I was probably being naive but I held out hope for something positive to happen in Bradley Manning’s legal proceedings. Not that the judge didn’t acknowledge that the military had made mistakes and acted against Navy Rules. She indicated that it “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.” However, Judge Lind ruled that 23 hours a day with no human contact wasn’t actually solitary confinement because Bradley could see a portion of the hallway from his cell. This determination identified only 112 days that could be considered abusive.
Based on her ruling it was within her right to dismiss the charges altogether or find that each day of abuse would off-set up to ten days at the time of sentencing, should Manning be found guilty. Even with her narrow definition of solitary it had the potential to reduce prison time up to 3.25 years. She opted instead to trade one day for one day, representing a 4 month reduction in any sentence he may get. With the possibility of decades in prison or even a life sentence, four months seems like a drop in the bucket.
It is disheartening to realize that one of our (and Bradley’s specifically) protections from government abuse is clearly bias with little concern for fairness. Could it be that the military judge is bowing to her Commander in Chief whose opinion and public statement was that Pvt. Manning is guilty in order to protect her career?