible but our soldiers are not allowed to shoot first under any circumstances. I bet you did not know that. Under engagement rules they even have to announce themselves when they engage known terrorists in a house. Our Special Ops people have to treat terrorists "kindly" and it has killed many of our Special Operations people. Manning blew the whistle on the friendly fire incident where the reporter(s) were accidentally killed but it was already under investigation. In combat friendly fire is as dangerous as the enemy sometimes in a firefight. Combat is chaos and mistakes are made. Some of the worst cases of PTSD are soldiers that found out they killed comrades accidentally.
The DOD takes friendly fire incidents seriously and they are investigated, particularly since the death of the former NFL player. Manning was arrested and stopped while planning to release more intelligence and nobody knows how damaging that could have been.
Manning was lucky he was tried in a Military Tribunal and not a Federal Court because his 35 years will probably get him out in 7+ years where he would have served the full 35 if tried in a Federal Court. The other thing you need to realize is 35 years was a lot of time and he got that because the Judge certainly has a better idea of what damage he did so take that into account. Military Judges are not known to hand out stupid sentences.
Manning wanted to be famous and was certainly after attention when he leaked these documents to Wikileaks. He could have gotten out of the military quite easily by simply telling them he was gay which was what he said and his lawyer said today. DADT was still in effect when he leaked these documents. If he is truly "trans" that would have also gotten him out. Why did't he try to get out?
Now we have Mr. Manning claiming to be transgender but it seems to be unknown which branch of transgender he wants to hang his hat on. I realize most of the Transgender Activists are too freaking stupid to realize this is not a transgender issue or person whose side you want to take unless of course you are an anarchist or flaming left-wing liberal that believes the US is evil and some kind of Colonial power intent on ruling the world.
Manning will not get any hormones or surgery nor will he transition in his military prison because he is still in the service. To most Americans Manning is not a sympathetic individual because of his actions but when both he and his lawyer imply that his so-called transgender situation was the root cause of his problems then one needs to say bullshit because that is what it is.
The military will never let him transition or get hormones but I guess he could become someones "bitch" in the slammer and get some "experience" as a woman but somehow I kind of doubt that was in his plans but then again I could be wrong.
In my opinion Manning got off easy but then I expect him shortly to claim he is transsexual so he can get some sympathy. I can see all the transgender activists lining up to celebrate another Transgender Icon and this time many of you will be correct because he "really" is just like you and you can thankfully have him.