Why is it that people who violate the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice by torturing prisoners do not get punished ("Ex-CIA officer charged over leaks to journalists," Jan. 24), but people who report such crimes to the press get the book thrown at them? The code specifies that it is a crime to violate the Geneva Convention, which bans torture. The convention, like all signed treaties, is considered to be "the highest law of the land" by the U.S. Constitution. The convention also stipulates the obligation that soldiers and others report violations that they witness.
The letter by Gary Hornbaker ("Bradley Manning is nothing more than a traitor," Jan. 24) touches on the same issue. If Private Manning did blow the whistle on massacres of civilians, as he is charged, he is a hero for upholding the Constitution at great risk to himself. Moreover, since the U.S. withdrew combat troops from Iraq because that government would no longer grant immunity from prosecution for such massacres, the leakers can take some of the credit for ending that war.
No lives have been shown to be lost by the Wikileaks posting of such secrets. However, by forcing the end of U.S. combat in Iraq, revelations of secret massacres have saved the lives of U.S. troops. Just as important is the leaked secret that three oil kingdoms asked the U.S. to attack Iran, their competitor. The American people deserve to know who is pushing us into yet another disastrous war. If anyone is a traitor it is those who overthrow the Constitution.
Richard J. Ochs, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun