Bradley Manning was kept on the job without extra support even after he'd sent a picture of himself in a blonde wig, labeling it his "problem," in a clear plea for help to a supervisor.

Manning's attorneys brought in mental health experts to testify that he was under "severe emotional distress" during his deployment in Iraq and had been diagnosed with "gender identity disorder."

Colleagues of Manning's reported in court witnessing several emotional outbursts.

Manning was confused, vulnerable, and had asked for help even though he knew it could have him kicked out of the military, and supervisors ignored it.

Bradley Manning was valued enough as an analyst that they didn't want to lose him, but helping him may very well have led to his revealing his struggles with gender nonconformity -- which, because of the military's policies on transgender soldiers, would likely have ended the private's career as a military analyst in its own way.

It seems clear that military officers let Bradley Manning remain emotionally unstable while handling classified information requiring a security clearance in part because they didn't want to lose a talented analyst to their own discriminatory policy.

That's ludicrous.

Why aren't we a country where a young private can freely and openly determine what sort of gender expression makes him or her the most productive, happy soldier possible?

Wouldn't that serve to benefit the military, its mission and its members?

Because we're not, we end up with tragedies like that of Chelsea Manning.