Free Manning, close Gitmo

According to a report by Medina Roshan of Reuters ("Witness: WikiLeaks breach threatened U.S.," June 18), Rear Admiral David Woods claimed Army Pfc. Bradley Manning's leaks caused "damage to national security." I was not in the courtroom, but I have to wonder if this was said with a straight face.

Admiral Woods was a commandant at the infamous prison at Guantanamo Bay. It is astonishing that anyone involved in human rights violations at Gitmo would appear in public. And Admiral Woods had the gumption to appear in a legal setting. First, the colonial occupation of Cuban land is a major embarrassment. And then when the Bush-Cheney administration decided to imprison suspects without any scent of due process, the reputation of the U.S. government plummeted even further. Even President Barack Obama recognizes that Gitmo must close and that innocent people continue to be held for 12 years. Most recently, a majority of the prisoners under extreme duress are on a hunger strike and are being force-fed.

Close down Gitmo now so that the U.S. has standing in challenging other countries about human rights violations. And give Private Manning a sentence of time served so that he can be released to continue to do humanitarian service for his country. I will always see Mr. Manning as a hero as he exposed military and government wrongdoing. All members of the U.S. military should do the same, as citizens have the right to know about our government's misdeeds.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

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