The commutation of Chelsea Manning should be celebrated

Transgender people face harsher conditions in prisons and Manning is a hero that deserved a commutation

Chelsea Manning being commuted is something that we as a society should commend, not condemn.

In the year 2010, Chelsea Manning, previously known as Private Bradley Manning, disclosed classified data to WikiLeaks. This was valuable information that Wikileaks used to alert both the people of the United States and the rest of the world about what the United States was doing in Iraq. 

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for committing this act.

Manning revealed the truth to the American people, giving them the actual numbers pertaining to how many civilians died in Iraq and Afghanistan, a horrific video of a massacre taking place from an Apache helicopter and many other classified details that the American people had the right to know about.

Now, after four years of being in prison, President Obama has commuted her sentence. She should be released this upcoming May instead of the year 2045. 

This is something that should be celebrated, and society should commend Manning for her actions.

Transgender people have a unique and horrific experience in the prison system.  

"There’s so many different trans, specifically trans women that are forced into male prisons and it’s really sad because often times it leaves them open to possibilities of abuse or sexual assault,” Kai Corvus, a recent ASU graduate and previous member of the Rainbow Coalition and the LGBTQ support group at ASU, said. 

The circumstances of transgender people in our prison system is something that should be a source of concern in our society. There is much sexual harassment or assault that transgender people undergo if they are in the wrong prison. For example, many transgender people are harassed for what they wear and how they present themselves.

Additionally, it is difficult for them to obtain therapy when they need it and the case with Chelsea Manning is no different. During her time in prison, she has attempted to commit suicide twice while at the same time undergoing hunger strikes.

In the year 2015, ASU held a “Trans-Awareness week” to “[increase] the visibility and understanding of transgender and gender binary non-­conforming individuals.” ASU strives to be inclusive to all, and the transgender community is a community that should be protected and celebrated.

Chelsea Manning's story is a lesson to all students that in the face of an institution or authority, to tell the truth, be it about academic dishonesty or a huge national secret.

Many who are angry with what Manning has done are those who consider her to be a traitor and one that put that lives of American soldiers at risk. However, there is not enough evidence to back this claim. 

Brigadier General Robert Carr who also headed the Information Review Task Force investigating the impact of WikiLeaks disclosures on behalf of the Defense Department said, “I don't have a specific example” when asked if the Wikileaks exposures had led to the deaths of any members of the United States military. 

There is simply not enough evidence to prove that people have died from the leaks.

Glenn Greenwald, a former columnist for The Guardian and the founder of The Intercept stated in his book "No Place to Hide" that Manning’s actions were heroic and “that she risked her liberty to disclose classified documents to the world through WikiLeaks." 

Greenwald was the journalist that helped disclose the Edward Snowden leaks that the NSA was conducting mass surveillance on the United States.

While there are people who believe that Manning's commutation was wrong, she looked out for our rights and went through harsher circumstances in the prison system than other inmates. Everyone, especially students and young people, should respect her courage.


Reach the reporter at vpappuse@asu.edu or follow @vpappuse on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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